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SCVNGR Keynote SXSW 2011

SCVNGR "Chief Ninja" Seth Priebatsch speaks at SXSW Interactive about "Changing the Game" to global problems.


  1. Keynote Seth Priebatsch. Simulcast vanuit zaal 18 #sxsw #sxswnl
    Keynote Seth Priebatsch. Simulcast vanuit zaal 18 #sxsw #sxswnl
  2. 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.
  3. But at his SXSW Interactive keynote on Saturday afternoon, 21-year-old SCVNGR "Chief Ninja" Seth Priebatsch unveiled his uncanny, yet very tangible solution to a lot of them: turn them into a game. 

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. 
  8. 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.
  9. 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".
  10. The last decade was the decade of social. The coming one will be the decade of games.
  11. The last decade was the decade of social. The coming one will be the decade of games.