SXSWi: Keynote: Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal is from Avant Game. The room is not packed. People must be going home early. The halls seem much emptier, too.

Waiting. Two guys named Josh are talking in front of me. One has on bright orange shoes.

Hugh’s introduction mentioned that Jane is hoping she can live up to the drama of the last two days keynotes.

Video ARG: The Lost Ring. A world premier of the video. Lots of secret clues about the game on Flickr.

She talked about alternate reality. She’s trying to make the real world more like games. We need the real world to be better designed. She also is talking about the science of happiness. In psychology it’s called positive psychology. It looks for best case scenarios for the human brain. There’s a high correlation between game design and the science of what makes us happy.

She asked, “Are you in the happiness business?” She thinks we should start thinking of ourselves that way. By 2013, she predicts that quality of life becomes the primary metric for evaluating all products and service. Positive psychology will be more influential. Communities will form around a real life worth living. Value will be defined as an increase in real happiness. Well-being becomes the new capital.

Happiness doesn’t mean what it used to. It isn’t a warm fuzzy thing. Key principles of happiness. 1) satisfying work, 2) being good at something, 3) time with people we like, 4) a chance to be part of something bigger.

Signals that things are changing: we can be good at games and things we are not good at in real life. In a game world you have a lot of data but you have ways to master it. In games, you get positive feedback. In games, you get better instructions. In games, you have better community. Intensively collaborative. There’s a global mass exodus toward games and a game world instead of the real world.

Can we take whatever it is that makes the game world appealing and put in the real world? Quality of life in the real world is losing to the virtual world.

Examples of hope: Chore Wars, Zyked, Seriosity, Citizen Logistics. What do these signs of hope mean? She things games right now are like soap was when we first figured out that soap kills germs. We should put games everywhere like soap. Embed happiness engines in everyday life.

She talked about the game World Without Oil, 2007.

She defined 10 terms, which I’m not going to try to reproduce, that relate to gamers skills that can be useful in solving real world problems and amplifying human happiness. Some were fascinating ideas.

Where to next? Twitter. Nike-iPod. Games on planes. Social networks for dogs. Stuff in cars like Trackstick. for the 2008 Olympics.

Take time to learn about happiness research for you can be ready when the demand for being in the business of happiness. Look at games.

She left some time for questions.

Sorry about the crappy photo, I was way in the back. Ballroom A is plain BIG! More SXSWi photos at Flickr.

Technorati Tags:

Leave a Reply