On “The Game-ified Life”

Kevin Kelly is one of those old-time Internet institutions. He’s the founding executive editor of Wired magazine and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog. His Cool Tools blog is one I follow regularly through the RSS feed. I was recently referred, however, to his Technium blog and the post “The Game-ified Life”.

In this post, Kelly reviews and recommends a talk on the future of games by game designer Jesse Schell. In Kelly’s words, Schell:

offers a vision where ordinary life is gameified. Cheap tracking technology turns whatever you do into a “game” that accumulates points. As the gameification of life becomes ubiquitous, you go through your day racking up points and “getting to the next level.” Instead of getting grades in school you graduate to the next level. It’s a head spinning scenario, with lots to love and hate, but well worth considering.

On second viewing I realized that Schell had also outlined a version of an attention economy — where points are distributed for paying attention — to ads, or other activities, or other people. Some aspect
of his vision seems pretty inevitable.

There’s a lot to think about in here for the public sector. This trend, if true, could affect how we deliver services, how we communicate, and we incent public action towards policy goals – even how we engage employees.

What do you think?

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply


A couple weeks back was a cool post re: Foursquare for Gov’t. Talking somewhat about gaming and public sector.

Personally I think it all revolves around engagement – it’s a difficult idea to crack and gaming is essential to drawing attention.

To me it’s kind of an evolution for example how gov’t agencies followed companies into email newsletters/marketing for engagement. Same will be true online and in social medai.