Whether you like the new buzz term or not. Gamification — that is the use of engaging playing principles applied to desktop and consumer applications, products, and services — is a big thing in research and (non-game) industry. Even SIGCHI was kind enough to let us organize a CHI 2011 workshop on gamification. It is interesting that most of the buzz surrounding gamification comes mostly from people outside the games industry (probably the game industry just does not like the term and the badges concept). However, in December 2010, Valve took up gamification concepts to promote Steam sales, which I found particularly interesting. The sales gamification was called “The Great Steam Treasure Hunt” and it features all gaming concepts necessary to foster engagement in the Steam community: rules, goals, challenges. Continue reading
Our favorite gaming platform Steam has not only become one of my favorite tools for purchasing games, but it also seems to sport some interesting features for statistics related to Valve’s games.
Now, being the nice guys they are, they make some of those available to the public. I find especially the statistics they report about number and locations of player deaths of high interest. They also include some pretty visualizations in the forms of heat map overviews of the levels as to where most players died on the bottom of the episode 2 page. You gotta love this approach. I always preach that is important to know your players, your consumers, the end user, the person that will use your product, play your game. Valve has totally understood this philosophy and are mining meaningful data on their player demographic, an approach which will certainly be copied by many companies soon as they become aware of the benefits. Now, while it may be interesting also for graphics cards companies and third party contractors that Valve may be working with to know the tech specs of the target machines, it is of much higher value to know how players actually play your game. Where they die. How often they die. Even much further: how they feel when that happens. I hope to see more of these significant gaming statistics become a part of the game development process. Maybe even a step closer towards game research and see how our experiments can feed back into the design process of games... Ok, you caught me dreaming for a moment there. 🙂