Game World Transformation



High technologies have given us not only smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, YouTube and tunnel syndrome. They are gradually changing our way of life, providing access to all kinds of knowledge and current utilitarian information almost on the go. We can allow ourselves not to remember many things whose knowledge was previously considered, if not mandatory, then at least befitting every normal person. Why remember when the search engines crammed full of answers to all questions are at our service. What is the mere spread of cell phones, which dramatically changed our ideas about communication as such. However, for the same reason, cell phones have become infernal devices, because of which we have to keep in touch all the time ...

With the development of computers and gadgets, the quantity and quality of entertainment that they provide to us is growing. Of course, one of the most popular types of entertainment are all kinds of games. The very first computer games appeared in the 50s of the 20th century, shortly after the invention of computers as such. What to do, it’s human nature to play. This is one of the main ways to obtain social skills and knowledge of the world, which we use in childhood. And the love of games, most people carry through the years, often hiding under all kinds of masks of "adult" lives. Angry Birds, solitaire, Farm, Contra, Sims, Ruler, Wow - I am sure that each of us will find at least some of the above familiar, if not very close. And how many already forgotten old games excited our minds and occupied our time and thoughts in childhood?



The modern generation of 30-year-olds in their early years was still quite active in playing traditional “analog” games, but with the proliferation of computers and game consoles, they were actively involved in electronic games. What can we say about the 20-year-old generation, whose childhood was in the late nineties and early zeros, when the availability, range and quality of games grew immeasurably. And we still play, despite having our own children, being busy at work, and the fact that, it seems, adults and well-to-do people get involved in “toys” not at all by status.

Many of us unconsciously perceive games not as useless pastimes, but as a certain integral part of our lives. We play, and are not going to refuse it. And no matter what the proponents of a “serious attitude to life” claim, games can really be effectively used not only as a means of entertainment, relieving stress and killing time, but also as a tool that improves the efficiency and quality of various types of “serious” activities. It is estimated that we spend 3 billion man / hours per week on computer and video games . As the saying goes, "your energy and for good needs."



Anyone who owns the minds of 20-30 year olds owns the country. And such a layer of people, in any state who are the bulk of workers, employees, specialists, has a significant impact on all kinds of processes taking place in society. Therefore, it is not surprising that, on the whole, a different attitude of these people towards games began to influence such fundamental and serious areas of human activity as business, education, and even the army.

The process of implementing the principles of the game in the children's education, students and soldiers, in marketing and advertising, in that employees of their duties, is called " gamification " (or " gamification "). The essence of gamification is that people are involved in solving various problems in a playful way: setting goals, encouraging achievements, visualizing processes use the principles, mechanics and dynamics of games. And today we would like to talk a little about the trends of gamification and new areas where Her Majesty the Game penetrates.

Education


Perhaps this area is not only the most loyal to gamification, but, perhaps, even partially needs it. Moreover, education can be considered a pioneer of gamification; teachers began to use games as a means of training a long time ago, although almost exclusively with primary school children. The fact is that with the traditional method of training, in which the assessment of achievements is based on a point system, students do not seek knowledge and self-improvement. They are not motivated by this. The vast majority strives only not to be punished, that is, not to get bad or too bad grades. In other words, the average student comprehends science only at the level at which the grades presented do not create problems with parents and teachers. In the case of giving the learning process a form of the game, a number of goals are achieved:

  • No boredom . The process itself is more interesting and exciting compared to a dull sitting in a classroom and silent listening to teachers. The game helps to get rid of one of the main negative factors - the dullness of the learning process.
  • No fear . Game mechanisms usually do not imply punishment in case of failure (analogue of a poor rating). This helps to get rid of the fear of doing something wrong when trying to solve a task.
  • Motivation for self-improvement . The student is not afraid to try different solutions, because they are not punished for failures, they just do not reward: for example, prize points or any in-game items are not given. As a result of the lack of fear of punishment and, as a consequence, the fear of experimenting, the student is motivated to learn the necessary skills as soon as possible or to study the theoretical material needed to solve the problem. However, in order to use the self-improvement mechanism, it is necessary to build the process in such a way that the student can learn from his own mistakes.
  • Visibility of progress . Usually in games we can at any time find out how much we need to gain “experience” or resources to reach the next level, unlock some skill, weapon, and so on. People are structured in such a way that it is important to see the goal of our efforts. This psychologically significantly facilitates the process of achieving our goals. Therefore, a clear indication of the current position on the path to completing the tasks laid down in the educational game allows you to maintain the motivation of the “player”.

