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Schell: Many People Looking At Gamification In 'Foolish Way'

Schell: Many People Looking At Gamification In 'Foolish Way'

December 3, 2010 | By Staff

December 3, 2010 | By Staff
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Schell Games (Pixie Hollow) head and Carnegie Mellon University professor Jesse Schell received widespread industry attention with his speech on the gamification of reality at this year's DICE Summit, discussing the future of interactive entertainment and other aspects of reality can adopt elements of games.

Now, in a new interview with Gamasutra, Schell discusses the unexpected reaction to his DICE Summit talk, and explains why looking to games can make other aspects of life more appealing, but warns against faddish presumption that all 'gamification' approaches can work.

When discussing how games can enhance other products or services, Schell explains: "I think where the real win is when people start to analyze what is it about games that people like, and then to take those elements and weed those into what the experiences they're making in a natural way."

"It may be that you've taken some thread that works out of games and woven it into your thing. Your thing has not become a game, maybe, but maybe you've given it an enhanced sense of progress," he continues.

But the movement may be getting a little ahead of itself if people presume universally positive results, Schell warns: "There are a lot of people looking at it in a foolish way. Anyone who thinks you can just treat people like little B.F. Skinner characters will be disappointed when they try and make it work, because mostly it doesn't work."

"What this all points to is how poorly we understand the nature to intrinsic motivation. It's like FarmVille succeeded and no one expected it because we're not good at understanding what intrinsically motivates people, you know what I mean?"

Schell concludes: "A lot of people are acting like "Oh, it's easy. I've just got to put points and badges on things!" -- like it's gonna work. That's totally not the case, right? I mean, there are plenty of games out there that people hate... Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is people are assuming this whole broad area, it's like 'Oh, this is all win over here,' and really there's a couple narrow paths of win in some areas, and a lot of people are not finding them."

The full interview, which goes into greater depth on Schell's thoughts on the evolution of core games, MMOs, and where the industry is headed, is now live on Gamasutra.


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