Live from SXSW!

I am listening to Seth Priebatsch who is working on SCVNGR.COM.  The social layer world is built on today is Facebook, the next layer or era is the gaming layer.

I believe very strongly in Gaming!!!  I help start the gaming initiative at IBM with Innov8 which has lit a fire under social gaming at IBM.  We now have a practice around gaming, a game for Smarter Planet, and more.   Phaedra was the brillant hire I made that has knocked a homerun!   And think about Watson — the ultimate gaming machine!

Interesting points from Seth’s presentation:

  1. School is a game. Just a really poorly designed game.  Example:  Grades.  Not based on progression but to accentuate failure.  Cheating as part of gameplay is rampant.   Princeton changed the rules.  Instead of having professors look for cheating, they changed the rules and set up an Honor Code that is self enforcing.  Bottom Line   Learning at   schools could be improved with gaming techniques to make it more engaging. 
  2. Client Acquisition Strategy:    Leveraging gaming concepts to acquire clients is the next frontier.   Example used was Groupon with their free lunch offer.  The “free lunch” is a “game”.   Since most people don’t buy that there is a free lunch, they expect a “catch”.  The justification here is “a group has to sign up” so the skeptism is removed.  It attracts new clients through trust.   Groupon also uses communal gameplay.   Groupon leverages a countdown clock and according to research having a group with a timeframe and clear rules is a great gaming tactic. 
  3. Location Based Services are not mainstream yet.  And won’t be until the rules of the game are changed.    With the amount of money, the constraint is that you have to be at the location.  So SCVNGR.COM is looking to change the rules to loosely coupled location.  For example, heading to a place, or online at a place.    The other interesting factoid was that when a reward is given like GAP did with checkin and get free jeans, when the reward was removed, the checkins declined. So the effect of checkins was not sustainable.

Overall gaming techniques to use to change your game were:

  • Leverage gaming techniques to enhance your client acquisition strategy  ex countdown techniques
  • Define your rules; and relook at the way your game rules are used. If too hard, then change them.
  • Be careful with rewards — progression looks like best method.  Progression is like good, better best, and no one loses. Example:  American Express does with the green card, up to the desired black card.