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Does the idea of “turning everything into a game” just sound silly to you?

Does the idea of “turning everything into a game” just sound silly to you?

Then your business might soon just be someone else’s football and you may become nothing more than their pawn

Just because business is only just beginning to realise that serious gamification (turning everything you get your clients to do into a kind of game) can work, doesn’t mean that you can afford to just sit back and wait for the results

To bring yourself up to date on the rapidly burgeoning practice of gamification you need to watch what is undoubtedly becoming a ‘seminal video’ on the subject of ‘introducing game mechanics into things other than games’ which is a presentation (widely described as mind-blowing) by Jesse Schell.

Now that you’ve been swept away by Jesse’s tsunami, it’s time for a more calm and detached examination of the current state of the gamification art

Here’s Jesse’s work-life story:

Jesse Schell founded Schell Games in 2002 and has offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Austin, Texas.

Jesse Schell has taught Game Design and led research projects at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center since 2002.

Jesse is also the CEO of Pittsburgh’s largest videogame studio, Schell Games, and the former chairman of the International Game Developers Association.

In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation.

Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was the Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio, where he spent seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and Disney Online.

Before that, he was a software engineer at IBM and Bell Communications Research, and a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Jesse Schell founded Schell Games in 2002 and has offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Austin, Texas.

Jesse Schell has taught Game Design and led research projects at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center since 2002.

Game philosophers

The names of those in the game business who transcend the limits of game development and have ultimately become respected as ‘game philosophers’ are all familiar to the web tech community:

John Carmack, Will Wright, Shigeru Miyamoto and Peter Molyneux.

Is it possible that in Jesse Schell we have found someone awesome enough to join this esteemed pantheon?

Your comments and alternative candidates please!

Jesse is also the CEO of Pittsburgh’s largest videogame studio, Schell Games, and the former chairman of the International Game Developers Association.

In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation.

Jesse has published an award-winning book called:

The Art of Game Design (considered essential reading on the subject by many in this field)

Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was the Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio, where he spent seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and Disney Online.

Before that, he was a software engineer at IBM and Bell Communications Research, and a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer’s Mime Circus and the Juggler’s Guild.

In the second video, which was called:

Reporters’ Roundtable: How game mechanics are infecting everything

The participants on this CNET showwere:

Rafe Needleman, host

Dru Wynings, who is the founder of Reputely, a start-up that “brings game mechanics to your Web site’

venture capitalist David Feinleib of Mohr Davidow Ventures. David led investments in companies like Doxo, Hi5, and Visible Measures, and is currently looking at opportunities in the game mechanics space

Gabe Zichermann, author of the book, “Game-based Marketing.”

Check out the Funware blog, which is about “gamification.”

And if your appetite for further insight into the prospects for gamification has been whetted, here’s one more video.

I’ve left it until last, because although it has more Jesse Schell, it has the following characteristics which prompted me to put the requirement for putting the ’round table’ video before it:

  • It has a long introduction before you get to the part with Jesse’s presentation
  • There is a superb film which is also shown before Jesse’s bit (so I wanted to get the ‘educational’ material about gamification which was in the round table discussion dealt with before giving you the ‘entertainment’)
  • The first part of Jesse’s session is actually mostly a recap of the presentation given in the first video. Nonetheless it is still very much worth watching this recap, because it includes updates on that (now iconic) ‘first showing’, which incorporate fascinating ‘audience reactions’ and salutary ‘lessons learned’ in a way which in practice unquestionably renders this utterly exemplary in terms of ‘how to follow-up presentations’
  • This presentation is much longer (nearly two hours)

Visions of the Gamepocalypse

This video is presented by FORA.TV and The Long Now Foundation

The first host before the short movie was Alexander Rose, director of the Long Now foundation.

The movie was called Pixels, by Patrick Jean of Onemoreprod

The presenter after the movie was Joel Tan of YBCA

19 Responses to “Does the idea of “turning everything into a game” just sound silly to you?”

  1. Grzegorz Pietruczuk says:

    My candidate for game developers hall of fame? Sid Meier, without doubt. Co-founder of Microprose and Firaxis Games, and creator, among other great games, of Civilization series. Don’t need any more explanations I think.

  2. Rob Jara says:

    Haven’t had the chance to play that game Greg, but I did hear that Sid Meier’s Civilization pioneered strategy games. But for what it’s worth, I think business innovators need also to seriously consider how gamification impacts society, especially on adverse effects. While it is good that gamification yields better results for businesses, it pays to understand where to draw the line in these kinds of innovation development.

    • Krish says:

      Just found an article that mentions that idea of gamification of business is not so new:

      http://www.bigfishgames.com/blog/can-business-games-really-simulate-running-a-business

      “You might be surprised to know games are also being used to teach entrepreneurs the ins and outs of business. In fact, the University of Washington Foster School of Business has been using business simulation games in classrooms since as early as 1957.”

      The article is quite interesting and list various types of games that simulate business, neverthless games are just a way kill the time but they also make you learn something.

  3. Debbie Todd says:

    As an interesting development in this subject, I’ve just read a report on GigaOm:

    http://gigaom.com/2010/10/18/signs-of-angel-investing-exuberance-a-tool-a-game/?go_commented=1#comment-300545

    It mentions that “angel investing is turning into a game. No really; YD Online today launched Angel’s Choice, an iPhone app that has users “invest” in other iPhone apps and compete to have the best portfolio. It’s all virtual, though; the idea is to filter new apps and find the most interesting ones.”

    It will be interesting to see how popular the iPhone apps for this become and also whether they get the most use from people who work in the investment field.

    • Rob Jara says:

      That’s pretty interesting Debbie, an iPhone app where one can practice investment practices without any real risks. I’m thinking that if this picks up, a lot more applications – not only in iPhone but in Android and Windows as well – with a similar approach will hit the market and compete on what best “gamifies” investment and its related fields.

      • Grzegorz Pietruczuk says:

        Yes, interesting find Debbie, thanks for sharing. Simulation games are fun, simulatopn games where you can compete with other users – even more fun. Hope it gets more popular with time.

  4. Just downloaded it on my iPhone and really like it! I believe SCVNGR is SO much better than Foursquare mainly because of the game dynamics that they’ve built into it. Now they just need to accumulate their user base because not a single person I know is using it. :( I’m guessing that Foursquare will simply add on some of the features that SCVNGR has in order to compete.

    • Debbie Todd says:

      @Theodore – I haven’t yet checked out Foursquare or SCVNGR – wondering if you could describe what sort of features that you think Foursquare will be adding on.

    • Grzegorz Pietruczuk says:

      SCVNGR looks like a really cool idea. Real shame it seems to be only available in states so far, maybe they will introduce it in Europe as well? Curious approach to marketing, like it a lot.

  5. Krish says:

    Initially the article sounds as if it will be talking about “making all business just a game”, but while going through content, I realise that it’s just about gaming business, i.e. business of developing and selling games! Just learnt a new term ‘game philosophers..

  6. Krish says:

    Rob and Greg’s comment’s to Debbie help me conclude, it’s about developing games that simulate business..

    Thank’s Rob n Greg :)

  7. [...] in a clear and entertaining way. It’s Disney Imagineer emeritus, Jesse Schell. And after his Gamepocalypse talks of last year, he’s got some brand new and characteristically contrarian ideas about what [...]

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