A new report has been released on the utility of 'serious games' and in-game marketing in virtual spaces like Second Life; OTOinsights, the research arm of One to One Interactive, takes a look at the success (or lack thereof) of marketing attempts by major firms. They describe the results as 'uneven' and make some suggestions on how companies can better utilize virtual spaces to pitch their product(s):
"Serious games" refers to the use of games and game technologies for non-entertainment purposes. Traditionally, the education, health, and military sectors were the primary actors in this domain, but in the past few years, marketing has arisen as a major sub-domain of this area. Examples range from the selling of advertising inside video games to dozens of small, experimental corporate-sponsored spaces in virtual worlds such as Second Life, to the fully realized first-person shooter America's Army, developed as a recruitment tool for the U.S. Army. The results have been uneven, as most of these early efforts have had an experimental edge. This report releases findings that compare player engagement in some of Second Life's most successful user-generated areas compared with some of the more ambitious corporate-sponsored efforts in Second Life.
From Worlds In Motion:
In its study, the firm noted that overall, the top user-generated sites are more popular than the top corporate sites in Second Life. "Perhaps the explanation for this disparity is that corporate sites offer different content or experiences than user-generated sites, and builders of user-generated sites are more effective at offering the content users want. Or perhaps the corporate sites offer similar content, and the reason is that Second Life users are simply resisting corporate influence as a part of their hipster ethos."
Oh, snap. Starbucks, we don't want your kind here.