Gamification of Society

I’ll take good information from just about any source — in this case from my 12-year-old son who is obsessed with things like challenging games, the creation of virtual worlds, participation in his own lucid dreaming experiments and contemplation of quantum physics. I didn’t say he was your average 12 year old, did I?

Several months ago, he raised the conversation of the gamification of society. From his point of view, much of the future — even his work — will involve gaming or things related to gaming. He believes he will be able to earn his living perhaps by making games — but even better by playing them and winning them.

Why wouldn’t today’s kids think the future will be filled with games? Much of their education has consisted of playing educational games, video games, problem solving computer games and all sorts of games. It is a now a deeply rooted part of our digital culture. And many of us are happy to spend a lot of time playing games

Every time I watch Social Media Revolution 3 via Eric Qualmann on YouTube I am struck by the following images and stats:

The total number of real farmers pales in comparison to the number of Farmville Farmers.

Imagine what things would be like if we could capture the productivity of Farmville Farmers to feed the starving people of the world.

We know that Farmville farmers don’t produce food, but real farmers do. What does this mean to the future? Someone has to make food, not just play games!

While I, with my limited and somewhat skeptical 50-year-old mind can’t quite see a future where the world is fully gamified, I do believe we are seeing many elements of gamification in society already. I expect more.

Because I believe that the children are the future (and my son’s future seems quite weird to me), the next book I buy and read will be Gamification by Design by Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham. Connect with Gabe on Twitter. Check out this video of Christopher on

Right after I finish playing Words with Friends and Angry Birds on my iPad.

–Chuck Hall

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