Let’s just admit now, that most of you reading this blog post
have enjoyed some play time behind a video game controller whether it be mastering Tetris, Doom or any other video game for that matter. Although it’s scary to learn that three billion hours a week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22508983) are spent on playing games (mainly as a pastime) it also drives home my point of stating that simulations coupled with gamification techniques can be an extremely powerful tool and one that resonates with a wide audience. Games are everywhere; games will lead the way both now and in the future.

It always seems as though the video game industry is introducing sequels to popular games rather than re-inventing the wheel and developing a new game, why not just add another one onto an already popular money-making video game series? Not to name names here, but: Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 and Mass Effect 3 are just to name a few. And while I’m at it I might just mention Play Station 3. The lure of the video game is to draw the player in, interaction if you will. Not only does one have the opportunity to play against another player but there is also the aspect of the leader board. This leader board drives one to achieve better mastery of the game and reach higher levels. The whole idea around leader boards, badges, community collaboration, achievements and the list goes on and on… is that all of these ideas transfer over to real life.

The growing scale of the game industry has led to many studies on its applicability and transference into real life. What studies are showing is that video games actually do have a positive impact and aren’t just another time wasting activity. Rather, they are able to show positive attributes that transfer over to the player. Such as increased collaboration with others through a multiplayer environment, and higher retention levels of material presented. Although it does seem as though the video game industry has always catered to the same handful of themes. When the term ‘video game’ is even mentioned the first thought that comes to my mind is playing a first-person shooter game. Despite the main themes that video games are centered around, they do actually teach people things and increase brain activity.

Each and every day we are faced with wanting to be recognized for our achievements, we just want to hear “job well done”. Leader boards are often an aspect of many company’s internal employee programs to entice employees to perform better on the job. Whether the leader board represents who sold the most for the month or who made the most contacts; a leader board stands as a way to recognize achievements over and above what someone else has done. Leader boards even transfer over to video games, and those games that we grew up playing at the local arcade when we attained the high score we got to proudly display our initials (that is until somebody better fitted to play the game came along to get a higher score and record their initials above ours). Even in our younger school years we are constantly faced with gamification-like aspects. Whether it is when the teacher posts everyone’s grades and you have to look them up by the last digits of your social security or handing out tests in order of grade points attained. Gamification is all around us in a variety of methods, without us even realizing it. It’s not until we actually stop and think about it that we realize how many gamification aspects transfer over into real life. It is with the aspects in mind that simulation coupled with gamification just makes sense. Not only does one receive the fully immersive training and learning experience, but they also receive a drive to achieve more through the gamification elements employed throughout the simulation and attaining recognition for their efforts.

The video game industry is worth more than $100bn worldwide (http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/61912-six-interesting-examples-of-gamification-in-ecommerce), so it’s no surprise that businesses are increasing turning to gamification elements to try to boost sales and increase consumer engagement and awareness. Gamification allows for certain video game elements to transfer into some uncharted territory of new themes/ topics centered around business. No longer is gaming the same old first-person- shooter video game. With gamification things have changed. One can take boring content that seemed lackluster at best and transform it into an interactive experience for a learner/trainee to become knowledgeable on and master the content.

According to a Gallup poll (http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2012/02/employee_happiness_matters_more_than_you_think.html), it found that unengaged workers cost U.S. companies $300 Billion annually. How much are unengaged workers costing your company? Have you ever stopped to think about better engaging your employees through gamification techniques and simulation? Although there is an initial cost to get a program up and running, how much could it save you in the long run by challenging your employees and increasing knowledge and collaboration? Gamification could otherwise be considered as immersive gaming with a purpose. For those skeptics out there you may be wondering “But how can something like a video game create real-world value and transfer over into a learning mechanism.” Gamification techniques through simulation do have real-life value and impact. When you are in an immersive simulated experience it is gamification that can help guide you through. Make work more like a game and you will reap better engaged employees.

Copyright  Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.