Technology Will Turn Your Life into a Game

Technology Will Turn Your Life into a Game


The steady progression of technology is quickly turning everything we know into a game, where the only winners will be the companies who want to sell their products.

Carnegie Mellon University professor and game designer Jesse Schell predicts that within five years, your toothbrush will be connected to the internet, and the more often you brush your teeth, the more financial incentives you will be given to continue brushing. This, he says, is but one of the many ways companies will begin developing products to turn your life into a game, a system that rewards you for using its products by offering coupons and price reductions to continue to use and buy the same products.

"In short, we already see games creeping into our everyday lives in all kinds of funny ways," Schell said. "You go to Starbucks, and you get points if you have a Starbucks card. And, in fact, they have a whole leveling system. The more times you visit, the more you move from level green up to gold level, with special privileges and free soy milk."

Schell said the ubiquity of games is increasing as technology allows for easier tracking of our habits and even our very facial expressions. This has created a loss of privacy that has been steadily creeping up on us over the past few years, he said. "We all have choices to make about what aspects of our privacy we want to give away. We're already making choices like that all the time. Anybody who uses Gmail has decided, 'Yeah, I think it's OK for a major corporation to carefully sniff through every word of every e-mail I send and try to automatically come up with a profile of what sorts of things I might want to buy and then pop up distracting messages, specifically designed to distract me, based on my interests, on the side of the page.'"

So why have companies capitalized on games? The appeal, Schell says, is that a game can be won. In real life, most of the problems we encounter do not have a clear winner or loser, which is frustrating. By turning everything into a game, the companies can give us a way to "win" in life, all the while promoting their own products. "The part that I worry about the most is sort of the perverse incentives that these systems are going to try to create," Schell said. "Largely, the companies won't be caring about our health and welfare. They're going to be caring about, 'Can I manipulate you into doing things that help the company?'"

Who would have thought the future of gaming could be so scary?

Source: CNN



Hey, if they can turn exercise into a game I might finally lose weight...

If anyone is interested, this is the actual speech he gave on this subject:

I wanted to post about this, but it's a mixture of tinfoil hat paranoia and a wrong idea of how game designers are going to use this. I mean, what do you think the 360's gamerscore and PS3's trophy system are for?

So does that mean they'll be giving me a Halo 3/Metroid Prime-esque Heads up display when I'm looking through my glasses? About time!

In all seriousness though, they'd better'd put life Achievements.

Done with this shit!
Graduate out of University

Your First Paycheck!
Get your first job

My Lawfully Wedded
Get Married

The Fruit of My Loins
Get a son or daughter

Not so fun when you wake up...
Get drunk and have an epic hangover

Get hit by a Dodge.

Get Arrested.

The Tourrete's Guy Would be proud.
Blurt out a string of obscenites in the car at some asshole driver all while scarring your children for life!

Heavy Spender!
Spend more than a million dollars on yourself.

Austin MacKenzie:

"The part that I worry about the most is sort of the perverse incentives that these systems are going to try to create," Schell said. "Largely, the companies won't be caring about our health and welfare. They're going to be caring about, 'Can I manipulate you into doing things that help the company?'"

Everyone should already have been seeing this and it is from the employee side of working with companies at least here in the states. Companies especially commission based like cell phones already don't care about the employee's health but instead focusing on any way possible of making improving sales into a game with clear cut rewards for the winners and severe punishments for the losers.

My main problem with this perversion is that the rewards could be used instead of giving tax write-offs to the company and giving a very select few a temporary reward paid by the company the company could actually raise the wages of all the employees of the company especially since American's have been working much, much more but their wages have been stagnant.

This is why I'm against a benefit employer based system where such critical things like days off and health insurance are seen as benefits at the cost of lower wages and increased hours.

Another real sign of this problem is back when Former President Bush was going around the country and I remember where a middle to elderly aged woman said to him "I am currently working three full time jobs" and Former President Bush said "We should be proud of this woman". That isn't something to be proud of, that is a cry for help and that is slowly becoming the norm where everyone is working multiple fulltime or part time jobs to just make it on the basics.

This country doesn't need tax breaks anymore it needs another boom of wages that created the middle class like after WW2 where people could actually buy and keep a home and support a family of four one on person's paycheck instead of both parents plus their kids. This is especially true with the insane amount of divorce where parents can no longer support themselves not to mention their children.

Jesse Schell predicts that within five years ...

Does anybody see the similarities, Schell aka Chell ... GLaDOS ... a computer artificial intelligence that monitors and directs the player !!!!! Head for the hills people :)

I highly doubt my toothbbrush will ever be connected to the internet...there are some ideas I can see happening, however...somethings are best left where they belong. Out of reality!

I like this idea in small doses :p

A toothbrush that rewards me for using it? Sure!
Get points for doing exercise regularly, sounds like a great incentive!
I really like the idea of an exp system for schools to.

When it breaches on things that don't need rewarding though, just like the trophies/acheivements do, then it becomes a bad thing.
And when it becomes all about making money, like being rewarded for watching ads, then it becomes a REALLY bad thing.

"Your life is turning into a game" is a lot more controversial and sexy a topic for CNN than "Advertising is using reward-based systems to make us buy more stuff". Throw the word game in there, and we gobble it up. Maybe we should invest in tinfoil hats? It sounds like a lot of marketing paranoia: I especially like the bit about how people in MMOs are moving to web-cameras so that their avatar can have their face updated in real time. I find that scary for reasons other than "Big Brother".

I've seen the video on the DICE conference and yes, it's a scary thought but I would rather stick to fantasy than playing with reality.

Yeah, this is basically just a repeat of his DICE speech. Still, it's an interesting concept, but one that I think will take a bit more tweaking before it catches on to the level of something like a casual game does.

Iff a company ever does manage to implement this successfully, they'll definitely be seeing some good things happen to their profits. I just think it'll be a while yet before that actually happens.

Hey, if they can turn exercise into a game I might finally lose weight...

Indeed. In fact, the Escapist has already covered a book that was written around what you just specified. Sometimes turning things into games can be a good thing, but probably not with consumerism. Still, the example provided about Starbucks may not have been the best choice- I fail to see how rewarding brand loyalty is particularly evil. Brand loyalty sucks, but providing people with incentives to buy from you isn't really a dirty tactic.

Hey, if they can turn exercise into a game I might finally lose weight...

If I got a level-up ding from lifting weights, I'd look like Mr. Universe.

I'm sitting in a starbucks with My gold card on this borrowed laptop....My Tramp beard and trolly cart containing only Alcohol...I have lost everything and I just CAN'T quite beat the habit to raise my post count!

I think that this type of rewarding is quite old and maybe is just back as a marketing trend....After all Mc Donalds toys and Cereal Box prizes have always been around.

is it strange to say im quite looking forward to this? like really i want this. Please companies offer me incentives and reward me for everything i do. In the end of the day, i have to will power to say no and not click on them distracting links if i dont want to. :P

Well this is a very bleak outlook on everything. I doubt it would be implemented to that degree. I mean, why would anyone buy a toothbrush connected to the internet when it costs more than a regular one?


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