On the Horizon | Gamification of the GSW

We all attend live events for multiple reasons: we feel entertained, we enjoy spending time with people, we are inspired by the excitement and energy, and often we watch an unpredictable set of circumstances unfold before our eyes. Live television has come to be dominated by live sports because there is nothing quite like a surprise.

Enjoying watching a game or attending a live event holds countless opportunities for meaning and enjoyment. Watching Steph Curry and the Warriors go up against the Denver Nuggets 10 days ago with my 9 year old son to celebrate his birthday–along with his mom, cousins, and grandfather–was particularly exciting in the last 5 minutes when the Nuggets came back from behind to win. Watching a close game is exhilarating.

No matter how close we are when we observe incredible talent compete, nothing quite matches the feeling of personally competing. Which is why people love playing games–video games, board games, arcade games. Games balance difficulty with possibility. 

But when you think about what a game really entails, it’s typically moving something across a screen, tapping away at a controller or device. The act itself is not invigorating. The results from refining a skill and navigating a situation (sometimes, but not always a visually exciting one) are the motivation. 

Games capture our attention and push us to stay focused with as little reward as a high score– beating our own last high score. But inside the mechanics of games lives a desire to participate–digitally, physically and, perhaps most of all, emotionally. Games play into our psychological needs for rewards, challenges, achievements and interaction. 

These elements can be brought to life through a blend of our physical and digital experiences, so that we are not limited to passive observation of someone else’s talent, but drivers of our own destiny. Importantly, though, in the context of live events, games are a dangerous distraction. If we are playing a video game on our phone, we run the risk of missing the dunk, home run or 70 yard run. Games themselves are not necessarily the ideal ingredient to enhance live experiences. In fact, they may be a costly distraction. 

At Fabric, when we think about games, at most we think of snappy trivia challenges or quick guessing games. We might build small games, but for the Geospatial Web, we think the most powerful opportunity lies not in the games themselves, but rather in the game dynamics that make games so effective. 

Game dynamics–the challenging journey of overcoming problems and winning and losing–form foundational components for all experiences. Children are motivated to brush their teeth for a gold star. Adults are motivated to get employee of the month. Everything can become a problem or task to be solved and if the right task is given to the right person, at the right time, with the right reward, people will be highly motivated to participate. 

Which is where the Geospatial Web enters the picture. The Geospatial Web provides a medium for individuals to participate through live experiences. That means creating journeys and activations that are rewarding, challenging and collaborative. Providing fans the chance to join a squad and compete against others–all while rooting for the home team–creates a connection between people and the overall experience that is unforgettable. Gamification, the use of game dynamics to enhance experiences, is a secret element in creating unforgettable experiences.

Within the Geospatial Web there are countless moments that can be gamified. In fact, every touchpoint throughout the live event experience can have a gamified element, inviting deeper interaction between the fan and the space they are in. Exploration, interaction, collection, and ultimately, participation, are made possible through mixed reality experiences delivered in real-time, personalized for the fan.

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