Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pokemon GO - Gamification and Social Analysis

Don't be scared by the title. This will be an analysis, but it will have a bunch of really cool personal stories as well. Hopefully this post has something for everyone. It will be quite long. I plan to tackle many aspects of gamification and social integration both within the game and emergent behavior. Sometimes the game designers already foresaw the emergent behavior but didn't articulate it in a way we can detect it was part of the plan. In the end it doesn't matter. When we build games we should plan for as many emergent behaviors as we can and we should quickly adapt to those we couldn't have foreseen. The most amazing viral outcome is when you are able to adapt, scale and achieve the maximum benefits from the occurrence (which is rare) without getting a black eye or having your service shut down.

Since this is so large and I'd like for people to deep link I'll try to label as many of the sections as possible and provide a TOC so you can jump to the sections you care about.
  1. Designed Gamification
  2. Gamification Accelerators
  3. Social Change and Mental Health
  4. Social Fitness
  5. Social Marketing
  6. Future Gamification Opportunities
We will start by examining the basic game and how its various components fuel the user's desire to keep playing. How do they drive their feedback loops? How does the feedback loop look when various elements such as location and social are applied? There are a lot of these in the game. Everything in Pokemon GO is gamified to some extent. 

We'll then move onto the multipliers. What did they add to the game to accelerate the baseline gamification mechanics? There are a lot of these too. Basically every feedback loop can be sped up. It can be sped up by spending money. It can be sped up by being more social. It can be sped up by getting more exercise or changing your location.

After we cover the game we will move onto the social integration. While most of this was catalyzed by the game, I can't say that the game was designed to drive many of the social outcomes that have occurred. I really do hope that Niantic had design sessions in which they discussed the positive impact their game would have on social anxiety and children with autism, I just can't reason about how that would have transpired. After all, they are in place to build a successful product that makes money. The social change they've generated is likely incidental. The social aspects are broken into three parts where I cover social change (a general social concept), fitness (a major US problem) and finally marketing and small business opportunities.

The last section will cover some deep combinations of various game mechanics to talk more about how the game might evolve. Anytime you built the basic ingredients of gamification into a product your players will manipulate those ingredients to create master chef recipes that you never accounted for. Here I'll talk about the motivations behind my power leveling guide, the power of region specific entities and the upcoming chatter around trading and other social interactions.

No comments:

Post a Comment