Glenda Luymes of the Vancouver Province profiled a local gaming success story today but this time around there is a slight twist. Shift Control Media (check out their site) specializes in Advergaming – the practice of using video games to advertise a product, organization, or viewpoint. According to Luymes, Advergaming is a $250-million industry and is expected to grow to over $1 billion in the next five years. The industry is grounded in the popularity of video games, which outrank social networking and video sharing as the #1 form of online entertainment.
Shift Control is creating compelling ways for brands to have a more meaningful dialogue with consumers and the world’s biggest brand – Coca-Cola – has taken notice. By creating cutting-edge video games that consumers can play on Coke’s website, Shift Control is bridging the gap between marketing and the large and lucrative gaming world.
Product placement in video games, such as EA’s Need For Speed, has been around for a few years. Billboards along race tracks in the game advertise products, while integral aspects of the game, such as oil and tires, are specifically branded.
Shift Control takes it one step further with games created around specific products. In the case of Coke, the soft-drink giant recently launched a new site that’s tied to its Happiness Factory television commercials from last year’s Super Bowl. Shift Control created four games for the site, allowing consumers to learn more about the characters in the commercial.
Shift Control has an office in NYC that takes care of marketing and promotions but set up a development shop in Vancouver to take advantage of the deep pool of video-game talent.