SxSW: Game mechanics and story-telling

After the first two days, it’s the new forms of gaming appears that are really making me sit-up and listen. I think it’s because gaming is becoming something for everyone – rather than something was the classic four-eyed experience.

What I found really compelling was that yesterday’s keynote – Seth Priebatch’s Game Layer – talked about game theory and game mechanics (risk and reward, time limits, status, players, allies, enemies, goals etc) – i.e. the things that make games, games!

It is very clear that games drive action and motivation, that facilitate behavioural change.Unfortunately the second gaming talk I went to didn’t quite compel me to stay – but hearing from the guys who run Farmville and Geia was fascinating from purely a time and numbers mission.

What I’m now tempted to look at is how game mechanics can be applied to communication. How can game mechanics be built into story-telling? Or maybe they already are.

If story telling is how we make sense of the world, then maybe game mechanics are the means by in which we move through it.

As a side note: Seth also talked about how there have been countless studies looking at the way that when we are acting with in a time limit, the majority (and spike) of activity happens as it draws to a close – a really important point for managing gen y, and getting things done.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Phill Ohren at 7:45 am

    Thanks for filling us in Jye. I like the idea of developing a strategy around / using game metrics – they are simple & easy to remember.

    Are you enjoying SXSW? Don’t forget my gift :)

  2. Pingback: SYD – SxSW » Blog Archive » Seth Priebatsch: The game layer
  3. Alison Michalk at 10:44 am

    I think FourSquare’s initial success was a nice demonstration of taking “social” and adding gaming elements.

    However reputation systems have long been integrated into online communities as status is a primary motivator for participation. These systems are akin to game mechanics – components such as post count (it’s always intrigued me that people make a conscious effort to artificially bump these), join date, most voted for comment, most commented on thread, levels of membership, badges etc. One might argue that even building an online identity and unifying against a common enemy (troll, newcomer, forum authority) has a very game-like quality to it!

    I’ve never got around to reading Randy Farmer/Bryce Glass’ Web Reputation Systems.. so if you do, I’d love a synopsis! ;)

  4. Stu Andrews at 7:15 pm

    Very cool stuff!

    Seems to me a game like Minecraft will break this idea of game-learning wide open.

    Probably more, it will be games made by people who take the Minecraft model and run with it.