Gamification

Evidently the word “Gamification” is becoming a bit of a bad word. I suppose it is because too often it is being used in a Tom Chatfield sense and not in a Jane McGonigal sense.

Tom stresses much in regards to the game play rewards system. Having worked in the industry and watching games like Farmville and such arise. He is not wrong. Those are all crucial elements of addictive game play. What he says isn’t new. In the gaming industry, we talk often about the circle of addiction.  Things like the importance of immediate feedback w representative rewards, multiple goals of varying length, element of surprise, and interactions w peers.

Jane talks much of making the world a better place.  Of the importance of choosing important goals and of fostering motivation.

I love the concepts of Jane’s games.  I have signed up multiple times.  But I never end up playing them.  I think often her games are missing an important aspect – the addictive factor.  The feedback is rarely as immediate as I need.  And even though she talks about the freedom to fail – making those immediate posts… is actually asking for a rather large commitment.

I think both could learn much from each other.  What I would like to argue esp in regards to Tom’s presentation is that Real Metrics are motivational ONLY if people can see the correlation.  That is why money typically fails as a motivator. (Well that and fear – money makes a game real.)  And I believe this lack of correlation is why “Gamification” is becoming a dirty word – a word marketing people use. (duh duh duh DUM!)

Jane – you really have to control the fear aspect in regards to asking people to be creative.  Doing blog posts, posting videos etc are acts only a certain generation of extroverts can accomplish.  I, the gal that dances everywhere, have a truly hard time posting a video of myself dancing online.  I mean first I have to get someone to help me make the video.  Secondly I have to get over looking like a dork and realize – I am not as hot of a dancer as I thought I was…. So my need for perfectionism- means I internally don’t feel free to fail :-(

I guess I need those tiny steps complete w rewards to get there… And those haven’t worked for me in the design of your virtual games I have played so far.  I believe that is why only 8000 played superstruct.  I wanted to like it.  I really did.  But oof that first step was a doosy.  But I do have to say your peer pressure tactics work great in Real Life (as evidenced at my participation at foocamp :-)) Maybe if there was a better way to pressure Real life communities?

Honestly though, I do believe the world can learn much from good games…

Constant relevant feedback

Meaningful metrics

Valid reward systems

That certain element of surprise…

and yea people – remember the whole essential ingredient of the whole Web 2.0 explosion…

Share