Want to play?

When I was a child my teacher taught my class a lesson in the stupidity of racism. For one day the class was split into those with brown eyes and those with blue eyes - one group enjoyed privileges that the other half were deliberately denied and the following day the roles were reversed. Even though it was just a game and we all went back to normal on the third day, the twin experiences of power and discrimination are something I have never forgotten.

We all know that as children we learn through play, so it's fascinating at this point in time to observe the gameification for adults of just about everything. There's nothing trivial or flippant about it and it's not about making everything fun. Interactive simulation is used by the military, it's how British Astronaut Tim Peake trained and it's how scientists test out and understand their theories. 

Virtual tragedies

Last year the BBC published an "interactive experience" on its news website that tried to show the choices facing refugees as they try to get away from a hell on earth. A couple of years ago, the game This War of Mine was launched to show what it's like not to fight in, but just live through a war, and last week, The Little Ones was released on Xbox and Playstation 4 as an expansion of the original concept, this time from a child's perspective.

Both have been criticised for turning such tragic experiences into a game, but how do you inform people if they're not listening to you? How do you get them to really understand? Tech advances mean that people now expect to interact with the world on their own terms - many don't watch television or read newspapers. They inform themselves in completely different ways. It's causing a huge change in journalism and there's a big push on to develop interactive storytelling - Buzzfeed already has a game development studio in operation.

Work, play, both!

This genie has been out of the bottle for a while so it should come as no surprise that interactive media has found its way into the workplace. From using VR to learn the layout of a building so you'd know what to do in the event of a fire, to streamlining hospital procedures, it's now making its way into companies' sales departments.  

Microsoft have just released a Fantasy Sales Team (FST) game for their Dynamics CRM system. It's designed to encourage the adoption and use of Dynamics by sales teams (a challenge indeed!). Companies set their own incentives, time periods and metrics and as sales teams interact with their CRM system, FST picks up on their activities, creating leaderboards that everyone can see. Players can even set up fantasy teams, encouraging better integration of departments.  Microsoft say it's proven to drive better results and, because it's fully integrated with Dynamics CRM, it's easy to manage.

So the future's bright, it's digital and, to be honest, it's already here. Get your game face on, folks, you're going to need it!

 

 

 

Posted by Kirsty McIntosh on Sunday, January 31, 2016

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