As an example of modern educational games, one can cite Persuasive Games products . But the “ordinary” single player games, in addition to the above factors, do not use the following social mechanisms of motivation:

  • Competitive spirit . The desire to be better than others is embedded in each person to one degree or another. However, in order for the competitive mechanism to work, it is necessary from the very beginning to place all students in the same conditions. For example, each quarter or semester begins with the fact that all points and achievements scored by students are reset. That is, each new stage in training should begin with a “zero” mark.
  • Collaboration . The process can be built in such a way that to solve some of the assigned tasks, students need to combine efforts. This does not mean, for example, that everyone should learn different paragraphs. Collaboration . еобходимо лишь внутри игры, скажем, объединение ресурсов, полученных каждым учеником за выполнение индивидуальных заданий.

A striking example of a gaming system in which all the above mechanisms are involved are the widespread MMORPGs. Traditionally, in them unsuccessful or inept actions of the player lead only to return to one of the points of revival. On the contrary, success brings all kinds of "nishtyaki" in the form of various resources and items that expand the capabilities of the game character, "living" in a different world, so very different from our reality. All kinds of leaderboards clearly demonstrate the successes of others and encourage "catch up and overtake America ."

The development of the Internet and the computerization of society have given a new impetus to the development of distance education. Today there are more and more projects that use game elements to one degree or another. For example, Codeacademy and Code School projects from the main page in a friendly game form invite the visitor to get involved in programming. Company SpongeLab created a number of browser-based games, in which anyone gets the basic knowledge of human anatomy, botany, genetics, and other fields of biology. The FoldIt project sets the player scientific tasks in the form of peculiar puzzles that need to be assembled.

The Khan Academy project demonstrates another approach : the game principle is not laid in the learning process itself, but in the reward system, ratings and statistics. That is, the presentation of the material and the logic of building the site demonstrate a laid-back, non-academic approach to learning. So far, the site has only a section devoted to mathematics, but the creators promise to pay attention to other sciences.

Business


One of the main areas of application of gamification in the business sphere is the formation and preservation of motivation among employees, their involvement in work. According to American studies , over 70% of workers are not emotionally connected with their job responsibilities. Moreover, about a third of people from this number experience clearly negative emotions from their work. Obviously, such detachment significantly reduces labor productivity and, often, is one of the main causes of prolonged background stress. And this, in turn, is fraught with health problems in various aspects of personal life.



Today, businesses are trying to use gamification in various fields. For example, attracting staff through games posted on social networks or on the websites of the companies themselves , gamification of the training program and career development within the company. However, the most important area of ​​application of gamification in business is employee motivation. The first and easiest level is to create a system of rewards in the form of various awards: badges, stickers, a rolling Red Banner for all sorts of achievements: more calls to customers, faster documents prepared, fewer errors in the code, and the like. However, such a system alone cannot motivate if the awards are not supported by material incentives: cash bonuses, gifts, sugar, tasty free food, time off and other things pleasant for employees. After all, we must not forget that people come to work primarily for money, not games.

Further introduction of gamification into the business could be the company's internal social network , which widely uses gaming principles . Such a network can not be developed from scratch, but created on the basis of finished platform .

An even deeper level of gamification is the creation of a computer game in which various business processes and the organization of the company are modeled. In fact, we are talking about role-playing multiplayer game. All the mechanics, the registration system of achievements, motivation and development of “characters” in this game are dedicated to this particular company and are inextricably linked with the performance of their official duties by employees. A kind of manufacturing Sims. Such developments allow in an easy and easy way:

  • Visualize all kinds of business relationships within the company, giving a certain overall picture of the organization’s organization,
  • Visually show each employee the range of his responsibilities, current tasks and the degree of their implementation,
  • To illustrate such a hackneyed stamp as “team”,
  • Stimulate the activity of employees in achieving the goals set in the game,
  • Develop and strengthen horizontal connections within the company.



One of the ways to increase staff loyalty is to introduce gamified employee health care programs that encourage sports, good nutrition, and a generally healthy lifestyle.

Companies that have implemented gaming solutions note an increase in staff loyalty, lower staff turnover, easier and faster training for new employees, and an improvement in the psychological climate within the team.

