Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Counterpoints & Cautions: the Use and Abuse of Game Mechanics

My last post covered how game mechanics are being used inside [video and social] games and in real world applications and why the use of game mechanics is good and engaging.

In this post, I look at what's being said about the dark side of gamification.  The following articles warning against the gamification of our world and the need, at a minimum, for more thoughtful application of game mechanics than the shameless application of manipulative and meaningless badges or achievements that we currently see in many places (including Social Games).
  • Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges | ZDNet 
  • GDC: Hecker's Nightmare Scenario - A Future Of Rewarding Players For Dull Tasks | Gamasutra
    • GDC Presentation: Achievements Considered Harmful? | (Video and Notes)
See my summaries and take aways after the jump:

Some Great Reading on Game Mechanics and Gamification

There have been a slew of great articles that have come out over the last few days on the application of game mechanics and user engagement.

  • On a Hunt for What Makes Gamers Keep Gaming | New York Times
  • Call of Duty Black Ops Multiplayer Blows Away Other Games on Engagement | Games Beat
  • GDC China: Zynga's Tian On The Craft Of Social Games | Gamasutra
  • The Game/Tech Industry's Tea Party | Huffington Post
Read my summaries and take aways after the jump.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Will 2011 be the Year that Games Take Over the World?

The enormous size the game industry and the recent evolution of social games has made games and game mechanics ever more present in our daily lives.  In this environment, an enormous opportunity exists for individuals, companies, and government to harness the motivating power of game mechanics to increase internal productivity, to engage constituents more deeply, and to drive consumer behavior.

The following presentations from 2010 underline how game mechanics are appearing everywhere and what we have to look forward to.
  • Design Outside the Box (by Jesse Schell, DICE Summit February 18, 2010)
  • Gaming can make a better world (by Jane McGonigal, TED 2010, February 2010)
  • Building the game layer on top of the world (by Seth Priebatsch, TEDxBoston, July 2010)
Schell sees a world in which pervasive gaming and reward systems will permeate our lives.  McGonigal envisions a world where we harness the collaborative problem solving skills of gamers to solve some of the world most urgent problems.

Will 2011 be the looked back on as the year when the gamification of our world took a big leap forward?  A lot of people are trying to make that happen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Social & Online Gaming Summit Highlights -- GDC 2010

Here are my three favorite presentations from this year's Social & Online Gaming Summit at the Game Developers Conference.
  • Social Gaming in China by James Gwertzman
  • Metagame Design by Amy Jo Kim
  • State of the Social Gaming Industry by Justin Smith
See the slide shares after the jump: 

Monday, March 01, 2010

Update March 1, 2010: Future Posts and a few links

So far my posts have focused on using social media and using social networks for networking. These are two areas that I've devoted a lot of thought to lately. And this post is no exception.

One of the other areas that I think about is metrics, and I've just been looking at three sites that provide metrics on the level of influence or impact of users on Twitter. Good stuff.

Twitter Grader

I hope to publish an article soon on another big interest of mine, branded gaming.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Using LinkedIn to Build Your Network and Market Your Business

Just found this great article by Lewis Howes founder of

Published February 22, 2010

LinkedIn is the most powerful social networking site to help you grow your business.  It makes Twitter, Facebook and YouTube seem like social networking sites for kids.

If you want to hang with the big players—a place where connections are made, leads are generated, and deals go down—then you need to spend more of your time on LinkedIn.
#1: Use LinkedIn Groups & Receive Tons of New Leads Daily
Creating a LinkedIn group gives you the ability to generate an amazing number of leads from high-end decision makers.

#2: Ask Questions & Build Your Credibility
I’ve asked a number of questions using LinkedIn Answers because it’s a great way to get the answers you need from some of the top experts in the world.  [When answering questions] research the person who asked the question, and find a way to tie in a personal response with something from their LinkedIn profile.

#3: Create Powerful Events
Hosting an event is a great way to build your business (see events under the ‘More…’ news in the LinkedIn navigation bar). LinkedIn has an events platform that allows you to target thousands of professionals for free.

