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Advertisers and brands don't get games. This is your chance to make sure they do.

This isn't another blog post about gamification. It's about brands who want to reach people, and great, fun games being the way to do it. And your chance to get money to put your games in front of millions of people.

Dan Hon, Blogger

August 3, 2011

3 Min Read

About a year ago, I left Six to Start, the games and storytelling startup I co-founded and jumped ship to join Wieden + Kennedy, an advertising agency that was most well known last year for putting a handsome man wearing a bathrobe on a horse.

My background in games isn't typical: I fell in to alternate reality games before they became the expected (and sometimes derided) standard for launching big budget summer explosion movies, or first person science-fiction shooters, working on Mind Candy's ARG Perplex City before they got into Moshi Monsters. And then I spent time working on making games that weren't games, that sometimes told stories.

And it was the power of games, play and storytelling that stuck with me. 

The big storytellers right now are advertisers and brands. And for some reason - just like so many other people - they just don't get games. I mean, they really don't get games: they don't get that for pretty much everyone under thirty, not playing video games is like saying you don't watch television. Or listen to music. But I'm on the inside now. Injecting them, Bioshock style, with game clue.

Games are a part of culture now.

So that's why I joined an ad agency one year ago: to help them do games right. Because doing games right means reaching a tonne of people in new, interesting and useful ways. And also being able to make games that millions of people will play and love.

I'm not interested in working with brands to build the next Call of Duty. Apart from being a silly idea, agencies don't work with their clients to build the equivalent of full-length movies. They make shorts. So during the last year, I've been building up relationships with indie development studios who're producing some of the best creative and engaging work out there, hands down. 

And now, I've got money. 

Last year, Wieden + Kennedy helped run an incubator called PIE - the Portland Incubator Experiment - based at W+K's Portland office. It was a collaboration between the agency and tech entrepreneurs aimed at generating new business and creating tech-fueled disruptions, building platforms (not campaigns!) and acting as an entrepreneur accelerator and social hub. Out of that one year experiment came 3 funded startups, geo-hackathons, one acquisition and even a couple of startups you might have heard of, like BankSimple and Urban Airship.

But no gaming companies. 

Well, I want to change that this year. We're looking for games startups that want to take part in this year's intake. You get $18,000 and three months of office space in beautiful Portland, Oregon - where the dream of the 90s is still alive. You'll get access - proper, useful access - to brands like Target, Coca-Cola, Nike and Google that can get you in front of millions of people. Where you can help them solve problems without anyone in the room asking you about badges or gamification. 

Sound interesting? You have until 8th August to get your application in.

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