Several years back, I wrote a book called Game On. It was about gamification. I tried to help non-game-designers understand what makes games work: that it isn’t just feedback mechanisms like points, leaderboards and badges — which was what most gamification writers were discussing at the time.
In my book, I predicted that “gamified” applications that depend exclusively on Skinner-box mechanisms like point systems would languish because they failed to incorporate the actual aspects of games that make them fun: emotion, interaction, immersion, aspiration. History has shown me to be right.
This is what’s exciting about the metaverse. It delivers real gamification. The metaverse is not only the next generation of the Internet — it is a generation that is shaped by several decades of videogame development. In contrast to the unfortunately-named gamification fad from a few years ago, the metaverse is layering-in the more challenging aspects of game experiences to improve use cases like education, shopping, live music, fitness and a myriad others.
In this video, I talk about all of the use cases for the metaverse. Give it a watch, and I think you’ll see how much videogames will influence the future of the internet:
Quote from the above video:
“gamification [is]…not a word I actually like, because when gamification became popular, people were talking about point systems and badges and adding that to all these non-games things as if adding points instantly makes it fun. Well, people discovered that it doesn’t make it fun by doing that. The metaverse is…real gamification. What I mean by that is: learning from all the stuff that we’ve been doing for many years — not just adding points, but adding immersiveness, emotion, aspiration, progression, socialization — all of these things that make you feel really connected to an experience.”
Gamification is Enabled by Creator Platforms
The key area of innovation driving this is that the creator economy for games has truly arrived.
In the past, it was simply too large of an undertaking to build actual gamification into applications. But today, there are companies that are making game development a “direct from imagination” process, rather than a coding-heavy project. This is why visually-oriented systems, no-code/low-code platforms and tools that fit the actual creative process are so important.
In the future, the entire metaverse is going to be built upon the technology that is enabling game development right now — which is why you hear companies like Epic, Unreal, Roblox and my own startup (Beamable) talking about the metaverse so much.