Following Gamers From Screen to Screen

Media Morph: With Games Popping Up Everywhere, the Future Looks to Be Fun-Filled

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NEW YORK ( -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: the future of fun.

'Die Hard 4'
A recent Ad Club of New York panel left us optimistic that life is becoming, well, more fun. Why? Because games are permeating all sorts of everyday activities, from watching TV to going to the movies.

THE IDEAS: Kevin Slavin, co-founder of Area/Code, said TV watching happens in the background of other activities, such as surfing the internet. Capitalizing on the distributed attention of the viewer, Area/Code creates web games that respond to real-time TV. Mr. Slavin demonstrated a PC game created for "The Sopranos" that is driven by what happens during the A&E broadcast. "If you want to make live TV meaningful," he said, "you add a layer to it."

But it's not just TV that's getting more interactive. Brand Experience Lab's David Polinchock turned the audience into a human joystick to demonstrate his in-cinema audience games, previously profiled in this column.

THE WII FACTOR: While Nintendo has resisted advertising in its games, Arkadium has found a way to work brands into the based online games that can be played on the Wii. Arkadium CEO Kenny Rosenblatt developed hundreds of them. They are entirely ad-supported, and users download them for free. He showed the audience a real-time multiplayer game developed for Reebok based on soccer's version of the Spanish Civil War: Barcelona vs. Madrid. Using goalie gloves fitted with motion sensors, players can be Barcelona striker Thierry Henry or Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Arkadium also developed "Bare Knuckle Brawl" for "Die Hard 4," in which players can land punches on opponents with a Wii remote.

THE TAKEAWAY: Brands need to evolve, said Sean MacPhedran of Fuel Industries. "If you take a brand's DNA and translate it into an entertainment property rather than deconstruct it as a game, then that brand's architecture can stand for content, narrative and games," he said.
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