Gamification seems like a dirty word in the games industry. With the likes of Ian Bogost being incredibly vocal about their dislike of it as a concept. I understand this and I respect the thought out opinions that people like him have. However, below is my plea to others in the games industry – especially games designers. Stop hating and start helping.
With Eurogamer already fading into the deepest recesses of my mind, there is one thing that has stood out. Just how much the games industry dislikes gamification.
The general feeling was that everyone doing gamification is getting it wrong. They do not understand games and therefore think that it is fine to just add the most shallow and un-engaging elements of games to a task and say it is gamified.
They didn’t like that we as gamifiers were watering down the depth of real games. Having just watched the first video of section 11 of the great Coursera.org gamification course, Kevin Werbach talks about this exact issue.
My return to them and to everyone I know in the games industry is this. If everyone in gamification is getting it wrong, show us how to do it right. I come at gamification from a games lovers perspective. I look at it as a hugely important way forward for the world of engagement and behavioural changes. Who better to do this than games designers themselves. I have said in a few of my blogs, that you have to look at gamification through the lens of a games designer. Why not get real games designers involved. I would love to see large companies teaming up with the industry, from the big names like THQ or EA to the less well know dev houses like Appynation or Bossa Studios.
I am not saying that we want them developing full-blown games, but they could give such huge insights into engagement, game mechanics, metrics and more.
I would love to think that I could help to bridge this gap between the two worlds, but I am realistic. It will take larger voices than mine to bring them together. If you are reading this and you are in the games industry, please do not look at what “some” larger players in the gamification world are doing and tar all of gamification with that brush. Speak with people like me, people who may well be idealistic, but truly want to blend the two worlds together.
The reason I got involved in gamification was because of my love of games. I saw the huge potential for good – be it improving how education is delivered, to improving the processes within companies. I think the next step has to be to get the games industry involved in some way. Think about it and please get in touch.