Why You Should Choose an Experienced Advergaming Specialist

April 6, 2013

Filed under: Branded Games — Simon Walklate

With it’s increase in popularity, more and more companies are seeing the opportunity to offer advergaming services. Advergames are a unique medium, in that they straddle two very different disciplines. Game design/development and graphic/web design. Because of this production studios need to have experience of both, but the problem is few actually do.

Many are either web designers that decided to start making games or independent game developers that have seen an opportunity to make money doing commissioned work. Although it probably seems alright to commission either a web design company OR an independent game developer, this can be problematic.

Choosing an Independent Game Developer

A good developer should have the skill and experience to make a great game, the problem is they generally don’t have the skills or experience to deal with the challenges specific to producing advergames. Most have no experience of commercial design. So you could find your developer is clueless when it comes to working with agencies or in-house marketing, brand guidelines, pitching and quoting for projects and managing all of this to make sure the job gets done and delivered on time. In fact one of these companies (mentioning no names) recently contacted us to get an idea of cost for a project (clearly wanting us to help them out with a quote), shortly after starting to advertise their own advergame services.

Without commercial design experience, independent game developers can end up completely out of their depth.

Choosing a Web Designer

It might make sense to use the same company that does your web design. That way you’re working with designers you’re familiar with and keeping all your contract work in one place. But if you hire a web designer there are a different set of problems.

Sure a good web designer has the experience of working in a commercial design environment and dealing with everything that goes along with it. The problem is, there’s a world of difference between designing and producing a website and creating a game. Web designers just don’t generally have the required knowledge or experience. And because they’re not exclusively making games day in day out, the chances of ever getting really good at solving these specific technical and design problems are slim.

Of course there is an exception to this, if they are sub-contracting to a true advergame specialist. Agencies and web design companies often come to us for their game projects, as they recognise they don’t have the necessary expertise in-house.

Choose a Specialist

True advergaming specialists have experience of both commercial design and game development. This ensures that not only are there no surprises (and minimal difficulties) when dealing with things like branding and project management, but you also get a great finished product delivered on time. Certainly in the UK there’s probably half a dozen developers that fall into this category (with dozens more in the other two), and it shows in the quality of the work produced.

So, if you’re planning to take the leap into advergaming for your business, make sure you use a highly experienced specialist. Or at the very least, make sure you check that the developer you’re planning to use has extensive experience of BOTH video game design & development and commercial graphic design. Otherwise you may end up with a difficult production process and/or an inferior end product.

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