Everyone is talking (rightly) about EpicWin. I've only had it for a few days, and I'm already behind, but it's definitely changing my behaviour. In fact, once I'm done writing this post I'm going to tackle some stuff on my to-do list rather than pootle my way across the stuff on my Google Reader.
I've chosen the skeleton, in case you're wondering. Which feels related to this.
I'm not clever enough or I don't know enough to make a proper argument for it, but on some level game mechanics and play seems integral to persuading people to do pretty much anything in future – good, bad or anything in between. We learn by playing. And it makes us want to learn, or spend time with a particular idea or thing (brand, product, whatever), because, well, playing is fun. And with scores and all that sort of thing you tap into some kind of primal win/survive thing, I'm sure.
And Seth, this TED speaker is right that the game mechanics that we see around us today are pretty rubbish. They feel like they are the product of unplayful brands and institutions trying to embrace this idea alongside the stuff they're more used to doing.
It's going to be very interesting just how we move more towards the game layer. Because, at root, the idea that life should be fun is pretty much the opposite of how lots of organisations think. So there are probably lots of opportunities for differentiating themselves right now.