The hidden dangers of “life gaming”

I recently spoke to a class at USC, and in the Q&A afterward was asked a very interesting question: “Do you think everything will be a game?” It’s a question I’ve been pondering for a while, but actually being asked by someone forced me into an answer. Before sharing why I don’t think everything will be a game, let me point out a video from DICE2010 that makes a strong case for “Life Gaming.” The 30-minute clip is well worth watching and makes a number of great points.

Foursquare motivated people to check in at their locations by making it into a game, while the founder’s game-less predecessor (Dodgeball) failed. “FarmVille” is the fastest growing media property to 50 million users, reaching that benchmark four and a half months since it’s release. Virtual goods ( buying “nothing”) was a billion dollar industry in 2009. Despite these points and the ones brought up in the video, there’s a serious danger to the prospect of life as a game.

The issue at hand is one of motivation. Gamers don’t wake up with a strong desire to tap a button several hundred times — it’s the framework around those button-presses that gets people engaged. The problem with “life as a game” is that we are motivated to do many things in life simply for their own sake. Making a game out of those actions endangers our very willingness to do them.  Read full article on Mediapost.

USC students take tour of IPG Lab

USC APOC students at the IPG Emerging Media LabThe IPG Emerging Media Lab recently hosted a group of masters degree students from the USC Annenberg Program on Online Communities. The new program grooms leaders of social networks and virtual worlds. Lab staff led a brief tour and discussion on how emerging platforms such as social media are expanding (and complicating) opportunities for marketers to reach their target audience.

We’ll be announcing more details about our relationship with USC shortly, but see what a couple of the students had to say about the Lab on their respective blogs:

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