March 3, 2014

In 2020, Everything Will Be a Game

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Tags: Gamification

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 85% of the tasks in our daily lives will include game elements by 2020. In other words, our lives will be gamified.

Gamification is already entrenched in our society. Organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts use game elements to promote skill development through the awarding of merit badges. We use our smartphones to check in on Facebook, Foursquare, and Yelp in order to earn badges or displace our friends as the “mayor” of a popular restuarant. According to Richard Garriott, longtime IEEE member, “our mobile devices will be the hub for all the ‘games’ we’ll be playing throughout a normal day by tracking the data we submit and using it to connect everything.”

Healthcare is another place where gamification is making inroads. Basic medical procedures are being taught through games. Many companies have integrated gamification into their medical coverage, and encourage employees to gain points through healthy behaviors. These points can later be redeemed for discounts on insurance premiums, or other monetary rewards. A healthy workforce has benefits like increased productivity, fewer sick days, and decreased medical claims for preventable conditions such as obesity.

As technology improves, the IEEE predicts gamification will become more prevalent in business. IEEE member Tom Coughlin says:

“by 2020, however many points you have at work will help determine the kind of raise you get or which office you sit in.”

That might sound scary to some, but employers and employees alike stand to gain. Management can base decisions on quantifiable results and employees will be able to see their performance in realtime.

Some companies have even employed games to crowdsource data-gathering. Google, through their subsidiary Niantic Labs, created Ingress, an enhanced reality game with millions of players. As part of the terms of use, players agree to send Google data on their location and movements. Players are encouraged to submit photos of interesting art or architecture to receive more points within the game. For the cost of developing a game, Google now has millions of people helping them gather data on places their Google Maps cars cannot travel.

It’s not hard to see why the IEEE thinks gamification will continue to permeate daily life. Games can motivate teams, give meaning to mundane tasks, and help promote positive habits. Given their success so far in fields such as healthcare and education, it’s likely this is just the beginning. If you care to see how gamification can help your business raise productivity, increase engagement, or improve profitability, check out the TechnologyAdvice product selection tool today; we’ll match your organization with the gamification vendor that best suits your needs.

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  1. Kyle Turco

    I agree – there are skills being taught but there is a clear game-like incentive. I was a scout as well and I remember guys working extra on merit badges just to fill their sash or have the most in the troop. A great example of positive competition!

  2. Charles Settles


       Thanks so much for your kind words. I agree that gamification in healthcare is quite interesting; it was the first place I really recognized the concept in action in my own life and decided at that point it was worth learning more about. The examples I talked about in the article just scratch the surface; as technology improves I anticipate there being far more applications for gamification in healthcare. Imagine the potential a device like Google Glass brings!
  3. Charles Settles


      I agree that the Scouts’ aim isn’t necessarily to gain as many badges as possible. That said, it IS a game element in an otherwise non-game setting, and from my time in the scouts as a youth, we were encouraged to get as many as possible, both by our scoutmaster and peer pressure.
  4. Diljith Kannan

    Its very interesting to see how gamification is appied in health care. Very nice article 

  5. Anonymous

    Not sure about the point on Scout Merit Badges being an example gamification. The aim isn’t the badge on your arm, or getting as many as possible, it’s doing the things that the badge requires because you find them interesting.

  6. Eve Settles

    Fascinating article! Did not know about healthcare component. Will start paying attention to gamification inroads now