Over the course of the past two years, Pierina Merino, founder and CEO of FlickPlay, a unique platform that seeks to combine augmented reality (AR), gaming and social into a single, engaging offering, has been in stealth mode …
Well, quietly, but confidently, the company’s been building the consumer platform that will power the future of spatial AR and communal gaming — all while ushering in a new generation of social media.
Making the undertaking even more timely, the support of LiDAR technology in Apple’s new iPhone 12 Pro camera will not only enable more immersive AR experiences to seamlessly overlay onto the real world, but will help FlickPlay accelerate their plans to build a new creative canvas for social storytelling on a global scale.
Diverse Sources of Inspiration
For Merino, the ingredients for FlickPlay were already present in other platforms.
“Pokémon Go gave to the world an interactive game that shifts the way we interact with our cities. TikTok showed us the power that a great distribution engine has to create virality of content. Snap created innovative solutions that fuel our natural, creative instinct to communicate with friends,” Merino explains. “With FlickPlay, we seek to combine all of these elements to create a unique social media space filled with competition and interaction.”
This is clearly a solid foundation for Merino’s vision to build upon. Pokémon Go may no longer be the viral sensation it was when it launched in 2016, but the game recently passed $3.6 billion in lifetime revenue, with analysts expecting 2020 to be its biggest year, revenue-wise, to date.
“While each of these platforms are quite distinct from one another, all three have loosely embraced augmented reality to a certain degree,” Merino notes.
“AR presents more than a fun way to communicate, which is how current social media platforms are embracing the technology. It gives us the opportunity to enhance the experiences we already have every day with physical spaces in our cities. The merging of gaming and social is already present in the tech and consumer ecosystem. The next big social media platform will be, whether directly or indirectly, a game.”
Using AR and Gaming to Create New Experiences
FlickPlay’s map game powers the connection between the location for an AR experience and the actual game. Users create and interact with video content within the platform, competing with community members through video challenges for leaderboard status, rewards and exclusive access. The platform also rewards brand interactions.
Even though FlickPlay encourages users to seek out physical locations with “social relevance” within their city, users can also unlock experiences through the in-app game that they can access from any location, adding additional incentives for users to stay active with video creation.
“We wanted to get users involved in a content game within their own city, where they could gain relevance through distinct AR experiences,” Merino explains. “We view this as a ‘3D era’ of social media. We’re going beyond text and images — beyond images and video. Combining immersive video with gaming tools allows us to unlock a whole new creative canvas for users to interact with.”
The focus on AR is understandably important for Merino and her team. The Mindshare Layered Report reveals that AR achieves attention levels 45 percent higher than TV or online browsing. AR experiences are viewed as highly desirable among users, both for practical activities like exercise or interior design, as well as for creating fun social experiences.
“By focusing on AR, we can move away from the ‘selfie mode’ that dominates platforms like Instagram, and instead focus on engaging with the users’ physical space and relevant locations,” Merino says.
“Pairing this with game mechanics makes the creation and consumption of content more exciting. By offering the flexibility where some can just produce creative videos outside the game dynamics, we can create a platform where creators can tell great stories starring their favorite places.”
As part of its gamification strategy, FlickPlay’s launch will see the social platform use brand partnerships, influencers and celebrities to generate new experiences. “Our partners will be able to create their ideal worlds within FlickPlay,” says Pierina.
With a combination of in-game rewards and real-life incentives, the platform takes the blended-reality model even further. The end result is a combination between the digital and physical worlds before, during and after users interact with participating brands and each other.
A More Creative Future
As Merino and the FlickPlay app demonstrate, there is still plenty of room for innovation in social media. As augmented reality becomes more widely used, and as more brands and consumers become involved with this highly engaging form of media, expect more social platforms to follow suit.
“I believe that in the future, we’re going to see AR experiences become even more widespread, and in ways that we can’t even imagine right now,” Merino says. “Just like with early adopters of other social media platforms, the brands that are the first to innovate and start reaching out to customers in this space are going to have a big advantage in reaching young, tech-savvy audiences.”
Indeed, some analysts expect AR marketing spend to reach $2.6 billion by 2022. With AR and virtual reality becoming ever more popular, the brands that make early inroads in this space are poised to experience significant growth.
- Image Credit: Obvio Media