October 15th, 2007

I love my job. (All of them!) Today I heard about Electrocity, the online game that Lowe Rivet created for Genesis Energy. All local New Zealand stuff, right, but guess where I heard them? On Across the Sound, a US-based podcast hosted by South African Joseph Jaffe.

I dumped my plans for my regular online marketing column in Marketing magazine, and instead picked up the phone and talked with Richard Gordon, Genesis Energy’s public affairs manager.

He’s a cool guy. He gets what the internet is all about – not just the technology, but the freedom that people have. He admitted that Genesis hadn’t really gone into blogging or podcasting, but this game was their first foray into the online space.

Electrocity is a lot of fun. It’s a game along the lines of SimCity, but much simpler and shorter to play (thankfully! It’s addictive too!). Originally designed for school children, the game has picked up traction overseas among the gaming community.

A few very cool things about the whole campaign:

  • the idea arose out of a long-term business relationship. Lowe Rivet’s ECD Tom Markham, who originally had the idea for the game, has worked with Genesis for a long time, and really understood their business issues.
  • Genesis took the curator approach, choosing to engage with people rather than “cramming corporate information down people’s throats”
  • The game is fun! Global giant Chevron has launched a similar game called Energyville, which Tom says hasn’t been as popular among gamers. “They didn’t focus on gameplay,” says Tom. “They were too focused on politics and being politically correct.”
  • Richard Gordon says there are phone calls from multinationals who are interested in buying or licensing the game. Smart move! Being curious about issues of intellectual property, I asked Tom who owns the game, Lowe Rivet, Tom himself or Genesis. Luckily for Genesis, they own it. Which could be great if it turns into a licensing deal. Hmmm… portfolio: electricity generation and game licensing. Sounds like a good business plan to me! :)

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