ARG SIG Whitepaper

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2006 Whitepaper

This is the first paper from the ARG SIG, and provides a full introduction to the genre as well as a wealth of practical and analytical information on design methodologies, business models, and current and recent games.

The ARG industry is consistently producing multi-million-dollar games for tens of thousands of players at a time, and generating interest across the entertainment, broadcast, and advertising industries. In the last few years, successful games have received widespread recognition, winning awards from the gaming, media and broadcasting industries. As well as these critical success, there are already several businesses with long-term sustainable revenue streams.

Although new to many people, Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are still far short of achieving their full potential, each new wave of games bringing major new innovations and increased understanding of what works and what doesn't. We hope you find both inspiration and real practical help in this paper, and look forwards to playing the next wave of ARGs you come up with.

Download 2006 Whitepaper here

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • What is an ARG?
    • ARGs and MMOGs
  • Antecedents to Alternate Reality Games
    • ARGs in Fiction
    • ARG-like Games
    • Performance Art
    • Literary Hoaxes
    • ARGs and Politics
  • Types of ARG
    • Introduction
    • Promotional
    • Grassroots
    • Productized
    • Single-Player
    • Educational/Training
  • Current & Recent Games
    • Catching the Wish
    • EDOC Laundry
    • Last Call Poker
    • The LOST Experience
    • Ocular Effect
    • Omnifam
    • Orbital Colony
    • Perplex City
    • ReGenesis
    • Studio Cyphers
    • Who Is Benjamin Stove
  • Methods and Mechanics
    • Exposition
    • Interaction
    • Challenges
    • Integrating the Pieces
    • Constraints
  • Understanding your Audience
    • Community Play
    • Levels of Engagement
    • Player Roles
    • The Audience Relationship
  • Business Models
    • Current and Recent Models
    • First Wave: Marketing Campaigns
    • Second Wave: Non-profit Games
    • Third Wave: Productized mini-ARGs
    • Fourth Wave: Indirect Revenue
    • Other Models
    • Fundamental Issues
    • Current Trends
  • ARGs and Academia
    • Background or How Academics & ARGs Fell For Each Other
    • Current research
    • ARGs & Philosophy: How ARGs Battleaxe Boundaries
    • ARGS & Education: Why No School Should Be Without One
    • ARGs & Entertainment: “The Citizen Kane of Online Entertainment”
    • Future Directions