Wednesday, 10 October 2012

DD3000 DESIGN FUTURES #4: Gamification

Today we've been learning about Gamification. It essentially involves using game design techniques to make chores and tasks from everyday life more engaging, offering an incentive for performing them.
For example, shops could offer points to customers for buying a certain amount of items, which the customers could then trade in for benefits i.e a discount on their next purchase

Examples of this method are already present in the world today. They include:-
  • Airmiles
  • Checking in (social networking)
  • Coupon Collection
  • E-learning games for Kids
  • Petrol Points (Club Cards)
Of course, as with many things, this could be taken further still. When discussing the subject at conventions, Jesse Schell, author of The Art of Games Design: A Book of Lenses, described a world where every action we perform, from brushing our teeth to drinking a certain number of soft drinks a week, can reward us with points. These points then lead to rewards, such as benefits on Health insurance for keeping fit.
Meanwhile, Jane McGonigal has also discussed Gamification in a convention talk (, where she talked about the skills gamers acquire from their hobby and how they can use these skills to solve real-world problems.
The team at Extra Credits also based one of their episodes on this topic. Here's the episode:-
Extra Credits Episode 36: Gamification:

There is definitely great potential in Gamification, but at the same time there are also ways in which it can be abused. For example, this method could be used purely for advertising and subliminal messaging, convincing people to buy things they neither want nor need.
However, only time will tell if this comes to pass. For now, Gamification offers an interesting possibility for everyone to consider.

1. Schell, J. (2008). The Art of Games Design: A Book of Lenses. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press
2. McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. New York, NY: The Penguin Press

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