Big News: The Book is Out!

Our very own, Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter, have released their book, For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business.

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An overview:

Take your business to the next level—for the win

Millions flock to their computers, consoles, mobile phones, tablets, and social networks each day to play World of Warcraft, Farmville, Scrabble, and countless other games, generating billions in sales each year. The careful and skillful construction of these games is built on decades of research into human motivation and psychology: A well-designed game goes right to the motivational heart of the human psyche.

In For the Win, authors Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter argue persuasively that gamemakers need not be the only ones benefiting from game design. Werbach and Hunter are lawyers and World of Warcraft players who created the world’s first course on gamification at the Wharton School. In their book, they reveal how game thinking—addressing problems like a game designer—can motivate employees and customers and create engaging experiences that can transform your business.

And Some Reviews:

“Like gamification, this book is a fusion of human nature and good design. Far and away the best book on the subject, with the most examples and the best intellectual grasp of the topics.”

—Bing Gordon, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; former Chief Creative Officer, Electronic Arts

 

“If you want to understand one of the most important trends in business today, go out and buy For the Win. Werbach and Hunter reveal the secrets to powering up your organization through game thinking. Read this book. It’s a game changer.”

—Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; Co-author of Do More Faster

 

For the Win hits a home run in illustrating the business value of gamification for both small and large companies across the globe.”

—Kris Duggan, CEO, Badgeville

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To all our gamified readers, get yourself a copy. You won’t regret it.

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Classroom, Meet the iPad Mini

In case you have been living under a rock, the iPad mini has made its debut. It’s smaller (obviously), more portable, and more affordable than the iPad. And while gadget nerds everywhere are comparing it to its larger predecessor and discussing internals, I was curious what this means for classrooms.

The mini iPad is ripe for classroom use and because classes all over are embracing the more technologically advanced younger generations, it’s not unfathomable that students will soon meet Apple’s new gadget, hopefully with some gamified learning tools.

Gamification, by providing instantaneous feedback, competition, and rewarding for even the smallest steps of progress is exactly the kind of motivation kids need, especially with respect to learning. And aside from drawing kids in and keeping them engaged with educational tools, gamification can also help build kids’ ability to be competitive and allow them to gain confidence. I wish gamified learning had been a classroom option in my younger years because I for one have always learned more productively with some sort of game (I’m thinking of the hours I spent with my GeoSafari). So I hope that schools take advantage of the new methods of learning available to them.

And I know there are other smaller tablets on the market, but I am extremely partial to Apple (I have more Apple products than can be counted on two hands). So I am excited and hopeful that schools will use the mini iPad to gamify students’ learning experience.

Any predictions on some of the new ways app developers can infuse gamification into their educational applications?

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Begging, Giving, and Gamification

I have lived in New York City for just over two years now and I am ashamed to admit that the homeless faces that frequent the subways, sidewalks, and parks now make less of an impression on me. Maybe the modus operandi for a New Yorker requires this sort of numbing to homelessness or just the fact that New York City seems to be, at times, overrun with the problem. Whatever the case may be, my wide-eyed eagerness to help whenever I could has faded.

Last Pick Productions, a Vancouver videogame studio, has created an application to (hopefully) help remedy this problem. The app, called iBeg, is expected to release in the spring of 2013 and is meant to simulate the life of a homeless person. A player is given a homeless avatar and is charged with the responsibility of keeping that avatar fed, clean, and protecting it against the harsh elements that come with living on the street. There are a few different options a player can choose so that their homeless avatar can earn money: simply beg pedestrians, play an instrument, or create a story like you just need money to fix your car.

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Angola Prison Rodeo: Gamified

It’s time to rodeo! Let me guess what this phrase brings to mind: cowboy boots, angry bulls, horses, barrels with colorful clowns hiding inside, and way too much animal…waste. These are the things I imagine as well (maybe add a funnel cake in there, too). What has never crossed my mind as an integral part of a rodeo is a prisoner who has been sentenced to something like life behind bars. But for the Louisiana State Penitentiary (also known as Angola), without the untrained prisoner, there would be no rodeo.

I’m sure at this point you need details. This is not just any rodeo, as I am sure you have already speculated on your own. But what makes it even more untraditional is that a prisoner has to be on good behavior in their environment so that they can be deemed a “Trustee,” a task that can take up to 10 years, before they can even consider participating. This is a long time to be on good behavior and successful at challenges but the incentive is high for a prisoner because they have the ability to be cheered by all looking on and can, for a small amount of time, forget the confines of their cell. And along the way, conquering challenges can equal having a pet, getting a job, or freedom to roam the grounds.

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Customer Service Gets Gamified

Having to call to a customer service agent is often times a task I dread. While there are occasions when I get a delightful, helpful person at the other end of the call, there are also those times when I get a person who is just wretched and I can’t believe this person has a job that involves interacting with others. It’s this not knowing what I am going to get that makes the thought of calling a customer service agent so awful.

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Zamzee: Gamifying Health and Wellness for Kids

Exercising is one of those things that I am not naturally motivated to do. I’ve been blessed with a relatively fast metabolism, so outwardly you’d never guess I had a strong aversion to the gym.  As the years go by, though, I know the need to exercise the muscles inside my body, specifically my heart, is of the utmost importance. Which is why I am always on the lookout for ways to make exercising more fun. And I think I have finally found one that touches on everything I need: competition, incentives, levels, and rewards. It’s called Zamzee.

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Truth or Dare?

Spin the bottle, seven minutes in heaven, truth or dare. These are the games that filled the hours of any party I went to in my younger years. I was never too fond of the first two, but truth or dare was my bread and butter. Always the daredevil, I never chose truth (also because I didn’t want to be asked the inevitably embarrassing questions). I haven’t accepted a dare in years, but Klash may just be the catalyst to revive my daring side.

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Gamification or Not?

I have a six-year-old niece who, every time I see her, asks for my iPhone as her version of a greeting and saying she’s missed me.  As it seems for many kids these days, she too is obsessed with the games that my phone has to offer. Within the last year, she’s stocked up more and more of the applications that allow her to make Cookie Dough Bites, decorate a cupcake, or create the perfect Icee. And I’m not ashamed to say that I too create my own masterpieces with the hope that I can transfer my success at virtual baking into an actual ability to bake. I recently read an article that discusses how these games are in fact used to advertise to kids and wondered if this could be construed as gamification. I’ve decided that it could. Here’s why:

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Virtually Take Your Place In Line

What can you say about waiting in line? Physically waiting in line, that is. I waited for eight hours in the middle of a Texas summer for the iPhone 4. I waited in line at a Target in the wee hours of the morning to get the Nintendo 64 when it first came out. And for some masochistic reason, I get up at an ungodly hour on Black Friday to join the masses in line for super discounted shopping. Though I seem to subject myself to it quite regularly, waiting in line is not something I take pleasure in. I actually hate the whole idea of waiting and I often become cranky and overly dramatic. This is why CheckinLine is appealing because it is a form of virtually waiting in line. No standing, no crowds, no heat!

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When Saving Money is Fun

In my last post, I talked about my affection towards credit card spending and the resulting rewards. My mom, who is a financial planner and an avid stalker of my online presence, read this post and was appalled. So, on her behalf and for all of you readers who are more financially responsible, I bring you SaveUp, a site that is dedicated to rewarding you for money you have saved as opposed to spent.

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