Life,  Tech

How Games Are Changing Our Business and the World

It is not sensational that human society is changing from farming society, industrial society to game society.

The nine-to-five office workers, when they get home, take out all the ingenuity and talents that have not been fully utilized in their work, and enter them into games such as “Legend of Zelda”, “World of Warcraft”, “Halo” and “Sekiro”, or coordinate A complex multiplayer campaign, or indulge in tense solo raids.

This phenomenon is becoming more and more common with the rise of the post-95s and post-00s. They have not rejected reality, they have jobs, goals, studies, families, commitments, and lives they care about, but they spend more and more time on games-in China, they have 666 million people (2021 statistics data) for the majority.

We race to critique and debate the addictive nature of games while seeing, and even wishing for, the massive expansion of the games industry. So in such contradictions and conflicts, we may have missed one important point: the fact that so many people of all ages are immersed in the game world and changed by the rules of the game must indicate something important, a We urgently need to recognize the truth – games are changing our business, and even our world.

Gamification of all things is not a trend, but a reality
“I entered the pit in 2014. I saw a set of fashion toys designed by Japanese in the shop of Bubble Mart that day. The little doll has big eyes and two hands stretched down. It is very cute, so I bought it. Since then, it has been unstoppable. In the past few years, I bought more than 100 trendy dolls. Until January 2020, I recommended myself as an offline sales employee in the marketing department of Bubble Mart. I guess I will like it in the future Chaowan.” Li Yang was extremely excited when he talked about his fate with Chaowan and Bubble Mart.

Regarding Bubble Mart, there are two questions that are most questioned: first, is there really anyone playing it? Second, is this also worth more than 100 billion Hong Kong dollars?

But business has become a reality amidst such incomprehensible doubts. On December 11, 2020, Bubble Mart was listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. By mid-February 2021, the stock price of Bubble Mart had exceeded the 100-yuan mark, and its market value had climbed to nearly 150 billion Hong Kong dollars.

There are many new businesses similar to Bubble Mart, such as catching dolls, fans cheering, speculating shoes, speculating coins, game card draws, blind box draws, etc. Many people don’t understand it, but there are more and more of them. more and more common. In fact, they are like moving the virtual game scene of drawing cards online and fighting monsters offline, and completing the spiritual worship and tribute to the game scene in reality.

The gap between the game world and the real world has become increasingly blurred to the point where games of all things have become reality.

Many times, the video games we understand must include interaction, graphics, narrative, rewards, competition, virtual environment, and even the concept of “winning”. In fact, they are only common features of many games, but they are not the decisive factors of the game. There are only four defining characteristics that define games and bring virtual games to life: goals, rules, feedback systems, and voluntary participation. We continue to see this feature in real business.

Let’s continue to take Bubble Mart as an example. Through a lot of copywriting and design, Bubble Mart has output to fans the “goal” they need to accomplish – collecting sentimental figures. Collecting figures is the specific result of players’ hard work. It grabs the player’s attention, constantly adjusts their engagement, and provides the player with “purpose.”

Then, just like the hottest trendy sneaker app is the joint name of Nike, Off White, and Sacai, but you can’t find these limited edition shoes in ordinary Nike stores. Bubble Mart’s stores and trendy toys The same goes for exhibitions. The blind box products in the store are responsible for people to “enter the pit”, and there are more collections with more collection value and limited edition collections at the exhibition, which attract “people in the circle”.

This is the “rule” set by Bubble Mart for players-to set restrictions on how players can achieve their goals. It eliminates or limits the most obvious ways to achieve a goal, pushing the player to explore a previously unknown space of possibilities. Rules can release the player’s creativity and cultivate the player’s strategic thinking. More importantly, it improves the stickiness between players and merchants, as well as the room for realization.

In the Bubble Mart offline store and other claw machine stores, you will often see the information that how many times a certain machine is caught in a row, it will win a prize. At the same time, there will be dazzling and exciting lights and sound effects to constantly remind players The goal is getting closer and closer.

This is similar to the “feedback system” of video games-telling the player how close they are to achieving their goals. In the game, it is reflected in the form of points, levels, scores, progress bars, etc. In the real world, it would achieve a similar effect through a series of words, sounds and slogans.

The most basic and simplest purpose of a feedback system is to let the player realize an objective result: “When… the game is over.” For the player, real-time feedback is a promise: the goal is definitely achievable , it gives people the motivation to keep playing.

