Social Games inspiring real world action – Josh Williams Gowalla – rm 130 (GDC’s summary)
Social SlideMy Summary :
Social networks, with lightweight game mechanics, can encourage players to share locations with their friends. Lots of Examples.

raw notes:
Talking about his history. At icon buffet company they saw that players’ collected icons but didn’t do anything with them (game goal was to trade. but they just collected). His slide claims “we as human beings are collectors who are motivated by social status and a desire to be recognized for our achievements.

AlamoFire‘s game PackRat pushed the company into huge profits. Expected people to spend an hour playing, but instead they’d blow 6 to 8 hours a day. (gathering coins and flipping cards). Tweaking card flip randomization lead to huge addictions. This lead to the idea of getting people to go out and collect locations (Gowalla)

Artificial incentives very powerful. “Anywhere there is a number (twitter, facebook, rss feed) there’s a game.

Claims we’re moving from Farmville to Kiva. Moving from “the obvious” (dumb fun activities?) to “the obscure” (activities perceived as helpful?). also mentions these obscurities: “Causes“, “Hunch“, “Groupon“.
Groupon offers a shared coupon game- you enter credit card, but discount only applies if enough people sign up -so you are incentivised to help them advertise that coupon.
Causes lets you suggest donations to a cause instead of birthday gift, on facebook. Hunch gives customized recommendations and gets smarter the more you use it.

Social GuyGowalla tricks people into visiting parks and restaurants they would have otherwise avoided. iPhone app lets you check in and get passport stamp, see what’s nearby, and collect virtual goods. Some virtual goods can be traded in for real goods. (like sweet leaf tea).

The struggle will be to keep people acting normally. don’t want people abusing system for max rewards. he just lets it hang in the air as “something tricky”.

His angle is more about how to provide useful data back to businesses. (businesses don’t want hardcore gamers to abuse their promotional schemes. they want to reach out to new users. Nor do they want to see their brand abused)

? Q&A: someone asks, so he mentions they have around 17 people on their team. Recently grew from 10.
? Q&A: someone asks what is the “best real world reward” they’ve seen so far. A: he says those that are appropriate to the location.

My Final Thoughts:
1. Would be fun to work up a GPS based learning tool. Maybe just let each member of an Ecampus Class mark where they went for some research. As semesters pass, it’d form a map of students.

2. Would be cool to partner with one of these businesses. By bringing in higher education, it might help promote/validate their experiment. Might make it more attractive to un-engaged students. But this would probably work better as a marketing move for main OSU advancement interests. i guess…

3. Might be cool if we could sponsor something in our area, through Gowalla? Ask about prices?

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