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Coursera Gamification Class - Week 1 Review By Sudarshan Gopaladesikan What is Gamification? Introduction o Techniques that game designers use can be applied to health, business, education. This is gamification o In the 6 weeks of the course, it will teach what gamification means and how you can apply it to solve real world problems o What is cool about games? They are so addicting! Why are they addicting? That is what we want to learn. What engages and motivates people in a game environment. o Understanding what makes games successful (commercially and personally). Understanding what makes games engaging. Understanding what games can do. Why games have power. o Samsung Nation is an example that is given in the course. Samsung wants to increase internet traffic They create incentive/rewards for desired behavior: interact with their site, post a comment, write reviews, watch videos, etc. Leaderboards, badges, points, etc. are things that are used to make Samsung Nation more than just a website. It is gamified! o Although the course explains it in depth later on, I want to comment on the difference between game elements, mechanics, and dynamics. Using Bunchballs white paper Gamification 101, they say: Game mechanics: points, levels, challenges, virtual goods, leaderboards, gifts/charity Game dynamics: rewards, achievement, self-expression, altruism, competition, status Game elements can mean mechanics. These terms seem to be interchangeably used, so just be careful that you distinguish what you are talking about. Course Overview o Understand what gamification is o How it MIGHT be valuable This is simply to show that gamification is not the answer for EVERY real world problem.

2 o Learn how to do it effectively o Understand applications of gamification o Gamification is amazing because it is one of the most interdisciplinary studies. It combines games, math (statistics), psychology, economics, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and the list goes on. For example, it may be easy to see why these subjects can help understand gamification. Anthropology is a great discipline because every culture plays games different. If someone wants to create global gamified products, they would have to take into account cultural differences to make sure the rules arent offensive/complex/etc. Definition of Gamification o Gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts. Game elementssimilar to mechanics (from Introduction) Game design techniquessimilar to game dynamics (from Introduction) Non-game contextsevents that occur in real life (ex. Running) o Nike+ This is an app that Nike created. It allows them to take an accelerometer chip and place it in a persons shoe. The chip records running stats and can be uploaded on a smartphone/pc to see your records. Achievements, Goals, Stats, etc. are some elements that Nike+ uses to gamify running. o Zombies Run is another good example. Remember, gamification isnt about making a game better. It is about how to use games to solve real world challenges. o An important thing to remember is observer bias. Gamification is about tracking progress of an individual. However, if the individual understood the rules and who is tracking progress, he/she may act differently because he is being observed. o Subtle gamification will help to solve this, but this isnt easy. o Gamification can also be defined as the observation and/or implementation of a playful environment using systematic rules in a non-game context. Observationthis is Nike tracking the running of an individual Implementationthe elements/mechanics/dynamics used to create the gamified environment. Playful environmentin the later sections, the course talks about game vs. play. The playful environment is the area within the Magic Circle that gives complete freedom to the user with some given constraints. For example, Nike+ gives users a lot of

freedom where to run given the constraint that they do actually run with the chip in the shoe. Systematic rulesthese are the rules of the game. They explain the goal and how it is possible to get from start to finish. Why Study Gamification o A great reason to study it is because it is new but will become a growing topic in both the academic and business worlds. o Fortune Magazine Oct 2011 said that gamification is the hot new business concept. o What is it about games that make them so engaging? I keep writing this sentence down, but this is a key question to ask. o They solve personal behavior change challenges, but they can also solve business challenges like how to better engage customers, increase sales, and/or but not limited to improve efficiency in the workplace. o Reasons why you should study gamification: Gamification.co might create a workshop for students and professionals. This certification will be something you can take to employers. They will see that you are gamification certified. This means: You can work successfully in a gamified environment You understand gamification and how it can help all areas of a business. You are capable of understanding what it takes to successfully gamify a business. It is an interdisciplinary study so you get to learn a lot from bunch of different disciplines. Games are becoming a part of everyones life. Understanding games will give you a new way to approach problems. Another reason to study gamification is that it will DIE if it isnt explored properly. Just like how video games are typically good if they are different, unique, and offer exciting game play. Same with gamification. Gamified environments in real life have to be different and unique because otherwise it will be dull. History of Gamification o 100 years ago, Cracker Jack used to put a surprise toy in each box. (Awesome way to engage people into buying their product.) o Richard Bartle. These notes dont give him enough credit. Google him to learn more about him. In 1980, he created MUD1. It was a multi-user dungeon with a text-based system. (Ex. You see a rock, what do you do? A) hit it B) Ignore it) He actually jokes today that gamification then meant taking something that wasnt a game and making it a game.

