Game Play: Where Science & Branding Merge

Game Play: Where Science & Branding Merge

  • October 12, 2012

As the case studies accumulate, gamification continues to gain traction and garner attention. Yet despite its newfound credibility, most still watch from the sidelines. While it may not be right for every business, the stats are hard to ignore. In 2010, corporations spent $100 million on gamification, and that number is expected to rise to $2.8 billion by 2016. The fact is, when done properly, gamification can work. Brand innovators like Coke and Nike know this, and it turns out, so do scientists.

According to the research of gamification pioneer Jane McGonigal, the reason humans collectively spend 3 billion hours a week playing games is tied to the psychological effects delivered by game mechanics. The neurological flow of dopamine, triggered by these underlying mechanics, plays a powerful role in creating positive emotion. And when game mechanics are applied to marketing problems, the response is the same. No wonder gamification can elicit such extraordinary behaviors. Turns out, regardless of the context, we’re hardwired to play.

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Video Game Teaches Blind People To Navigate Buildings

Video Game Teaches Blind People to Navigate Buildings

  • October 8, 2012

Image: Rendering of physical environment represented in the AbES software; in gamer mode, the player (yellow icon) navigates through the virtual environment using auditory cues to locate hidden jewels (blue squares) and avoid being caught by chasing monsters (red icons).

Blind people can learn the spatial layout of an unfamiliar building using a novel “video game” virtual reality environment that employs only audio-based cues, thus enabling them to learn skills that may improve functional independence, say US and Chilean scientists.

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In ‘Kinect Sesame Street TV’ On Xbox, The TV Talks Back To Kids

In ‘Kinect Sesame Street TV’ On Xbox, The TV Talks Back To Kids

  • October 4, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Elmo, Big Bird and the rest of the “Sesame Street” crew have always talked to kids. Now, they’ll try to have a two-way conversation with their pint-sized audience using Kinect, the motion and voice-sensing controller created by Microsoft.

“Kinect Sesame Street TV,” out Tuesday, is not exactly a video game, though it runs on the Xbox 360 video game system. There are no winners and losers, no real rules to follow and no points to score. If you don’t want to play, that’s fine. Just sit back and watch “Sesame Street,” as kids have for the past 43 years. But if you do play, Grover will count coconuts you’ve thrown, the Count will praise you for standing still and Elmo will catch a talking ball if you throw it to him.

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20 Educational Games That Were Ahead Of Their Time

20 Educational Games That Were Ahead of Their Time

  • September 25, 2012

While there has been a surge in the acceptance and prevalence of game-based learning in schools over the past decade, especially in light of the success of programs like Khan Academy, playing games in the classroom is nothing new. Educational games have been a commonplace part of the K-12 experience since the beginning of the 1980s (and in some places well before that), with early titles introducing students to fundamental math, history, and problem solving concepts just as games do today. While the graphics may not have been great, the games helped to engage a generation of kids with technology and laid a solid foundation for the educational games that were to come.

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50 Best Twitter Feeds To Follow Educational Gaming

50 Best Twitter Feeds to Follow Educational Gaming

  • September 15, 2012

It always seems like the media and parent groups want to rush after video games in a flurry of pitchforks and torches for the allegedly horrendous influence they hold over the youth of today. Debate is great, of course, but in reality, gaming actually holds some amazing, engaging benefits perfect for the educational setting. Game-based learning continues fascinating edtech enthusiasts, who eagerly flock to social media to share their developments, research, designs, and strategies. And a few of them are listed here in no particular order.

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Teaching Video Game Characters Natural Body Language

Teaching Video Game Characters Natural Body Language

  • August 22, 2012

Video game characters with natural responses to human body language

Researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London have been using theater performers to design computer software capable of reading and replicating the way in which humans communicate with their bodies.

Dr Marco Gillies from the Department of Computing has made virtual characters more believable by enlisting actors to teach them body movement. The actors interact with members of the public through a screen, and their responses to specific body language are memorized as algorithms by the software.

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Creating The Illusion Of Emotion Or Why You Care About Ones And Zeroes

Creating the Illusion of Emotion or Why You Care About Ones and Zeroes

  • March 19, 2012

As much as you may love video games and the stories they help you tell, it’s impossible to escape the fact that much of your experience is a trick of the mind.

The thing that separates video games from other forms of media, the ability to interact with and perhaps shape a virtual world, is mostly powered by the artificial intelligence of the characters that populate that experience.

But at its best gaming artificial intelligence systems, AI expert David Mark says, are, like 2-year-olds, basically sociopaths. What he means is that they are intrinsically anti-social. Getting past that problem doesn’t mean imbuing a character with personality, it means tricking gamers.

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The Future Of Gaming: A Portrait Of The New Gamers

The Future of Gaming: A Portrait of the New Gamers

  • August 30, 2011

In the spring of 2011, Latitude Research launched a study to understand the recent explosion in gaming, driven in part by the popularity of mobile phones and tablets. Specifically, the study sought to uncover how the profile of the stereotypical gamer has changed, various motivations for gaming, and the evolving role of games in moving traditionally online experiences into the “offline” world—suggesting new opportunities for game and technology developers, educators, and social innovators.

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Sony Says Games Will Read Emotions In 10 Years

Sony Says Games Will Read Emotions in 10 Years

  • August 28, 2011

Sony is talking crazy, indicating that games may be able to tell if you’re lying or depressed just ten years down the road. We’ll stick with growing crops, thanks.

Seriously, when do games stop being games and cross over into virtual reality? This was the question I asked Nvidia months ago at ECGC 2011, and was told there will always be a market for the high-end PC gamer with the rig nearly the size of a bookcase. But putting visual realism aside, what will happen when games suddenly stop acting like games, and become more like a self-aware super AI that could possibly one day sing you happy birthday or annihilate the human race?

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How Microsoft’s Xbox 360 & Kinect Help Surgeons In The OR

How Microsoft’s Xbox 360 & Kinect Help Surgeons in the OR

  • July 20, 2011

Image: The avatar for Dr. Brian Ross welcomes participants to an online training session using Xbox chat technology (Stephen Brashear photos/PSBJ)

The sight of a surgeon playing “Grand Theft Auto” in the operating room might raise eyebrows, but it’s one example of how consumer technology is being repurposed to advance the practice of medicine.

Rising medical costs — bloated by expensive, complicated machines — are wrecking the nation’s economic health, while off-the-shelf consumer gadgets keep getting cheaper and more powerful. So the health care industry has discovered it can tap into the innovative wonders of an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 or an Android smartphone app.

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