Welcome to the MMA of Gamification: The Octagon
I’m sick of the term ‘Gamification’. As Gabe Zichermann succinctly expounded in his insightful piece the term just hitched the Zeitgeist at and raced the memetic highway into everyday lexicon. While the term may be terrible the movement is not.
Gamified (a FAR better term) systems for the development and improvement of people work. It’s that simple. IamProgrez and countless other companies wouldn’t be thriving if they didn’t. The proof is in the pudding and boy has this company baked some tasty treats.
The problem however is the sheer amount of detritus, bullshit and misunderstanding that’s cloaking the real work being done out there. Of course it doesn’t help when the term defining the movement is nonsense. Or the sheer overload of the so called ‘Badges and Fairy Dust’ Experts filling the Noosphere with their blather.
The situation right now is schizophrenic. When you have analysts defining the Gamification Market as either worth billions one week or writing it off the next as vaporware clearly something needs to be done.
Of course I’m no expert on Gamification and sure as hell don’t pretend to be. I’m not a Game Designer or an Engineer. I’m just a guy who’s been involved in the Games Industry for a number of years. I’m an ardent Gamer whose also an Industry Analyst and Content Editor (and the occasional contributor for Indie Games in the content department).
The reason I’m sticking my neck out on this is because I’m finally in a position to actually do something about it. I got involved with IamProgrez because what they are actually build works. I’ve talked to the kids they’ve helped, played their games and spend a lot of time debating the movement as a whole with the team. Linda Frietman (much to my bloody surprise) made me a Believer.
I’ve seen what true Gamification looks like and to be honest it’s more MMA than MBA. UFC fighters go from boxing and Muay Thai to grappling and chain fighting – often in the space of a single match. The more styles in a combatants toolbox the better their chances of winning. I’m not saying Gamification is cage fighting. The analogy here is that Gamified Systems work best when the approach is more like a Symphony and less like a Solo performance.
If you’re wondering what my point is it’s this: Gamification as a whole has been characterized by certain isolated components than the multitude of parts that render it far greater that’s it’s currently perceived to be. More importantly some of those ‘defining’ parts aren’t what they’re become hyped up to be and need a swift kick off their glorified perch.
There needs to be a space where what has come to define Gamification, rightly or wrongly, proves itself. A metaphorical Octagon where the only choice is to ‘walk out’ or ‘tap out’. A place to single out what’s truly important in the Symphony that is modern Gamification.
Over the coming weeks and months myself and selected guests will be dragging the very definitions and concepts of Gamification into the Octagon and seeing just what exactly they are made of.
I want to stress this isn’t not about creating a space for a weekly rant about what bother us about Gamification at any given time. It’s not a ring for Experts to battle it out or popular systems to be reviewed. It’s about a quest for clarity in a movement that has so much potential but has become marred and scarred by the sheer inanity of what supposedly defines it.
Welcome to the Octagon.
Keen to drag a point into the ring? Got a concept to expound or a misconception to destroy? Hit me up.