4 Now, it involves breaking games down into important elements. o James Paul G at ASU wrote many books about how video games encode power information and creation tools that explain how people learn. o Serious Games Initiative is focused on creating real world simulations. This isnt actually gamification. This is because Serious Games are creating a game simulation that simulates real life. Although it is amazing, it isnt under the scope of gamification. Serious Games would be more of augmented reality. o Games for Change helped used games to raise world-issue awareness (ex. Peace Maker is a game that explains the Arab Israeli Conflict) o Games are great for teaching systems thinking, showing you that your individual actions fit into a much more complex system. o In 2005, Bunchball was created. In 2007, they crated the first gamification platform. Since then, other competitors like Bigdoor, Gigya, and Badgeville have entered the scene. o In 2010, gamification became a coined term because it reached critical mass within the biz tech community. Why? Jesse Schells DICE conference talk on gamification went viral. Jane McGonigals book, Reality is Broken, helps show how games can help our lives. o As Jane does not put the term gamification in her book, she says that gamification trivializes how powerful games are. I agree with her. o In context of this course, I understand why the scope is what it is. However, to spark creativity, imagination, and possible new outcomes, gamifications scope would be widened so that people really believe that there are elements and dynamics within games that can help solve problems such as world hunger, climate change, what to wear for work, and everyday life. Examples and Categories o Categories are External, Internal, and Behavioral Change. Externalthis is similar to B2C. Businesses want to use gamification to increase traffic to site, sales, engagement, and fan loyalty. Internalthis is similar to B2E. Businesses want to use gamification to improve worker efficiency and satisfaction in the workplace. A great reading is Bunchballs whitepaper on Gamification at work Behavioral ChangeThis is Nike+. People who want to lose weight, stop smoking, study better, etc. can use gamification to help motivate themselves to better themselves. o The examples the course uses are Club Psych (B2C) and Microsoft Language bug tracking (B2E).

Games Gamification in Context o Not turning everything into a game. Gamification is taking a real world experience and making it better. What does better mean? Well that depends on the context of what you are trying to gamify. o Gamification is and is not game theory. Game theory is more organized. It is a set of mathematical models and logic to come to conclusions and consequences. The prisoners dilemma is a famous example. However game theory plays a huge role in how people make choices. Game theory assumes that people are rational, but peoples deviation from rational thinking helps give insight. It is almost as if gamification is game theory with the assumption that people like to do their own thing. o There are three things that gamification does: The first is that gamification is about listening and learning from games. Gamification is about learning. Learning from games and interdisciplinary studies. Gamification is about having fun. Games are more than just mathematical models. Capturing that fun is what gamification tries to do. o There are four components that make of gamification: Game vs. play Whole vs. partial The course will explain this better but just remember: Whole gamesserious games Partial gamesGAMIFICATION Whole playtoys Partial playplayful thinking o Play is a term that NEEDS to be given much credit and awareness. Keep that in mind for later segments of this course. What is a game?

o For behavioral change, the speeding ticket lottery was amazing. Each time a car drove the speed limit, they were entered into a lottery to win a prize. This helped people slow down in total. Amazing results! o Gamification is all about exploring what motivates people! o While gamification cant be used for everything, it sure can be used for a lot of different challenges that occur in life. With each challenge that can be solved through gamification, it makes it that much more important that we make gamification unique.

