March 7, 2012
Technology has always been about making tasks faster, easier, and painless. Here’s a new twist; making a mundane task faster, easier, painless AND fun. That’s right, fun. More and more companies are climbing into the realm of gamification using apps, websites and other tech mediums to assist in rehabilitation, study disease control, and even strengthen adults brains pre-Alzheimer’s.
But why? Because that to-do list of yours gets longer everyday.
Your in-laws want that video of that cute thing your kid did, your spouse is on a crazy fitness swing, and did I mention the kids’ chores aren’t getting done, so guess what’s next on the list? Sounds exhausting and downright boring. Gamification has become popular because it creates a way for things to get done, without the tediousness of actually doing them. To gamify an activity allows for a pleasant distraction while the task is being completed. Some of those brainiacs behind technology were gamers and they listened to your qualms and came up with gamification. It turns your to-do list into a game accessed on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Churn out that adorable video while playing a game on your ipad, download that fitness app and sign your kids up on chorewars.com. To-do list? HA. You now have a whole lazy Saturday afternoon ahead of you. Mission complete.
Is it working? It seems to be, especially given the exponentially rising number of gamifying technologies out there. But why is this working? What about games that encourages people to accomplish something?
Some say that games are the highest element of distraction; convincing you into thinking you’re indulging in a game instead of finishing a task. And that’s partially true, especially in regards to a cancer patient, playing Re-Mission. Competition might also have something to do with it. We live in a highly competitive society, just ask the crazy soccer moms and dads of the world. Turning everything into a game just fuels the fire. But maybe it’s all a little more scientific than that. My colleague, Art Young recently wrote an article shedding some light on the concept of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to our brains being “plastic” or in other words malleable. Are our brains re-training themselves to finish tasks in game format? The appealing nature of games now paired with retraining our brains might be a solid reason to why gamification is taking the lead.
Can you picture a world where everything is a game? When everything adds up to points? Maybe, maybe not. This popular idea seems to be the next best thing to sweep technology of its feet. What tasks do you want gamified?
- Dhanya Yalamanchi, Public Relations Associate
Photo credit: Flickr user KB35