SCVNGR Keynote SXSW 2011
SCVNGR "Chief Ninja" Seth Priebatsch speaks at SXSW Interactive about "Changing the Game" to global problems.
- Today's kids are unmotivated in school, people cheat on their taxes every year, and global warming has become a monster. Most people have no idea how to solve the world's problems.
- While Priebatsch said he can't fix global warming with a game, as he promoted before the event, he said applying gaming dynamics to real problems are powerful because they provide tools to make seemingly impossible solutions possible.
- Priebatsch used the example that schools are a perfect place to implement gaming mechanics, where the current reward system of grades is failing. He said schools already implement many of the dynamics of a good game: time limits, rewards, challenges, etc. But, he said the system in place today sets students up for failure, leaving them unmotivated and disinterested.
- Instead, he suggested schools focus on progression, i.e. moving upward in rank, or "leveling-up," like the incentives offered in most video games. This unlocks higher rewards and increases loyalty.
- Some companies are already doing this well. Groupon, for example, turns coupons and promotions into a challenge for "free" lunch, invoking the action of an entire community to solve a problem.
- However, Priebatsch did acknowledge inherent problems with gaming mechanics. For example, he said some of the rules with location-based games and apps could be too strict. Also, reward systems are so prevalent now that the companies are heightening user expectation and run the risk of losing consistent activity.
- While Priebatsch might not have all the answers when it comes to solving global problems, he understands that current solutions just aren't working, and there's a dire need to bend some rules and "change the game".
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