Emergent gaming trends increasingly connect virtual in-game space with “ordinary” or geophysical life space.
The inclusion of real world interaction within game play is imminent. For example, the developers of World of Warcraft (WoW) are currently investigating ways to synchronize WoW’s auction house with real world currency.
Game worlds seem to be more inclined to partner with components in life space as opposed to the reverse. That being said, the unfortunate reality of gamification has started to take shape in both realms.
There is, however, an alternative to this diluted perspective. Game designer and professor Ian Bogost notes: “Serious games have given their advocates a way to frame the use of games in governmental and industrial contexts by making the claim that games can tackle consequential topics and provide profound results. ” These can range from simple games to more complex systems. For instance, Third Faction presented “DPS” (Demand Player Sovereignty), a project promoting social activism, at ISEA 2011 in Istanbul. This is one way artists have begun merging real world politics with gamespace in a non-trivial way.
The future of gaming is morphing. Artists and educators are acting as a catalyst for this change. The result will be a merging of both the virtual and the geophysical world. Instead of integrating games into reality, as with gamification, reality will be integrated into games.
There is a lot of buzz right now over Gamification. Businesses are jumping on the Gamification bandwagon to push profits up. There is a strong drive in academia to gamify education. On the one hand we have Serious Games and Games for Change; on the other, we have foursquare America Army and Badgeville, all vying for our attention, all trying to up the ante. Gamification is the present of gaming. So what of the future?
The future is full of intensity, excitement and stress! Every aspect of life is so deeply infused with game mechanics that separating game and life is an impossibility. Desperately, people begin searching for a way to escape into a place where they won`t be weighted, measured or scored, a place where quest-lines all come to an end. Banal is the new fantasy world of games.
When life is a game, escapism becomes the ideal life. Several indie game titles currently indulge this impulse. Passage, Dinner Date and Metro Rules of Conduct are all signs of things to come. As this new genre of games begins to rise in popularity, marketers and academics will begin looking for ways to introduce life-like elements into life. For better or worse, future schools, businesses and altruistic nonprofits will all try to lure us away from the leveling rat race with “Lifeification”. The future of gaming is not the Gamification, but rather the Lifeification, of life.