At the same time, it was noted that the age of employees is important: for those over forty, the gamification of work processes causes mainly irritation and rejection. Therefore, when deciding on the implementation of business gamification, it is always necessary to leave employees the choice so that those who wish can work in the traditional mode. On the contrary, 20-30-year-old employees accustomed to gaming principles are much more favorable to such experiments. Moreover, the younger, the greater the importance of the following motivators:

  • Positive feedback on actions in the game
  • Public acceptance
  • Group Status
  • Competition with colleagues
  • The general interest of the "plot"

Advertising and marketing


Today, the most common types of gamification to attract and retain an audience include:

  • the creation of small games in which the main object is specific goods and services, or promotional games created by order of a company. This phenomenon is called advergaming . Not all experts will agree that adverging can be attributed to gamification, because in this case, however, the game is the final product, and is not part of some non-game process.
  • distribution of all kinds of bonuses, badges, ranks and privileges as a reward for activity in the use of advertised and promoted goods and services. One of the clearest examples is Foursquare . The idea of ​​the program of the same name for mobile phones and tablets is that users note where they are at the moment (country, city, bar, restaurant, office, park and so on), and this information is communicated to their friends. However, the main attraction of the service is a large number of various badges and titles. Thus, the authors encourage users not to forget about their program and use it more often, getting new badges and points. In addition, Foursquare works with various companies that provide additional bonuses and discounts to users of this service.



Another well-known example of gamification can be called the business model of the company Mnogo.ru : when purchasing goods and services from companies participating in this program, customers receive bonuses, which they can later exchange for various gifts.

By the way, since you are reading this text, it means that you are familiar with a certain system in the form of karma and rating , designed to motivate users to create interesting content and which is a tool for community self-regulation.

An original example of the use of game mechanics is the action to control the speed of cars launched by Volkswagen. Information about the speed of movement was taken from surveillance cameras, but instead of being punished by a fine, the system selected those who best complied with the speed limit to participate in the cash lottery. This approach turned out to be much more effective than the usual punitive method, and as a result, the average speed of cars within 3 days decreased by 20%.

One cannot but mention such a promotion tool as creating and maintaining a community of active fans of products under a certain brand name. A good example is the activity of ASUS in promoting products under the Republic of Gamers brand . Sponsoring gaming competitions and festivals , the release of devices and components under this brand, which take into account the wishes of gamers, cooperation with professional players and overclocker enthusiasts - all this allowed the formation of a community of supporters of Republic of Gamers products.

In general, it must be said that, in connection with the further development of technologies, experts predict an explosive increase in the intensity and breadth of the use of gaming technologies in advertising.

Army


In military affairs, gamification is not used to make life easier for soldiers and to create a greater attractiveness for serving. No, tough guys in uniform use gamification for purely practical purposes: increasing the efficiency of training soldiers while reducing material and time costs. First of all, we are talking about those tasks and skills, the mastery of which IRL is associated with high costs for fuel, ammunition, amortization, etc.:

  • Primary training for drivers and pilots
  • Training officers and men of warfare at the tactical and operational levels

In addition, armies and special services use games to teach all sorts of specific skills, for example, conducting interrogations and detecting fraud. Other games help train specialists in very "expensive" areas, for example, the construction of sea and space ships.

Another point of view




Despite the fact that the elements of gamification are already met at every step, far from always such decisions have a positive effect. Many believe that the distribution of badges and points is in no way insufficient to earn game motivation. For example, game designer and consultant Margaret Robertson expresses this point of view :
«То, что мы называем геймификацией, по факту является процессом получения вещей, которые не являются сутью игр, и выдаём это за эквивалент опыта. Баллы и значки столь же близки к играм, как и к вебсайтам, программам для фитнеса скидочным картам. Это отличный инструмент для взаимосвязи и подтверждения усилий пользователя, сами по себе ни балл, ни значки не создают игру. Геймификация — это неправильное слово для правильной идеи. Правильным термином будет баллофицирование [англ. pointsification]. Есть вещи, которые нужно геймифицировать. Есть вещи, который нужно баллофицировать. Есть вещи, который нуждаются и в том, и в другом. И есть много-много вещей, которые совсем не нужно трогать.»

One of the main mistakes in gamification, many consider the point of view on which users play for the sake of badges and points. However, in reality, people play games that entertain us. Points are just a way of scoring, they are just a minor addition to the game. Elizabeth Corcoran, who worked as a journalist and editor for Forbes, Scientific American, and The Washington Post, writes of gamification as follows:
«Геймификация не основывается на внутренней мотивации. Напротив, она использует старый как мир трюк: даёт немедленную обратную связь, подстёгивает чувство состязания и награждает даже за малейший прогресс. Геймификация предполагает, что пользователь слабо мотивирован, по крайне мере в начале, и использует различные стимулы для повышения мотивации.»

In addition to various views on the ownership and effectiveness of the award system, there is a point of view according to which gamification is more harmful than good. For example, Dan Pink, in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us , points to research findings that if a problem requires even minimal mental ability to solve it, the incentive to solve the problem begins to decline. Therefore, the introduction of game elements can, on the contrary, degrade user productivity. Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World ”, Says that after the introduction of companies of all kinds of boards of honor to the lists of leaders as a competitive incentive, the interest of employees is lost very quickly, especially those who understand that they have no chance of getting into these lists.