The hidden dangers of “life gaming”

I recently spoke to a class at USC, and in the Q&A afterward was asked a very interesting question: “Do you think everything will be a game?” It’s a question I’ve been pondering for a while, but actually being asked by someone forced me into an answer. Before sharing why I don’t think everything will be a game, let me point out a video from DICE2010 that makes a strong case for “Life Gaming.” The 30-minute clip is well worth watching and makes a number of great points.

Foursquare motivated people to check in at their locations by making it into a game, while the founder’s game-less predecessor (Dodgeball) failed. “FarmVille” is the fastest growing media property to 50 million users, reaching that benchmark four and a half months since it’s release. Virtual goods ( buying “nothing”) was a billion dollar industry in 2009. Despite these points and the ones brought up in the video, there’s a serious danger to the prospect of life as a game.

The issue at hand is one of motivation. Gamers don’t wake up with a strong desire to tap a button several hundred times — it’s the framework around those button-presses that gets people engaged. The problem with “life as a game” is that we are motivated to do many things in life simply for their own sake. Making a game out of those actions endangers our very willingness to do them.  Read full article on Mediapost.