At the Web 2.0 Summit this morning, Jane McGonigal, Lead Game Designer at the Institute for the Future explained to us the reasons why virtual life (in video games, MMORPG and virtual worlds) is more fun than real life.
- Better instructions. Videogames offer a clear path to achieving the main goals. People have tested out the ways to succeed and they share their experience with others.
- Better feedback. You have scores and various success metrics. You have a sense of how your actions are impacting the game and you can show off. Real life does not have the same kind of audience to your various successes.
- Better community. In a game, we all share the same mythology and we agree to the same narrative, the same roles. There is a heroic sense of purpose.
She forecast two directions in the future: keep making games that are more and more immersive and realistic or make reality feel more like a game. She thinks the second option is in the zeitgeist and listed some examples:
- The visual feedback on the Prius screen (see “My car is a video game“)
- Passively multiplayer online games
- “Chore wars”, to claim experience points for housework.
- “Serios”, an enterprise productivity application inspired by multiplayer online games
- “Cruel 2 B Kind”, where you “kill” people with kindness.
- “World without oil“