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Sebastian Deterding – Closing keynote: Don’t play games with me with me

Web Directions @media 2011, London, May 27th 1:40pm.

Presentation slides

Session description

In 1960, Milton Bradley published “The Game of Life”: a capitalist wet dream of a board game, won by the lucky one who retired richest. Today, “gamification” vendors still take Milton Bradley seriously. From losing weight to saving Africa, from watching TV to matching DNA sequences: there’s nothing that couldn’t be made more fun by adding points, badges, and other elements from video games. At least that’s the selling proposition.

Yet the debate on gamification is deeply split. On the one hand, marketers dream of customer mind control, on the other game designers warn of digital snake oil sellers and shallow ‘pointsification’. How to design a playful experience that is truly meaningful to users – instead of just creating shallow novelty effects? Which lessons do games really hold for other products and services? What criticism is valid? And how can designers interested in “gameifying” an application steer clear of the worst pitfalls?

About Sebastian Deterding

Photo of Sebastian DeterdingSebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher usually flown in for some thorough German grumpiness. He speaks and publishes internationally on gameful design, persuasive technology, and the social contexts of games at venues such as the Gamification Summit, Gamescom, reboot, or Google. His work has been covered by The Guardian, the LA Times, The New Scientist, and EDGE Magazine among others. When not designing, he pursues a PhD on the motivational psychology of ‘gameified’ applications at Hamburg University.

Follow Sebastian on Twitter: @dingstweets

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