Saturday, June 05, 2010

Points do not a game make

In the last week or so, Jane McGonigal recommended a couple presentations that address point systems and games with both making the case that adding point system to an activity does NOT transform that activity into a game.

Just add points? What UX can (and cannot) learn from games from Sebastian Deterding tackles this issue directly and it sounds pretty much note perfect to me.

Amy Jo Kim makes the case in her presentation MetaGame Design: Reward Systems That Drive Engagement that point systems aren't games but meta-games. Furthermore, she suggests that that meta-game systems already exist in many of our offline activities in some obvious areas such as sports (e.g. martial arts) and also in other less obvious activities such as scouting  (heck - they even use badges!). Amy seems more optimistic than Sebastian that game elements can be integrated into UX and she outlines under what conditions where she believes where they work best.

The only library application that I know of that uses a point system is Bibliocommon's Community Credit system.

At this point, I believe that most of the libraries who have chosen to implement the system have only used the lists for draws of small prizes. But with a point system, meta-games for the library catalogue *are* possible. That is, if we choose to play.

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