Gamification the symbolism of gaming on steroids has transcended the years and normality range of Sega Genesis, Atari, the Wii’s, Xbox and now PlayStation. Just when we thought we had arrived, here comes yet another level in the technology (business) corridor that thrusts the average individual into the social gaming craze. Gamification is the act of gaining points, badges and levels upon successful completion of real life challenges. With a goal to make the gaming experience a personal one, it seems the industry has accomplished its mission. Once an ideal competition between two or four close encountered individuals, the gamification plateau has opened us up to bigger and better challenges within a self-manipulated virtual world.
As Gamification affects the individual, it too affects the family. For generations the family as a vital institution within society provided not only early stage nourishment but was the ultimate source of socialization. Today, that is not so as the gaming industry has grown bigger and more advanced. As a matter of fact, it no longer accentuates family time but has evolved to take the place of what once was quality time. In many ways it has become a babysitter for the all too busy parent, and the crutch for a fast paced society that (in my opinion) no longer promotes outdoor play for children. If we teach the family to exist within the virtual world, to spend more and more time in that virtual reality it makes it harder and harder (especially on our children’s impressionable minds) to distinguish what is real and what is not. What is the future of the family nucleus and can we win back the quality time we once knew?
Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc. predicted that by 2014, “an estimated 70 percent of the top 2,000 public companies in the world will have at least one gamified application. This strategy which has already began amongst such industry giants as Verizon and Samsung. The goal is to focus on creating such a highly personal experience for the customer while too building a community. The customers seem not to realize that they have not only given over their loyalty but have evolved into brand specific groupies. Not that this isn’t good for the businesses or for the entrepreneur who learn to use such tactics. It is evident those who provide excellent customer service with a little over the top adage are the ones who thrive in the business.
While gamification is trending less as a leisurely activity and more as the norm, it should not become the way of life. The way of life is reality, not what is built simply around our virtual imaginations, and deceitful optimism. Why? Because it is simply not real, we do not live in a game as some would suggest. We exist in a real world where real life happens and real decisions have to be made. Life is the existence of what we experience and how we handle that experience. To many simply put REAL Life happens.