Apollo Box launched ELFY GO as an augmented reality game within our mobile app. The game was inspired by the Pokemon GO craze that erupted in the Summer of 2016. Within the ELFY GO game, players were asked to search through the site and scan product images with unique cat logos on the edges. Scanned images would randomly reward players with coupons or the grand prize, an ELFY Smart Lamp from Emie, one of our early vendors.
The Story of Emie
Emie was one of our earliest vendors, and an obvious pick for the ELFY GO game. Emie specializes in electronics that are designed to give customers a personalized experience. Their cute appearance is developed to help build an emotional connection between people and their products. We felt that this mission aligned perfectly with that of Apollo Box, and we are proud to have a number of Emie products including the charming ELFY Smart Lamp.
Designing an AR Game
The game was directly inspired by the catching aspect of Pokemon GO and offered customers a powerful incentive to browse the online store and view products they might not otherwise notice. It highlighted ELFY as a desirable grand prize that customers could win by chance. Many times, players would scan something to reveal nothing, but the user interface encouraged them to find a new product and scan again. The cute looking ‘Apollo Cat’ shown on the left, could be interacted with as well, and would even meow when clicked on.
ELFY GO boosted our sales and brand considerably. Our reward system limited the amount of ELFYs that could be won each day, so customers often found that the stock was depleted early on, and they needed to try and play again tomorrow. This meant customers were spending multiple days browsing our pages and getting more and more familiar with our store. Players were also awarded lives after an extended period of time, or for sharing a photograph from the game. This small feature encouraged more social sharing and helped to introduce the game to a wider audience.
The nature and power of introducing luck and chance as a game mechanic has been popular in game design for a long period, and has been researched extensively. As this was our primary game mechanic, we wanted to make sure that we were respectful to our players and they did not feel cheated by the experience.
Many customers reported that they found and purchased products only because they found them while playing the ELFY GO game. Instead of becoming frustrated, our users enjoyed playing the game of chance. They were having fun discovering new products and exploring our online store while having the opportunity to win something.
ELFY GO took advantage of the unique ability of augmented reality to introduce a new layer of engagement on top of ordinary behavior. The game was easy to learn, and limiting the rewards meant that users were rewarded for habitual play.
While the interface of using one device to scan the screen of another device was a bit cumbersome, our customers were willing to overcome this challenge and play the game for extended periods. In the future, we plan to remove the need for a second device and create a game where customers can discover prizes directly within the virtual interface.