An in-depth interview study of a sample of self-confessed gamers offers pointers to the future landscape of games.
US-based research consultancy Latitude has presented some thought-provoking findings from a survey of 290 smartphone owners in the age range 15-54 and with equal numbers of men and women who claimed to be at least "casual gamers".
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The conclusion drawn from the above infographic that summarizes how and why the survey participants play games is that it overturns the stereotype of the "reclusive gamer".
Instead today's gamers are:
social, tech-savvy, goal-oriented people with a real drive to improve themselves and the world around them
The gamers typically use multiple platforms, with Smartphone being the most popular (perhaps an artifact of the sample being Smartphone owners) and while 95% play for enjoyment or relaxation, almost half play to achieve personal goals and even more play for social reasons, a motivation backed up by the finding that 84% use social media at least several times per week.
In interviews conducted with both game makers and game enthusiasts for a "deeper-dive investigation into the psychology of gaming" Latitude set out to answer the following three questions:
Why are more people gaming now than ever before, and who are tomorrow's gamers?
How will technology continue to bring games out of the screen and into the "offline" world, and what are the resulting opportunities?
Can games motivate positive change for both individuals and society at large?
Some of the interesting answers elicited are presented in the 9-minute video, "The Future of Gaming":
Among the insights from the interview study are:
Over two-thirds of participants now view games as a medium for self-improvement. Women were more likely than men to want games that would help them achieve personal goals; specifically, they tended to request games that would assist with personal wellness and learning.
More than 90% requested games that fit into their daily life activities, such as exercising or running errands, and half wanted to gamify boring or repetitive tasks.
As for how they want to play in future gamers want games to blend into the real world as this infographic shows.
So it is not so much that we need to gamify our serious apps but seriousify our games.
Users want more than just fun from a game they want something that improves their position in the world be it a social bonus, an educational improvement or a better body. Perhaps we need to concentrate not so much on the success of Angry Birds but on "games" that help manage that anger.