Andy’s thesis (similarly referenced by some presenters at GDC 2010) is that creating game environments can positively impact human participation and performance. From the surprising “fun” angle cited by Amazon Mechanical Turk participants to Target’s cashier scoring system, game environments bring an element of entertainment to activities that could easily be seen as mundane. A hint of competition and achievement–communal or individual–triggers a desire to operate at peak performance, strongly improving results. (Beware the leaderboard, though! Create a top-ten-users list and prepare to battle folks that game the system.)
I’ve spent considerable time the past week thinking about the potential this has in the ecommerce arena, where Ai spends the bulk of its time. How can shopping elements be crafted to encourage people to think in terms of achievement? What are the potential implications for social media outreach? How can a site include top-tens without resorting to the absolutes that discourage some participants?
I’ll be looking for examples of gaming in ecommerce in the coming weeks. Feel free to post links in the comments.