Alternative Reality Gaming Whitepaper

Jane McGonigal on ARGs

The ARG SIG has written a whitepaper for Alternative Reality Games – ARGs.

This is the first paper from the ARG SIG, and provides a full introduction to the genre as well as a wealth of practical and analytical information on design methodologies, business models, and current and recent games.

The ARG industry is consistently producing multi-million-dollar games for tens of thousands of players at a time, and generating interest across the entertainment, broadcast, and advertising industries. In the last few years, successful games have received widespread recognition, winning awards from the gaming, media and broadcasting industries. As well as these critical success, there are already several businesses with long-term sustainable revenue streams.

Although new to many people, Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are still far short of achieving their full potential, each new wave of games bringing major new innovations and increased understanding of what works and what doesn't. We hope you find both inspiration and real practical help in this paper, and look forwards to playing the next wave of ARGs you come up with.

The word in the communities around ARGs is that it royally sucks. As Christy points out in a note BBCi did Jamie Kane not Crossmedia entertainment and there's meant to be lots more errors and mistakes. For the full low down listen to the ARGN podcast 25mins from the end.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and