All Things Techie With Huge, Unstructured, Intuitive Leaps

The Future of Online Games

After watching "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold", I have come to the conclusion that everything is and can be a made into a vehicle for advertising. The movie is a movie about making a movie about trying to make a movie about the whole movie being one big advertisement and product placement exercise. It aims at total transparency at the crass world of advertising in movies using as a vehicle, a movie all about product placement in it, replete with commercials.

While watching it, I was struck by the relatively large amounts of money spent on advertising. And then, I was struck with the vision of online browser games of the not-so-distant future.

Playing games for virtual points is so lame. With making life a game, why not have real life prizes for virtual games. This is the way that I see it evolving:

Let's say Pepsi wants to take advertising with online games to a new level. The first thing that they do, is introduce a new product called "Pepsi Shooter". It is an inexpensively packaged slurp of Pepsi, the size of a shooter glass. They are distributed to stores like 7-11, but you can't buy them. You have to go online, and play a game called Pepsi Shooter. When you reach a certain level, the server sends you a bar code that you print out, and the next time that you are at 7-11, you get to collect your Pepsi Shooter prize.

Collect six shooters, and you get a full sized Pepsi. Collect 6 full-sized Pepsi by further game play, and you get a visor or a cap. You can see how this works.

The server keeps track of the players. They must log in and authenticate, and that way you collect the emails, phone numbers and names of the target demographic. From then on, you can keep marketing to them until they reach an age where Coors Light replaces the Pepsi and you sell the data to the Coors folks.

The game could be played on a cell phone, an iPad or an iPod. Getting real stuff for playing virtual games is an idea whose time has come, and I am willing to bet that you will see this concept exploited within 12 months. Race you to the patent office on this one.

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