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ARG number-crunching

Jennie Lees

Alternate reality gaming; a niche pastime enjoyed by a minority of gamers? A fiendishly difficult hobby reserved for the most cerebral and dedicated few among us? Not necessarily, say these player numbers collated by Adrian Hon of Mind Candy.

Based on official numbers, the volume of forum posting and the number of hits on Google, these figures are pretty impressive. Two of the better-known ARGs -- The Beast and I Love Bees -- attracted upwards of two million players, according to their designers.

One problem with these numbers is the exact definition of "player"--is it anyone who visits a key website, or only someone following the thread of the story? The volume of buzz on forums and the Internet shows that ARGs can definitely get popular, although the most successful games so far have been run in conjunction with lavishly-funded advertising campaigns.

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