6 o Wittgenstein said that games are impossible to define because of the flaws of the English language. o However, Bernard Suits is a Canadian philosopher who said that games can be defined by three things: Pre-lusory goalthis is the goal that is set before the game starts. It is understand on a global level. Lusory comes from ludus, which means games. Constituent rulesthese are the rules that are used in the game. The user needs to abide and respect these rules. These are the rules that make the activity a game. Lusory attitudethis is similar to the users respect of the rules, but this is saying that the user uses only the rules given to him to achieve the game properly. o Huizingas Magic Circle is an extension of Suits explanation of what a game is. The Magic Circle helps separate the real world from the game world. The circle represents the rules that affix the game world. However, inside the Magic Circle is where the user is fully immersed into the experience. This explains playing. This freedom given subjected to some constraints is the playing that the user can do. However, the playing is bounded by the circles boundaries (ex. Rules of the game) o To extend upon Wittgensteins thought that games can be explained, think about it like this: Pretend you went to Europe for vacation. When you come back, people ask you how the trip was. However, when you are explaining the trip to your friends, you can only explain it in terms of what it was like, not what is actually was. That is because the moment in time in which you could explain how it was only happened once. Your brain is just trying to remember all the important highlights, but you could never give a 100% explanation of how the trip was. The same thing goes for games. A person cant explain what a game is because the user is having a unique experience within the magic circle. Each user gets a different experience, so it is hard to really explain. o The lusory attitude is subjective. There are people who exist that love to game the system by figuring out ways on how to cheat the game. This is a serious issue that always needs to be taken into consideration. For more information, google goldfarming o I believe that more research should be done on what it means to play. It is the freedom of giving the user the choice of what to do given certain freedom and constraints. The ability to understand play will help us understand games. Games and Play o Roger Callois was the first to term game and play together. What is it exactly?

Game is the methodical approach from start to finish using rules. Play is the expenditure of exuberant energy. More easily said, it is simply the freedom given to a user with no strings attached. There is no sake to the action except for just cause I wanted to do that o The zone of proximal development says that children use play to reach higher levels in their cognitive thinking. Play allows children to explore ideas and thoughts, and given a proper environment, can help children improve their thinking. o Games are a domain of contrived contingency that generates interpretable outcomes. o Games are a problem solving activity with a playful attitude. o Too much game, it is frustrating. Too much play, it isnt meaningful enough. The right mix is needed. Video Games o Pong was the first game that really made people say, hey, lets interact with a computer because it seems to play along with me o Many games have now come up. SocialZynga is a prime example. Farmville, Cityville, etc. are all great examples of social games. They give people the ability to spend the time to make a great experience or they can buy their way to the top. In 6 weeks, Cityville reached 100 million registered users. ShootersCall of Duty, Halo PlatformerBraid, Super Mario Bros. RPGWoW, Runescape, 2nd Life, etc. o Video game industry is worth 60-80 billion dollars a year in revenue. o Virtual goodsgames have created a new industry. More to come on this. The economy for virtual goods is 7.3 Bn dollars. o Both women and men play games almost equally. Girls play more social games while guys play more shooter type games. o Mobile games are addicting but offer less time to play it. More core games like Xbox live has 120 billion minutes of play time per month. o One of the types of games that arent really talked about is indie games. Games that come from Humble Indie Bundle or other indie developers create games that are super addicting. They create cult followings. There is something special in these types of games. What is it exactly? Research should be done here. Just a Game? o There is a huge trend between games and technology. The use of technology will help gamification be effective. o Games are also social. Competition, Altruism, and other factors show that games are a multi-user thing.

8 o The two non-digital building blocks are loyalty programs and the fact that games and real world are getting closer. Games tries to replicate real life and real life is trying to be gamified. Loyalty program market is valued at 50 Bn dollars.