Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Have you ever played "buzz word bingo"?

The basic premise is to keep a tally of ridiculous buzz words used in meetings, like "synergy" or "strategic", and laugh quietly to yourself. It makes the meetings go faster, trust me.

Sometimes though, the jokes on you. Someone uses a word that everyone else seems to know...except you. Your only defense is to smile and nod, like a moron, hoping no-one notices your ignorance. Don't worry, it happens to all of us. William Shakespeare is said to have invented up to 1700 new words, including "skim milk". Imagine how often his peers had no idea what he was talking about.

A new word that keeps popping up for me is 'Gamesification'. The first time I heard it was in a new media presentation. I immediately looked around to see if everyone else knew what the speaker was talking about. They were all nodding. This means either they knew what 'Gamesification' was, or they were trying their hardest to appear that they did.

Months later, I was reading an article, and the word came up again. Hearing it twice told me it wasn't going away.

So I looked it up.

The only definition I could find was:

"Gamesification: Turning Other Things into Games".


There was not a lot more resources on this available, but over time I have managed to piece a few things together, which I am happy to share.

So, what is 'Gamesification'?

Allegedly, it's the future. 'Real life games'.

Instead of just going to a ski resort, you have a special chip in your ski pass which tracks all of your achievements - like you are a player in a game. Successfully ski the highest peak, and you earn a "badge" that shows you have. This shows up on your online profile, which you share, compare and compete with friends and other skiing fanatics.

Or you're a holidayer at a resort in Ibiza, and a special chip in a wristband allows you to track which dance party events you went to, like a badge of honour. Using your Facebook account, you can share these experiences with friends and link photos taken by professional photographers at the events. So, attending the parties becomes a game.

Or the movie premiere, a mystery movie, where you are given clues to follow to find the theatre and engage in the story. Like a game. (Note: a long video, but very good and he mentions the 'Transmedia/Gamesification' campaign for a film)

What is 'Gamesification'? It's about making real life experiences into games.

But, why would you create a real life game?

The money makers will say it's so that people attend your nightclub, ski at your resort, or watch your movie.

But the creators are saying it is about engaging with your audience and making the experience even better. The movie-goer loves the movie because they are more immersed in the world of the story. The skier loves the ski holiday because they can compete with their friends and track their winter vacation. The Ibiza clubbers can say "I was there!" to their friends and share stories.

And they buy things too, so everybody wins.

The consumer of the future is focussed on the "experience", not just buying things. Play to that, and people will show up in droves, like they did for the "3D Experience" of Avatar ($3Billion sales and counting).

That is why 'Gamesification' is not going away.

Making games of real life. Like 'buzz word bingo'.

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