Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Build a Better Business with Games

Earlier this year, famed game designer Will Wright proclaimed that "we are in a Gambrian Explosion".  Like the Cambrian Explosion, which witnessed the rapid acceleration of biological evolution, we are now seeing the rapid evolution of games.  Games are showing up everywhere and everyone is becoming a gamer.

This rapid introduction of game thinking into every day life (aka. gamification) provides companies of all types with the opportunity to build a better business with gaming in mind.  Gamification can help companies improve their bottom lines by increasing user activation, engagement and retention.
  1. Activation:  The best games make it easy for Newbies to get up to speed quickly.  Tutorials introduce key elements and goals without requiring users to digest lengthy instructions and documentation.  Novices are also give clear, easy-to-earn rewards.  In the parlance of user experience design, games a great at on-boarding users.
  2. Engagement:  Games sustain user engagement by matching challenges and quests to a players current level of mastery.  As players enter the flow of a game, the level of difficulty increases and the player increases their skills.  Regular players also gain more power tools, status and personalization.
  3. Retention:  Epic meaning and story arcs add interest and motivation and retains users over the long-term.  Master players can also be given exclusive access, activities, and unlocks.  And ultimately, players should be given an increasing sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose.
For more details on how to apply game thinking to your business, check out Metagame Designer Amy Jo Kim's most recent presentation on Smart Gamification:

You can also learn more about the social and technological forces that are driving the Gambrian Explosion, watch this great talk by Professor Jesse Schell on what he jokingly calls his vision of the Gamepocalypse:

Jesse Schell: Visions of the Gamepocalypse from The Long Now Foundation.

Finally, here is Will Wright's talk at the Inventing the Future of Games conference where he discussed the Gambrian Explosion:

IFOG 2011: Will Wright from UCSC Games & Playable Media.

No comments: