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Life Is Just A Game. And Then You Buy.

Topics: Popular Media | Add A CommentBy admin | February 24, 2010

Are we all just becoming unwitting players in a huge video game?


In the future, shopping may be a little
more like Minority Report than we’d like.

I’ve been working on a project for awhile that involves turning pretend money into real money. Sounds crazy, right? People generally think so when I mention the basic idea, but when I go into the details, they say “aha” and want to invest in it. For what should be obvious reasons, I can’t go into those details, but I can give you a few little clues. It involves cognitive dissonance, self-esteem, and the excitement of buying things. I actually thought maybe the idea was crazy, until I watched a presentation (videos below) that Jesse Schell (founder of Schell Games) gave at DICE 2010. In it, he discusses a lot of ideas about augmented reality and consumer habits, the insane amounts of money made with Pengin Club, FarmVille and Mafia Wars, and how life is really just a game in which we’re slowly becoming unwitting players. One example he uses is how the Ford Hybrid SmartGauge EcoGuide dashboards are really just a game that makes the driver “drive greener”. He also explains why the iPad is “stupid”, likening the iPhone to a Swiss Army Knife, and suggesting the iPad is a “Swiss Army Knife of Kitchen Utensils”. He reminds us that NO-ONE expected the success of games on Facebook, the Wii, or Guitar Hero, and that there’s really no telling what “the next big thing” is. Except that then he goes on to try and do so, using Project Natal and the DSi as a launch pad, and getting a little carried away with his Minority Report-like examples in part three at about four minutes. In spite of the rather stodgy camera work and Schell’s gamer-turned-executive demeanor, it’s a thought-provoking talk. We’ve included it in three segments below.

Jesse Schell at DICE 2010- Part 1

Jesse Schell at DICE 2010- Part 2

Jesse Schell at DICE 2010- Part 3