Keeping with its brand slogan, “The farm has never been closer,” grocery ecommerce site GrubMarket just released an iOS game with real product rewards to teach users about farming.
GrubBox FarmBox, the online organic produce’s branded mobile offering, has players manage a virtual farm and get rewarded with points as they advance through the game and bring food to harvest. These points can be spent inside the game to purchase virtual goods and farm tools, or they can be spent at GrubMarket for the purchase of real groceries. Social gameplay will be added in the future, according to the company, that will allow friends to compete for the most points.
According to GrubMarket CEO Mike Xu, the purpose of FarmBox is to educate consumers and their children about real steps and processes involved in managing a farm, from different soils and weather systems to seeds and animals.
While FarmBox may have missed the Farmville craze by a few years, offering real food is a unique twist, and branded games have become a popular—and often effective—means of reaching consumers.
Other food brands, like Chipotle, GrubHub, Jack in the Box and Kraft, have developed games to educate or otherwise engage potential customers through mobile, web browsers and Snapchat ads. Carnival has developed a series of mobile games called PlayOcean for its cruise passengers not to sell games, but to encourage interaction. To spread awareness for the grand opening of its new hotel in Seattle, W Hotels released a free mobile game called Belle the Bear.
While these branded mobile games are free and without microtransactions, the mobile gaming sector is currently experiencing a boom. Mobile accounts for over a third of global game market revenue at 34 percent last year, and will grow to 41 percent of the market by 2020 according to Newzoo.