As a proud member of Gen X I have fond memories of my Atari 2600.If you are reading this chances are you had an Atari, Nintendo 64 or Sega Genesis and chances are even greater you have an Xbox, Wii or Sony Play Station in your home right now. In fact to carry this even further, you are also likely to have an iPod or iPhone loaded with several games.
Gaming is a huge industry. But social media can thank much of it’s growth to gaming.
I’m not just talking about all the Farmville, Mafia Wars, sheep throwing, super poking and other plagues that roam Facebook.Social networks are filled with gaming components. The most obvious is Four Square with it’s points, badges and unelected mayors.
LinkedIn was the first time I noticed it with it’s profile status bar. If you remember back to when you first signed up there was a status bar that gave you a percentage of completion and next steps to improve your level of completion.Add a photo, invite friends, fill in job history, etc. The annoying thing was that I knew I was being gamed but I did it anyway.
But there are even less obvious forms of gaming. Why do people care about their Twitter follower count? We don’t really care how many people are following us. It’s nice affirmation and all but really it taps into that deep seeded, primal urge that games satisfies for us.
We watch how many followers we have, we watch haw many RT’s we get and how many replies to questions we ask, just like we watch how many coins we collect or aliens we kill.
Business Need to Play More games
One thing that strikes me as a huge opportunity is to more overtly build gaming qualities into business software.
The biggest problem with CRM software is that sales people don’t enter the needed information in. Taking this thread to the extreme and knowing sales people and their uber competitive nature, what if each lead was a kill and all additional information under that kill determined the value of the kill. You would also need a constant leader board that sales people would check daily (I promise many of them will check it multiple times a day). You could also make a kill list out of your target customers and offer bounties for special targets.
While this is an extreme example that could potentially cause some perception problems, I promise that this would be the most successful CRM system out there.
The Future Will Be One Big Game
With the advent of Augmented Reality we will quickly move from AR games on our phones to AR glasses to everything being one big game.
[Prediction] By 2020 games will be the next social networking. Not games like we think if them today but systems that work off the same gaming theories. There will be gaming communities that dwarf Facebook and challenge Google and Microsoft for time spent, functionality, marketing dollars and developers.