NFC will catch on ‘like wildfire’ says Sundance festival game creator

Visitors to the recent Sundance Film Festival were able to take part in Pandemic 1.0, a virtual treasure hunt set in a fictional world that brought together NFC phones and tags, social media and a real-world mission control set up to look like a disease-control hub.

PANDEMIC: When NFC games go viral

Interactive digital design agency Vectorform has said using near field communication technology at the Sundance Film Festival was a “magical” experience and expect it to catch on “like wildfire” in the future.

The US firm brought the worlds of NFC and mobile games together at the festival, to create what it described as a “transmedia frenzy”.

Pandemic 1.0 is a fictional story of a viral outbreak created by American writer and director Lance Weiler.

“It was magical to watch people and how they responded to using this ‘secret’ media”

Game players joined in a virtual treasure hunt using 50 Nexus S smartphones donated by Google and 600 NFC tags provided by NXP Semiconductors. When the phones were swiped against a particular tag, information and tools were provided which allowed users to continue the game and attempt to stop the spread of a deadly virus throughout the site.

The Vectorform team has produced a promotional video to illustrate the technology involved, and the game itself:

Speaking to NFC World, Vectorform’s Alison Weber said this was the first time the team had worked with NFC and they were very impressed with the ease of integration into their existing areas of expertise.

“It was magical to watch people and how they responded to using this ‘secret’ media,” she said. “NFC is going to catch on like wildfire from watching people interacting with the technology at the festival.

“With NXP Semiconductors combined with Google, we were very well informed. We didn’t run into too may walls — the technology was easy to integrate with what we are already experienced with. The whole process, which only took three weeks for us to develop, was pretty seamless, and we are already seeing the next phase of NFC. There’s plenty of potential!

“The technology is an innovative way to engage users, at trade shows for example. And there is such a seamless interaction to it. We are very excited at the way NFC brings our day-to-day analogue transactions — such as using cash — directly into the world of digital.”

Weber also revealed two new potential NFC-based projects are on the table, following the festival experience which brought NFC together with social media and a real-world ‘mission control’ based around a Microsoft Surface dashboard and set up to look like a disease-control hub.

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