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Gamification is a topic I have mentioned not too long ago ( see this post ). Recently I attended a Boston CHI presentation by Chris Cartter called "The Socialization and Gamification of Health Behavior Change Apps." Gamification One thing that Cartter said that sounds right, and may resonate with some of my readers, is that games are fuzzy, not perfect sequential processes.
Earlier this week John Doerr, an investor in Google, Amazon, and Intuit, said Zynga is the fastest growing venture he’s ever been a part of. Zynga’s flagship game, FarmVille, has 3 times the reach of Twitter. FarmVille has 71 million active users while Twitter has around 22 million active users (Twitter has 110 million registered users , of which an estimated 20% are likely active ). Perhaps more impressively, Zynga is estimated to generate $50 million in revenue from the most engaged members who buy virtual goods and keep up a toolbar.
<a href="http://adserver.adtechus.com/adlink/3.0/5242.1/2382763/0/0/ADTECH;alias=Gamasutra_Console_PC_IMU1_300x250;loc=300;key='+adkeys+';grp='+adrand+'" target="_blank"><img src="http://adserver.adtechus.com/adserv/3.0/5242.1/2382763/0/0/ADTECH;alias=Gamasutra_Console_PC_IMU1_300x250;loc=300;key='+adkeys+';grp='+adrand+'" border="0" width="0" height="0"></a> From the perspective of Valve, software piracy is caused more by convenience than it is by the cost of games. That's according to co-founder Gabe Newell, who recently spoke at the North to Innovation conference in Seattle, giving a very frank and open outline of the modern economics of video games. According to Newell, Russia -- which is often ignored as a market due to its high level of piracy -- is one of Steam's highest grossing countries.
One of the hottest topics in the Web-meets-Gaming world is metagame design -- the practice of applying game-like reward and feedback systems to non-game applications for the purpose of driving loyalty and engagement. In the physical world, we're surrounded by metagames: Karate belts, scout badges, employee incentive plans, and frequent flyer miles are all reward systems, layered onto an existing activity to drive loyalty and communicate social status. On the Web, metagames peform a similar function. Social networks like MyYearBook and Hi5 let players earn redeemable points by logging in and engaging in various social activities.
Some companies keep a playbook of product tips, tricks and trade secrets. Zynga has an internal playbook, for instance, that is a collection of “concepts, techniques, know-how and best practices for developing successful and distinctive social games”. Zynga’s playbook has entered the realm of legend and was even the subject of a lawsuit. SCVNGR , which makes a mobile game with real-world challenges , has a playdeck. It is a deck of cards listing nearly 50 different game mechanics that can be mixed and matched to create the foundation for different types of games.
Shane Snow is a regular contributor to Mashable and tweets at @shanesnow . This post was co-authored by Phin Barnes , a principal at First Round Capital , SneakerheadVC and creator of the Xbox game, Yourself!Fitness . He has also served as a consultant to MTV games.