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Non-gamers, here’s why you should care about games:

Stashed in: Design!, Gamification!, PandaWhale Mentions

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Gaming pushes the boundaries of technology and spurs innovation: The gaming industry has piloted tech innovations like IM, gesture control, and 3D graphics, which are being used by mainstream consumers. One of our companies, Couchbase, recently provided the noSQL database platform that supported the rapid growth of OMGPOP’s Draw Something from zero-25 million users in six weeks.

Gamification – leveraging game mechanics for non-game purposes — will disrupt many industries: The era of gamification tools, such as badges, leaderboards, levels, “missions,” and scores, is going to turbocharge end-user acquisition, onboarding, engagement, retention, and conversion in fields ranging from health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition to financial services, HR, and customer support work. And gamification will provide game designers with new professional opportunities and creative outlets to make a big impact by applying their gaming chops outside of the games industry. As an investor, I’m excited about the potential of learning from gaming to design microtransactions and freemium conversion models (leveraging behavioral economics, social psychology, and the 7 Deadly Sins as a design framework) that help us monetize other media like movies and music. This is what led me to invest in enterprise gamification companies like Badgeville, which is killing it as a SaaS company (much like did for CRM systems, Omniture for basic web analytics, and Mayfield SaaS portfolio companies Gigya and Marketo are doing for social infrastructure and marketing automation, respectively).


I agree with the premise of the essay; I disagree with this part in particular. Games have a beginning and an end; and whilst MMORPGs can be successful, most games get old after a while. I've used gamified apps and after a while I get tired/bored of them; at some point, it's more satisfying to do an activity for its own sake than to do it and quantify and qualify and track and score and achieve and badge and detail.

But that's just me.

Okay, I'll bite, David. Thanks for posting.

I'm an admitted non-gamer. I was last seriously lost in games when Sim City and Adventure were new. (Don't bother estimating years, and I'm not counting Scrabble, because that's just different.)

I think Tim Chang's right in the way gaming pushes core technologies, and that games that sweep through popular culture are important. If you're in the business of selling something to the culture well, you ignore it at your peril.

Same could be said of many non-computer, activities by the way, like growing your own vegetables. (But that's a separate discussion).

Personally, I've always been biased against "gamification" for its own sake. No stinkin' badges for me. 

It's not that I don't get it, I do. It's just that mechanisms like badges, leaderboards and levels outside of "pure" games are about as creative as hop-scotch. I think that's why they get so tiresome. It might not matter in a shoot-em-up game since you get bored of the game anyway and the high score or leaderboard is the badge you take away from the game.

Game mechanics in social networks feel like blunt stand-ins for natural responses. I know it's worked sometimes, but it's also often one of the first things people tire of. In the stash design we've started to collect some interesting discussions about "likes" and "notifications" -- that's really a serious discussion as we start to figure out how to layer social networks, group mechanics and cross references.

I think that's one of the most interesting things about PandaWhale, akshully.

Barbara, I'm with you. Thank you for your design stash!

Overall I already have "gamification fatigue" on the Internet.

We don't need no steenkin' badges.

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