An Intro to the Gamification Movement Amidst Real and Serious Games

Put on your thinking caps, folks (3-D glasses not necessary).  These are some very important ideas.
Put on your thinking caps, folks (3-D glasses not necessary). These are some very important ideas. | Source

Gamification, the act of applying gaming mechanics to everyday activities, is quickly turning into one of the most interesting trends of our times. A fairly new concept and term, gamification is something that most businesses, individuals, and even gamers are beginning to encounter.

At this time, one of the best ways to learn about gamification is to hear about it from the movement's leading experts. Below is a collection of several talks given by these entrepreneurs and researchers that are a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about funware and how gamification can (and will) change gaming, business, and life in general.

I've written up a quick summary of each talk below each video, and also provided links to any books written by the speakers or recommended in the midst of their talks, as well as relevant blogs, sites, and Twitter feeds.

The speakers in these videos are some of the the top thought leaders to watch in the gamification space. Also keep an eye out for those involved with transmedia, alternate reality games, and user experience design.

Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games
Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games

Recommended by Deterding in his talk as a great starting point for those interested in learning the basics of game design.

 

Sebastian Deterding in a January 2011 Google Tech Talk

In this Google Tech Talk, Sebastian Deterding discusses the basics of getting gamification right.  This is a must-see for any individual interested in developing funware or gamifying an element of his or her business (or teachings, social life, cleaning habits...).

Deterding discusses some of the major players in the gamification space presently, including Nike+, Foursquare, Tumblr, Mint.com, Barcode Hero, Stack Overflow and Health Month.  He outlines these games' features, noting points of particular success and weakness.

Deterding also discusses the important elements that should be present in all funware:

  • A story with meaning - design for meaningful play
  • A rule system that players can follow
  • A free space to play in
  • Mindfulness of side effects of the gaming process
  • Mindfulness of the social contexts of the gaming process
  • Understanding of basic gaming rules and elements
  • Good user experience design

Throughout the talk, he encourages game designers to think of a game's process (and not get bogged down in features), and urges developers to be well-versed in the rules of game design, as well as to prototype, playtest, and iterate their games from the start.

Sebastian Deterding is a user experience designer specializing in persuasive design and gamificaiton living in Hamburg Area, Germany.  You can follow him on Twitter @dingstweets.

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

An excellent read full of interesting examples and very inspiring concepts. A must read for those interested in the gamification movement and its potential impact on society at large.

 

Jane McGonigal's 2010 TED Talk

In this video game designer Jane McGonigal asserts (as well as in her excellent book Realty is Broken) that games can be used to save the world. She argues that games were used to help societies (e.g. the ancient Lidyans) overcome huge problems (e.g. 18 year famines) thousands of years ago, and that today, games can be utilized in much the same way to help us overcome the many issues faced by modern society.

Most of the potentially world-saving games that McGonigal refers to are classified as 'Serious Games' which some gamification experts argue cannot be counted as funware. Nevertheless, serious games make solving real-world problems fun by utilizing gaming mechanics, and I certainly argue that serious games are just as much a part of the gamification movement as all other games.

Why do serious games stand to make such a significant impact now? McGonigal argues that we now have a generation of gaming virtuosos- people who have spent more hours playing video games than they have spent sitting in class. These people are highly skilled problem solvers, and many are also adept at collaborating and organizing coordinated actions though a widely distributed social network. Should their expertise and skill be applied to real-world challenges, there is no telling what kind of progress we may see.

You can learn more about Jane McGonigal by visiting her site, as well as following her on Twitter @avantgame.

Gabe Zichermann on Mastering Gamification

Gabe Zichermann has been discussing gamification as it applies to marketing and the business world for several years now.

In this video, Zichermann introduces the concept and basic elements of funware (that which gamifies traditionally non-game-like process). He points out that gamificaiton already exists, and has existed for a long time, in the form of rewards programs (such as frequent flyer programs) and also discusses how it has made its way to online social platforms.

Gabe Zichermann is an entrepreneur, public speaker, and author of Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests. You can find several talks by and interviews with him on YouTube, but the above talk is the most popular of the bunch.  He writes regularly about gamification on the gamification blog, and can be found on Twitter (@gzicherm), as well as Facebook and SlideShare.

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Comments 12 comments

soni2006 profile image

soni2006 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

Excellent hub. I am totally a beginner in all this. I think most of us are. Gamification is the future of technology and is playing a vital role for businesses around the world. Thanks Simone for bringing this up.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, soni2006! What makes gamificaiton is that it is at once a new concept and a TOTALLY ANCIENT concept. We've all gamified things. The key to getting this movement right is incorporating it into user interface and experience design.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

But how come it can be termed as an "ANCIENT CONCEPT". Please explain?


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Watch the Jane McGonigal talk - she describes how the ancient Lidyans may have used a dice game to make an 18 year famine bearable :D It's fascinating!


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

Okay thanks Simone. I will check it out.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

What an unique concept, "Gamification." As you point out, it also is seemingly as old of an idea as is fire. Who knew that frequent flyer points had so much history? VERY interesting hub Simone! Thank you for sharing.

K9


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, K9keystrokes! Who knew, indeed!


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

Hey Simone, I watched the Jane McGonigal video, that's really amazing. Thanks for teaching me something new through your hub.


Leann Zarah profile image

Leann Zarah 5 years ago

Technology + fun = gamification. Though I may just be oversimplifying it. Gamification, for me, is good if it helps a person or a society become better. However, I'm one of those who vouch for moderation, as spending too much time playing video games reinforces limited face-to-face interaction and harmful addiction. Though games can be useful tools as well to educate, others - especially kids - might think that life is all about fun and self-gratification - this is very much unlike what the Lidyans did to resolve a social problem. Modern times have put too much focus on individualization or the pursuit of selfish interests. This is great hub, Simone.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

You're most welcome, soni2006!

And one thing I really love about the modern gamification trend, Leann Zarah, is that so many of the things people are gamifying are designed to encourage people to interact face-to-face, resolve social problems, and get out in the world. Games + those things = the best possible combination! Hehee XD


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 4 years ago from United States

I love this idea. I'm using this in my class to talk to students about arguments and how to be creative in thinking through solutions.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Oh, that's awesome!!!

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