Just when I thought that all hope had been lost for decent journalistic analysis a small article comes along yesterday in the London Evening Standard about Pokemon. More precisely, the article is about why large parts of the world might be fiddling with Pokemon Go on their mobile phones while large parts of Syria burn and women that are raped in Qatar are accused of having sex outside marriage. People are even trying to catch Pokemon in Auschwitz. OMG.
So what’s it all about then? The article, by Sam Leith, suggests that the obsession could represent a more comfortable way of being alone. The world, which is chaotic and scary, has been turned into an occult map that is, above all else, understandable. “Poundland animism in an age of disenchantment.”
Leith also makes a connection with JG Ballard, who pointed towards “ever-absurder collocations of the brutal and frivolous.” Bread and circuses for those brought up with Call of Duty and Fruit Ninja perhaps.
Late last year I was involved in the creation of a series of scenarios for Atlantic Lottery Corporation in Canada looking at the future of gaming out to 2030. The scenarios were:
This is a world with cultures in collision where there is a tug of war between governments who want to restrict and enforce rules around Lottery and Gaming and a tech-savvy, networked and socially connected citizenry who can easily circumvent those rules. Inconsistency in enforcement defines how people see things work in this world.
This is a world of science fiction – a world of intuitive machines, augmented reality, synthetic biology, wearables, sensory implants, genetic augmentation, self-tracking, predictive analytics and fully immersive virtual realities, where real time big data drives a quantum computing based gaming ecosystem, filled with disruptive alliances.
In this world, fear of intrusion and data privacy lead to increasing encryption, slower device performance and ultimately digital simplification where users fail to adopt technology innovations. Social activism is strong and at the extremes, morphs into radicalized opposition that undermines the security and integrity of technology platforms and ultimately, the industry itself.
In this world, fiscal realities force governments to examine how they work and look at alternatives to becoming more efficient, more competitive and affordable. In this world we see product, association and service collaborations in order to increase operating efficiencies.
Download the Scenario Book here
I’m currently writing some scenarios for the future of gaming and have found a few things rather useful. The first (thanks Andrew) is a good starting point for looking at gaming motivations, although it’s not especially practical for scenarios because there is no obvious continuum for measuring potential drivers and also why do the motivations behave the way that they do? Simple demand and supply drivers are looking like a better bet.
If you are interested in game player motivations, the link to Richard Bartle is worth following.
The second useful thing is a talk by Jesse Schell (thanks Ross) who is a games designer and Professor at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. I really suggest that you listen to this, although, personally, I’d skip his introduction and listen to the last ten or twelve minutes where Schell goes a little bonkers (but not much) about the potential for gamification. What he is saying, essentially, is that life itself becomes a game, although who controls everything is potentially the stuff of Orwellian nightmares.
If you are interested in following this there’s a great article in Foreign Policy on Big Data that’s worth reading.
BTW, I saw an interesting programme on television the other night. It was a countdown of video games that changed the world (video games? – quaint classification nowadays don’t you think?). Anyway, guess what the number one game was? Twitter. Makes sense when you think about it. Facebook too. And this blog.