Gamification can be a ‘game-changing’ strategy when used to Listen & Monitor your audience.
“Fun is just another word for learning… Fun from games arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that makes games fun. With games, learning is the drug.” — Raph Koster (link to slides below)
Jane McGonigal is a game designer. In fact she is a total game nerd. I first discovered her delivering an extra-nerdy report about video games while I was watching news on XBox Live. The only reason this is noteworthy is because her demographic qualities imply that she is she is not your typical gamer and is therefore not assumed to like video games just because of who she it. The fact that it is Her delivering the message, I am more willing to accept it.
In the video below, she argues that people do not play enough games. As a nation, we invest 3 billion hours weekly playing online games. Jane states that we need 21 billion hours of gameplay per week to really develop our gaming skills to the point that they can be used to solved real-world problems; such as hunger, poverty, global conflict, climate change, obesity,… ect. (link to video below)
Jane describes an interesting phenomena happens when gamers play games for a while. They often reach achievements or goals along the way to some bigger goal. As they work their way towards this bigger goal, and just before they reach this larger goal, they discover that there was an even bigger goal to complete. They realize that they are actually closer to achieving it than they thought. And at that moment, Gamers experience an emotion that is all but vacant in the natural Human experience. This experience is called an “Epic Win.” It is defined as the experience associated with being on the verge of an achievement that is so great that it wasn’t understood that it was possible until it happens.
Game worlds are different. In a game world, we collaborate, we coordinate, we achieve more, we do something that matters, we get to “play again” after a failure. Gamers in their element, are likely to stick with a problem and to help at a moments notice.
Game worlds also provide two additional characteristics that enable an opportunity for an ‘Epic Win’:
- Many users willing to give you a mission (to save the world)
- Eager Collaboration. By playing games, we are evolving to become a more collaborative and hardy species.
- Average young person in a gaming rich culture spends 10,000 hrs playing online games by the age of 21.
- It takes 10,080 hours to complete 5th grade to graduation.
- An entire generation of individuals are learning as much about games as they are about school.
- Malcolm Gladwell is known for his theory of achieving the skill level in any subject simply by spending 10,000 hours doing it.
So these Gamers are getting good, but at what? Jane says are getting good at several things:
1. Urgent Optimism
2. Social Fabric
3. Blissful Productivity
4. Epic Meaning
This is significant because if you look at the behavior of an individual playing a game, you notice that they can work for very long hours, are excited to do the work, and relentlessly seek solutions to problems. These Gamers are ‘Super-Empowered Hopeful Individuals’ who believe they are able to change the world.
To Jane, the challenge is to make the real-world work like a game. Examples of this include: World without Oil, foldit.com/org, Superstuct (institute for the future), and Evoke ( social innovation) These are all examples of free games that can be played online and are designed to solve real-world problems.
Describing general human motivation, Jane states that “Nobody wants to change the way they live because its good for the world or because we are suppose to, but if you immerse them in an epic adventure and tell them the ‘World is running out of oil. This is an amazing story / challenge for you to go on,’ then you will see people get engaged.
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