When game theorists become scary

Games, especially video games and online games, are incredibly fascinating. They can be beautiful, intriguing, social, but in order to become a success, they need to be engaging.

There is a kind of gold rush to games by marketing specialists, human resources experts, experimental economists, psychologists, neurologists, educators, and they all want to find what makes individual and groups tick. Games are being played by hundreds of millions, and staggering amounts of data are being collected about human behavior.

Experts point out how interesting and useful it would be to apply core gaming principles to make people more engaged. They give noble examples such as environmental awareness campaigns. But of course, it’s also a matter of making people addicted to your product or service.

Gaming experts can be so convincing they become scary. Are they really unlocking ways which almost inevitably make people engage? Is this a good thing, or is it a sophisticated way of manipulating people so that they spend time and effort for projects the game masters deem important?

In a TED video released today, game theorist Tom Chatfield explains how games engage the brain. He is the author of the new book Fun, Inc about the gaming industry and how it is altering our society.

Hat tip to Chris Clark on NspireD² for posting about this video.

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2 Responses to When game theorists become scary

  1. ian newt says:

    It’s easy to be myopic, I think it’s very natural, and it’s been happening since homo sapiens first appeared. It’s also very natural, when we discover something that we think is REALLY GREAT, to want to show it to everyone we know, so that they can experience the joy and wonder.

    But, probably because of the tremendous diversity of human beings, it’s not bloody likely that everyone is going to enjoy and appreciate everything that everyone else does. Even Twitter.

    Do you enjoy eating snails? Ants? Eels? Snakes? Tarantulas? Lots and lots of people do, and they would love to expound the virtues of these culinary delights, if any of us were inclined to listen.

    Oh yeah, and I have a question for y’all…. what’s the difference between digerati and technorati?

    P.S. It’s a trick question, or rather, one asked with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

  2. Benny says:

    who ARE these people?…lol
    its like they never heard of advertising junk food or cigarettes or las vegas or how lotto has been funding states in the us for 25 years….;)

    scary yes…. grad students and C level writers as “genius”… TED is really laughable today.

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