These 9 people died playing video games. OK, hang on, I’m trying to make a point.
Think of the last time you were completely addicted to a game—like you didn’t eat. Was there a game that had this effect on you? Or perhaps you know a friend who has had this experience. Was it Candy Crush? Angry Birds? Call of Duty? Final Fantasy? Street Fighter II? WoW? The list is endless. Think of how you just could not walk away after having finished a round, or after having reached a save point, or even when you had some appointment to catch. Hours upon hours would slip by effortlessly as you were trying to ‘save the princess’ or advance to the next level. Gaming is work, but it isn’t because you’re having fun.
Addiction is bad, there’s no arguing with that, but what if this kind of zeal was leveraged to solve real life problems? We’d ask, could all that virtual gun slinging or bubble bobbling somehow be used towards improving work life and productivity quotas? This is the big-itch question that businesses have been taking a more serious look at in recent years.
The process is called ‘gamification,’ a means by which skillsets usually employed for gaming is leveraged to solve everyday problems. For instance, for decades scientists have been trying to figure out of how the AIDS virus multiplied and spread. To understand the enzymes mechanisms would shed light on how better to fight it. So they made Foldit, an online ‘folding protein’ game, and in three weeks after thousands of players worldwide had a go at it the virus’ multiplication ‘algorithm’ was solved. It should be noted that these players had little to no background in biochemistry either.
Gamification can be applied to serve individuals’ personal goals or more team-based objectives. People like Brian Burke, a research Vice President at Gartner would assert that this trend is definitely worth close attention. Where Weight Watchers’ traditional strategy engages 1 million members with a staff of 56,000, gamification via the MyFitnessPal app “uses a digital engagement model to help people lose weight and exercise, and it supports 50 million users with approximately 75 employees.” You can see how this realization has become the latest hype in business management models as of recent.
The corporate question that principally guides the examination is: how does an organization engage their employees and keep them motivated to work hard and at the same time to keep them with the company? As competitive as the job-search gets, the millennial mentality urges that a better offer is just around the corner—“I don’t need to put up with this [job].”
Yet we are already seeing the first wave of skeptics peeking their heads up to question whether this trend is really worth close attention and monetary investment at this early stage when many businesses still haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.
I personally have much hope in the gamification trend offering a better organizational model for generations to come beginning especially with millennials. For gamification architects I would study well the types of games that people are addicted to. The average Candy Crush Saga player will be motivated in a different way than the way in which a Final Fantasy RPGer would find herself returning for another quest.
Burke, B. (2014, April 10). How gamification motivates the masses. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/gartnergroup/2014/04/10/how-gamification-motivates-the-masses/.
Clancy, H. (2014, June 6). Looks like that whole ‘gamification’ thing is over. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2014/06/06/looks-like-that-whole-gamification-thing-is-over/.
Knowledge @Wharton. (2014, February 11). Gamification: powering up or game over? Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/knowledgewharton/2014/02/24/62014/.
Spragg, A. (2011, August 4). 9 people who died playing video games. Ranker. Retrieved from http://www.ranker.com/list/8-people-who-died-playing-video-games/autumn-spragg.
Wikipedia. (2014, July 15, last modified). Gamification. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification.