An Intro to the Gamification Movement Amidst Real and Serious Games
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.
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.
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.
An exploration of gamification as it applies to marketing
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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