I’m an avid gamer. I’ve been gaming since I was 5 years old on my Sega Genesis. Games have always been a part of my life and for some reason they’ve never left. I just connect with them; and I’m not alone. There is a whole generation of people coming into their own as a fully functional members of society. That is, people my age are growing up.
When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things. This has been weighing on my mind for some time now. Some of the most creative people in the world talk like a child, think like a child and reason like a child. Because children don’t have the same anxieties and expectations weighing us grownups down.
So why do games seem so childish? They’ve been around for thousands of years and yet people tend to look down on the word ‘game’. Is it because hard work shouldn’t be fun? Is it because fun shouldn’t be in the workplace? In a recent podcast by Gamification Talk Radio they interviewed Dr. Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan of the Thiagi Group, a prominent game designer and games expert. Something they discussed is that with clients they never discuss their strategy as “games” because people don’t seem to take it seriously.
Here’s the deal. Big businesses are playing games but they’re not playing around. Kim Kardashian’s game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood makes $56,100 daily. Game of War (the Kate Upton game advertised on TV, Twitter, Facebook, the back of my eyelids, my garbage man, my school exams and online) makes $1,081,442 daily while Clash of Clans makes $1,546,878 daily. But it’s not just mobile.
Vitoria’s Secret, McDonalds, Tim Horton’s all use games to generate revenue, increase traffic and engage customers. The Home Shopping Network’s released an HSN Arcade that helped the company register 700,000 shoppers.
Games and gamification are an effective way to engage. I’ve talked about it before but games have a super power. People can log in daily and with eyes glued, they can forget about the world around them even for just a couple of minutes. When they play a game they don’t have those anxieties and expectations weighing them down; which is childish right? No.
I’ve grown up with games all of my life; and I’m not alone. A whole generation of people are growing up who have been playing games all of their life. “Games” and “gamification” shouldn’t be such a dirty word. Sure strategy is sexier; but games means engagement, good customer experience, loyalty and retention. It’s time to stop playing around and to start playing games.