Draw & Code partnered with Snatch to create inventive AR interactions and brand-specific mini-games for Warner Bros and Unilever. Snatch is a geo-location video game with a difference: the prizes you win are real. Players grab parcels during augmented reality challenges and then hang on to them as other players try to snatch them.
When Snatch approached Draw & Code to create augmented reality content the app was already in a very limited beta release. It consisted of the core geo-location game with a single AR interaction; Draw & Code were tasked with making new augmented games that were more compelling both in terms of gameplay and also making fuller use of the potential of this technology.
Snatch is very much focused on creating a truly engaging game-led marketing platform and as such is collaborating directly with brands. One such collaboration was produced with Unilever and Marmite while another was to mark the launch of Warner Bros’ Ready Player One.
Marmite who have already created facial-recognition experiences for the web and were looking at the next step in personalised game-infused content. Their marketing team worked directly with Snatch and Draw & Code to R&D just how far we could take contextual AR in an outdoor setting. This involved using photogrammetry to allow landmarks to be used as large-scale object markers to trigger augmented reality experiences – very much pushing this type of AR to the limits of what was possible at the time. This included a guerilla ART ‘sculpture’ that could be seen on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square.
For Warner Bros’ Ready Player One, they wanted to create a sense of the complete immersion in virtual worlds that is the main theme of the book and movie. In this case, we used an AR portal to transport the player into an old school arcade with a playable cabinet. An AR portal is the name ascribed to the technique of physically walking ‘into’ the game environment.
One of the key considerations when creating mini-games within the Snatch app was its unusual gameplay mechanic. The idea of snatching a parcel quickly and then needing to hang onto it for hours meant that the initial interactions had to be swift, slick and compelling. They also had to be easily completed while on-the-go outdoors often in the middle of a busy commute. For accessibility, many of the core games also had to work in non-AR modes too.
These gameplay considerations, when combined with the demanding briefs from Unilever and Warner Bros meant that unique experiences were developed that took the emerging medium of geo-location AR games in some fascinating new directions. In the first year of Snatch’s beta release it amassed close to a million downloads in spite of not launching globally, showing the potential of this social games-meets-marketing concept.