Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The FarmVille Slot Machine - A Billion Dollar Game?

Keeping on the social media, gaming and gambling theme from my previous blog I wanted to highlight a video on TED that gives us a perspective on the future impact of technology and games on us. It’s given by Jesse Schell, a game designer who has worked at Disney and who teaches at Carnegie Mellon. He is quite an energetic and entertaining speaker, although be warned, this TED talk lasts nearly 30 mins... In his talk he makes some interesting predictions about how technology and games will influence and affect us in the future. They will become even more authentic and real and will reward people with points for good behaviour because tracking all of our behaviours will become ubiquitous e.g. taking your medicine on time and walking rather than driving (which will be tracked by the ‘digital shoes’ you will be wearing) will in turn reduce your health insurance. This will come for sure he says!

He also makes a point (which is really a joke...) to Brian Reynolds, Zynga’s Chief Game Designer, telling him he is stupid if he doesn’t develop a ‘FarmVille Slot Game’, where whilst you lose your virtual currency (remember you paid for this in legal currency), it pays out in real money. This, says Schell, will make Reynolds the richest man in the world! OK, so I’m not saying it will happen now but what’s the difference with 'FarmVille Slots' and buying virtual chips and playing poker if the player places equal value to legal and virtual currency? This area will surely get more attention from regulators and academics in the future.