A Quick Reality Check

Seth Priebatsch’s keynote yesterday was smart, entertaining and made me think about the possibilities of location based service far beyond all those bar check-ins on Gowalla. He also made me consider the broader benefits of “gamification” and how game behavior could improve the school system and social behavior. But one thing that struck me amidst all my idealism and “let’s make everything a game!” mentality was the chart he showed that looked a little like this:Picture3I’d imagine every agency comes up with an idea (or 10) a day around location based services. It’s certainly the shiny new toy, at least until this SXSW tells us about the next shiny new toy. But this chart reminded me that, while there’s undoubtedly something to be said for being “cutting edge” and reaching the influencers, sometimes we get too lost in shiny new toys and forget that the people who are actually buying the goods and services we sell don’t yet know, or care, about these things.

This is not to say we shouldn’t keep trying things. We have to keep thinking about how to use these tools and make customer experiences better and more interesting. But we also shouldn’t be surprised when those experiences don’t get traction right away.

As for purpose, I fully expected to come out of the panel (and a couple of other great gaming talks I’ve attended-Jane McGonigal didn’t disappoint) believing that the purpose of all this “gamification” was to entertain or connect people. However, I’m more and more convinced that gaming and looking at things through the lens of game design might just make everything better. Why hello, better world.

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