Casual social games for serious Social purposes

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Presentation at Games Convention Online 2010-
An update on social games used for social purposes, especially on Facebook, and an introduction to the growingly common notions of gameification of everything and ludification of society.

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  • I am xy my background is anthropology and communications
  • The fact that social games are not real seem pretty obvious, BUT, especially in social networks, we see that social games have been used for a variety of different purposes all very different from the original goal of play, that is play a game for its own sake and not with a second agenda. The games we see here are MMOs, fictional worlds, immersive, they require high engagement, (they are not for free)
  • why is it so important to distinguish the psychological processes involved in processing “real” from “fictional”?
  • Why is that relevant? Because If there is a fictional element, then everything we see and do is not “taken seriously”, lack of responsibility, freedom, spontaneity (other characteristics of playfulness barnett) that entails: different attitude towards trust, (we are more trustful, although authority figures can be devaluated by the playful setting and we need alternative claims to credibility, like expert opinion or other kinds of authority, like magical beings who know all)
  • Shortly, as this is not our theme
  • Interaction with current events and real life dynamics
  • Casual social games for serious Social purposes

    1. 1. Casual social games for serious Social purposes Valentina Rao PhD candidate, Utrecht University Games Convention Online Leipzig July 10, 2010
    2. 2. Social Games Between Fiction and Reality
    3. 3. Casual Social Games: sorting real from fake Real Real Real Real Fictional Real (?) Fictional Real (?) Fictional Fictional
    4. 4. Facebook psychology in a nutshell (1) <ul><li>Two superimposing layers of reality: real and fictional </li></ul><ul><li>Users switch seamlessly from one to the other </li></ul><ul><li>Playful : physical spontaneity, social spontaneity, cognitive spontaneity, manifest joy, humor </li></ul><ul><li>(J. N. Lieberman, 1965) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Facebook psychology in a nutshell (2) <ul><li>Facebook as a “third place” </li></ul><ul><li>= separate from home and work; bars, beer gardens, pubs; the main activity is conversation , is easily accessible , acts as a leveler , features regulars , has a low profile , offers a neutral ground , feels like a home away from home , and the mood is playful </li></ul><ul><li>(R. Oldenburg, The Great Good Place, 1998) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Facebook psychology in a nutshell (3) <ul><li>An ironic, playful environment entails </li></ul><ul><li>very different reactions with regards </li></ul><ul><li>to trust, credibility, affective </li></ul><ul><li>engagement, cognitive dissonance </li></ul><ul><li>(“the fox and the grapes”), </li></ul><ul><li>forced compliance, </li></ul><ul><li>resistance, and critical understanding, </li></ul><ul><li>with respect to an everyday environment </li></ul>(Upcoming)
    7. 7. There’s a revolution going on, in case you didn’t know
    8. 8. More on Game Revolution David Helgason Jesse Snell Gameification of Everything
    9. 9. The origins of the Game Revolution Ludification of Culture Joost Raessens Homo Ludens 2.0
    10. 10. 4 ways in which your (social) game can interact with reality <ul><li>Add game dynamics to real life, “serious” activities (off line and online) </li></ul><ul><li>Insert real life elements into a game that is already there </li></ul><ul><li>Make somebody achieve something concrete (aka plant a tree while gaining points) by playing the game; the non-game action is deeply embedded in the gameplay </li></ul><ul><li>Use existing games for completely different purposes with respect to their original goals </li></ul>
    11. 11. Game dynamics for non-game experiences
    12. 12. Game dynamics for non-game experiences/2
    13. 13. Game dynamics for non-game experiences/3
    14. 14. Game dynamics for non-game experiences/4
    15. 15. Real Life elements in a fictional world - fundraising
    16. 16. Real Life elements in a fictional world - advertising
    17. 17. Real Life elements in a fictional world - advertising
    18. 18. Productive gameplay
    19. 19. Productive gameplay
    20. 20. Productive gameplay
    21. 21. Productive gameplay
    22. 22. Keep the game, change the purpose
    23. 23. Keep the game, change the purpose
    24. 24. Conclusions: (social) games tend to expand into Social <ul><li>“ social” doesn’t distinguish between real and fiction, people are people </li></ul><ul><li>No distinction between real and fiction is no problem, as long as nobody is using that for manipulation (which happens quite often) </li></ul><ul><li>The need for good, “ethical”, choices is much stronger in social games than in any other kind of game, because they are so powerful </li></ul><ul><li>Greater power involves greater responsibility </li></ul>
    25. 25. Conclusions: a humble social game today, a powerful tool tomorrow <ul><li>Making a social game gives the opportunity to do something to make the world a better place (as well as making a bit of money) </li></ul><ul><li>Social games are like a lab situation to see how future interaction between real life and fictional elements (the Fun Revolution) is going to affect players and real social relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s look at social games keeping in mind their potential AND the responsibility that they imply </li></ul><ul><li>You also can be part of the revolution </li></ul>
    26. 26. Thank you! and now questions… Some readings and viewings: E. Castronova - Exodus to the virtual world: how online fun is changing reality B. Reeves, J. Leighton Read - Total engagement J. Huizinga - Homo Ludens J. McGonigal - Gaming can make a better world http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html J. Schell - Beyond Facebook http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/multimedia/schell-dice.shtml R. Oldenburg,The great good place BJ Fogg et al. (ed.) The Psychology of Facebook (upcoming) D. E: Wittkower (ed.) Facebook and Philosophy (upcoming)

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