Gamification South Africa: lessons from a Sea Monster

glenn-gillisWe spoke to Glenn Gillis, the brains behind and CEO  of Sea Monster Entertainment, a company that creates digital content through animation and gaming. To find out his thoughts on gender specific content, where gamification is going and more. They also created #PnPSuperAnimals.

So why games?

Stories are how people have always made sense of the world around them. Play can stir emotion, provoke thought and shift behavior, like few other activities can, regardless of age and culture.

On creating gender specific content

Our game design process is incredibly research driven. Whilst we all know gender is a construct in that it is set of identities we create and strengthen daily, developmental psychologists and other specialists will tell us that there are differences that we need to understand and honour.

We are completely against the idea of “just make it pink”, but choose to focus on real insights about subtle differences that will make a game more focused on one specific group of users as opposed to trying to cater to everyone’s needs.

SEE ALSO: Bytesized for the ladies

Can gamification lessen the inequality gap?

One of the biggest appeals of interactive content is that it breaks demographic boundaries. You do not need to be wealthy or a tech guru to understand and be moved by animation, or to navigate a digital menu.

It boils down to understanding the audience and crafting a message that resonates with them.

Clearly smartphone usage correlates with income to some extent but this is changing quickly, with sub R600 android devices now becoming more accessible to all. And of course #datamustfall for all our sakes.

SEE ALSO: #datamustfall

Top tips for creating interactive content

  • Research is key: our game process is very research driven and always has a very clear set of business, education or entertainment goals.
  • Work towards the goal: from there the actual development process needs to be tightly managed, because you can’t predict upfront precisely what will or wouldn’t work, and of course that it will be “fun”.
  • Be flexible: we use a fully agile model, with complete transparency to our clients (or ourselves if it’s an internal dev project).
  • What would the user do: critically we need to put ourselves in the users shoes at all times, games are after all a voluntary activity.
  • Distribution platforms: we also need to understand clearly how the game will be distributed and supported, because what is the point of making something no one will ever engage with.
  • Test: and finally test, test and test.

Content marketing trends

Super Animals

In general terms adverts and other forms of one-way communication, are becoming more and more challenging. If audiences have the power of choice, and can interact clearly, then they want stories that they can be part of.

Innovation requires being bold, and sometimes we also need to stop doing some things in the old way, to create some space for new, exciting and effective solutions to get traction.

We’re at an exciting stage in the evolution of content. New devices and platforms capable of handling more complex information are becoming more widely available and cheaper every day. These create opportunities to imagine new ways of communicating that break from the physical limitations of the old. And quality counts over quantity everyday.

There are engaging new ways to deliver stories, but of course we mustn’t get too caught up in tech for tech’s sake, because ultimately it’s about the audience.

To see what else Sea Monster has done, click here. 

Just Quickly…

Phone: I’ve got an iPhone 6s.

Favourite App: My favourite app of all time is actually my Kindle and the equivalent Kindle reader on my phone. Brilliant example of a single purpose solution that really delivers a great user experience.

I’m also on level 85 of Real Racing 3 (tell that to a 12 year boy and they’re in awe ☺.)

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