#4: Run an Advanced Search in Your Target Market
It’s so easy to generate leads from LinkedIn. The advanced search function helps you get in touch with the exact people you’re going after.

#5: Send Personal Messages
The best way to drop any walls—and give yourself the best chance of making a sale—is to connect with someone on as many personal levels as possible. Look at their profile, find out which companies they’ve worked for in the past, which school they attended, what groups they’re in, listed hobbies and who your mutual connections are.

See the Lewis' full blog post a lot of other great tips:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Social Media: A Beginners Guide

A personal look at social networking

You are a business executive and have a well establish network of friends, colleagues and associates. Do you really need to engage with online social networks like like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, digg, to name just a few?

I've been experimenting with social networks for the last 18 months, and can say that business professionals should absolutely take advantage of immediacy and network building capabilities of social media. Do you need to run your life around these networks? Absolutely not.

Why use social networks?
Social networks allows us to connect and communicate with all of the people in our network much faster and efficiently that we could have in the past.  These networks also allow you to easily create connections by searching through friends-of-friends-of-friends to find long-lost acquaintances or new people with common interests. Depending on the network, you may also be able to connect with or follow the luminaries and thought leaders in any areas of interest regardless of whether or not you have a personal connection.

The purpose of networking is to market your business, find prospects, land jobs, learn something new, solve problems or develop personal friendships. Social media provides one more source of connections in additional to traditional venues like conferences, professional associations, career fairs, cocktail parties, and trade shows.

Like all forms of networking, effective online social networking is all about meeting people, exchanging information and figuring out if you can help each other out.

In order to be an effective social networker, you need to understand your target networks and have a communication strategy.

How should I use social networks?
If you ask a dozen people about how they use social networks, you are like to get a dozen different answers. Some will say that they only use it to broadcast marketing messages and PR. Others will use it only for personal communications with friends. While others will only use it for gathering information. The bottom line is that social networks are a very flexible medium. They are what you make of them.

That being said, you will be best served if you use the medium with a purpose. If you are using it for everything than you are using it for nothing. This brings me to my next point.

What are the differences between social networks and what communication strategies should I use?
With the interoperability of messaging between different social networks, it is very easy to post an update on Twitter and have that message automatically posted to your LinkedIn and Facebook status.

Just because you can do this, should you? Probably not. Your high school and college friends on Facebook don't want to be spammed with messages about your business activities. Just as your business associates don't wanted to be spammed with messages about the quality of the food at the new sushi restaurant you went to on Friday night.

Personally, I use each social network for a different purpose. I use LinkedIn to maintain business connections, to research companies and contacts, and to recruit new employees.

I use Facebook mainly for personal relationships. To the extent that I have FB friends who are colleagues, I restrict what they can see about me and I never post anything that I wouldn't want my boss or my mom to read. By the same virtue, FB also allows you to see into to the lives of colleagues to a much greater extent that normal office interactions would typically provide. In those cases, you need to respect the privacy of your workmates and be careful not to bring what you see on Facebook back into the office or become overly friendly on Facebook.

I use Twitter in four distinct ways:
  • To scan for breaking news. All of the major news organizations use twitter to send out links to their top stories and breaking news. I also follow thought leaders, experts and bloggers in my industry.
  • To research specific topics by search for what people are saying and what information sources they're linking to
  • To develop relationships with a community of people who care about the same things that I do
  • To let that community know what I'm doing and thinking, and share ideas and links that matter
Twitter isn't the only place to go to for the first two items, but it's one of the first that I go to.

The “Must-Have” Tool Kit of Social Media Citizen
Twitter Power Tips Part 1
Twitter Power Tips Part 2
Social Media Today -- A site dedicated to following, thinking about and discussing social media
Etiquette for the Social Networking Age -- Knowledge@Wharton article highlighting how the personas we share with family, friends and colleagues can blur on social networks
How to Drive Traffic with Twitter

And remember, if you maintain a professional tone throughout, there are very few social networking faux pas that can't be corrected.

So, jump into social networking and have fun.