Augmented Reality – A Doorway to Gamification
Augmented Reality has yet to reach its full potential. However, the rising of smart glasses, smart watches and other smart gadgets, is a clear indicator that we are probably on the verge of a new reality. Everyone wants to get their hands on these technological novelties.
Isn’t that extremely good news for gamification? Yes, we are totally aware (and totally support this idea) that you don’t need more than a strategy to create a gamification experience and that you don’t really depend on more than your own imagination. However, the more tools you have available to enhance or measure the outcome of a gamified experience, the better. And these kind of devices, which bring the digital world to real settings, have the potential to open endless possibilities to some appliances usable in many kinds of gamification scenarios.
The first time augmented reality got a boost in relevance was with the smartphone. But soon after it was perceived that the smartphone wasn’t the more comfortable tool to use augmented reality in. That’s just one of the reasons for all the attention and hype around smart glasses – people are enthusiastic about all the potential it can bring to the this field.
Imagine you are going for a run. You are the proud owner of a smart glass device and you have a “game” that allows you to select from several courses in your town. Using GPS coordinates, the “game” then draws you the path in your smart glasses, which is to say, right there in your eyes. Now imagine that this course was created by another player in your town, and imagine that he also created a story associated with it, where a group of spies are after a specific piece of information regarding a new secret weapon, and you only have twenty minutes to find that information before they do – you gotta run, pal!
Now let’s mix in geocaching. Imagine that in the end of your run you have a little souvenir left by the last person getting there… doesn’t that sound a lot of fun?
All the while your smart glasses would give you every piece of information necessary and complementary to your little adventure and, depending on your performance, reward you with points and badges. Even though these elements don’t make a gamification experience by themselves, they certainly add value to it!
Virtual Reality – Entering the Game
On the other hand we finally have Virtual Reality making a serious statement regarding its own existence with the Oculus Rift recently bought by Facebook. As you are probably aware, this headset allows you to enter the digital world like you have never before! These are also great news, but not so much for gamification as it is to serious games.
“Why are you saying that Virtual Reality isn’t that useful in gamification?”, we may hear you asking. It can be useful in select situations, but not as much as Augmented Reality. Just think about it…
Virtual Reality is putting the real in virtual. Augmented Reality is putting virtual in the real.
Gamification is the use of game elements in non-game situations. Most of the times, a non-game situation refers to a real-world scenario, like running, cooking, going to work, and so on. Therefore, it makes more sense to enhance your reality with virtual elements, than to put yourself in the virtual world. Imagine your boss reaction when he came upon you working with an Oculus Rift on. Actually, try to imagine how you’d get to your work in the first place! Maybe some smart glasses would be a better option.
But none of this means we can’t use gamification in Virtual Reality.
Can you think of any experience that can be created with this association?