INplay 2012: Key Findings, Takeaways, and Web of Media Insights

Although INplay 2012 did feature some awesome keynotes, there were a ton of interesting points made from panels regarding media, apps, and games.

  • In the Gamification Panel, there was much talk about gamifying, and bringing meaning to, people’s lives. There was also an interesting idea of “chocolatization” brought into discussion, which is (hypothetically) mixing chocolate with other foods, and comparing that with gamification: If we chocolatize strawberries, the resulting product could work out well—but if we chocolatize fries, that experiment may turn out not so well. Similarly, we can’t expect to gamify everything: there are naturally much better-suited combinations. Key quote: “With games, learning is the drug.”
  • In the Hyper-Active Interactive Panel, there was the digital toy movement (which caught my attention as the word “counter-gamification” was mentioned): basically, instead of having an activity themed around points, achievements, and badges, the digital toy movement brings about activities with no rewards or victories, but seeks to simply re-imagine the playing experience digitally, using the screen as a prop or a vehicle to deliver it. For example, Toca Boca created the Toca Tea Party game for kids to host real-life tea parties with their friends, complete with spills, messes, and food. It takes advantage of digital properties by removing the physical labour of set-up and clean-up. Key question: “What type of experience would I like to facilitate?”
  • The Current and Future State of Books examined animated books, as well as the fate of textbooks (panelist predicted death in the future). It looked at how states like California and Texas stopped buying textbooks a few years ago, and how textbooks are built for individual use. They’re designed for one person to read individually, and even questions are designed for one person to do – not for a group of people to work on together. Key quote: “Often times, the = symbol does not mean ‘equals to’, it means ‘the answer comes next’ to kids.”
  • The DIY: The Wild West of Publishing panel was a discussion on self-publishing. There was a great point made about how there are only three real elements creators are responsible for: finance, production, and marketing, as all others are controlled by Apple. There was also the point about removing all obstacles keeping users from trying the product (friction) including the price (temporarily). Tried and true methods of promotion include demo videos, community outreach, and a temporarily free app fueling word-of-mouth marketing. Key quote: “The kids app market is a meritocracy—but it’s not just about making ‘great apps’. There are design and marketing choices.”

The CMF Canadian Interactive Showcase highlighted national treasures: apps, games, and social agencies. These projects were:

  • StoryPanda: Interactive storytelling within the family.
  • Fam Jam: Draw Something for the family. 

This stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. Across the Liberty Grand ballrooms, there were many valuable conversations and insights into the digital media space all made possible by INplay 2012. Interactive Ontario hosted an awesome event (with excellent food, btw – kudos). Looking forward to X Summit in October and expecting big things from INplay 2013!

This post is a continuation of my INplay 2012 coverage, the first part of which covered keynotes.

Photo: Simone Maurice