Finally, and the hardest part is “voluntary participation”. It requires all players who play the game to understand and be willing to accept the goals, rules and feedback, as a necessary part of the game, and together with the game maker, complete the entire game.

Therefore, on the one hand, Bubble Mart has vigorously purchased foreign animation copyrights, and on the other hand, it has also introduced well-known designers. Figures and other trendy products, understand and establish the emotional and value foundation of multiplayer games with players.

Reinventing business with games
From its launch in 2004 to 2016, the total time spent by all players in the large-scale online game “World of Warcraft” exceeded 50 billion hours, equivalent to approximately 5.93 million years. In the real version of the earth 5.93 million years ago, it will take more than 2 million years for human beings to learn to walk upright.

Imagine that there is also a group of players who are willing to spend more time, energy and money in your company than the evolution of the entire human species. What kind of company would it be?

Games have posed serious challenges to the evolution of corporate organizational models.

In online games, game makers will formulate various systems and rules for fighting monsters and upgrading, but it is difficult for players to follow the designer’s intention step by step. Finding bugs (loopholes) in various rules and breaking through certain system restrictions to achieve goals has become something that many gamers enjoy.

Players under the influence of this kind of game psychology will subtly think and adapt to real life and work with the attitude in the game when they return to the real world. The most direct example is that more and more new professionals now challenge established rules such as the company’s traditional organizational form and cultural form.

They are a generation affected by the rules of the game, so they need matching enterprises with the rules of the game.

In a way, online games are massively multiplayer work environments pretending to be games. It’s just that in the game we will actively ask for more jobs, more precisely, we want to get more satisfactory jobs.

We are willing to “work” for the game because we get 4 points of “comfort” in it: more satisfying work, more sure success, stronger social relations and more grand meaning.

In April 2009, the players of the console game “Halo III” collectively ushered in an amazing milestone: they killed 10 billion virtual enemies “Covenant” in the game, which is about 1.42 times the total population of the earth. To reach this monumental milestone, Halo III players spent 565 days in the third major battle of the virtual “Great War”, the final battle, defending humanity from an alliance of evil aliens. Overall, they killed an average of 17.5 million Covenant enemies per day, 730,000 per hour, and 12,000 per minute.

In terms of organization and management, to be able to accomplish this “feat”, “Halo III” has achieved two things: one is a clear goal, and the other is the operable steps to achieve this goal. This is exactly what people in the new workplace need most, and what they lack the most.

At the same time, it also allows players to see the results of their efforts as directly, immediately, and vividly as possible. Just like the famous overhead display in “World of Warcraft”, it constantly flashes positive feedback to the player: stamina +1, intelligence +1, strength +1. We can use these points to calculate our own internal resources, and see that resources become more and more abundant with our continuous efforts: we can cause more damage, withstand more damage, or cast more powerful spells.

By design, every game puzzle is unsolvable, every mission is achievable, and every difficulty level is passable, as long as the player puts in enough time and motivation. But there will also be failures. And failure becomes no longer important, it will only make players more motivated.

Because in this process, players believe that failure is their own business, and has nothing to do with objectiveness, and they can definitely succeed with their own efforts.

—We need to be aware enough of our actions to see the results directly and quickly so that work can satisfy our desire to have an impact on the world around us. Without visible results clearly linked to our efforts, it is impossible to be truly satisfied with our work.

This is the main contradiction between the current organizational management model and new professionals.

Killing 10 billion enemies is not an achievement achieved accidentally by players. Halo III players have achieved this feat through a concerted effort. They believe that killing 10 billion enemies symbolizes the active energy of the “Halo III” community, and they hope that it will become a grand collective that far exceeds any game community in history. So they worked hard to make every player as good as Halo III itself was possible. Players share skills and strategies with each other and organize 24-hour “cooperatives”, that is, cooperative teams that fight in shifts.

This is more powerful than any other form of business organization and management.

make business fun
Home services such as cleaning, maintenance, cooking, induction, etc. are generally the labor group mainly composed of middle-aged women, and the corresponding companies are only a systematic management platform for this group. The “Qingxi Daojia” family life service platform established in 2015 is somewhat different.

Its employees are mainly young people who have just graduated or are out of school. Using the technological innovation of the Internet, the Internet of Things, and AI artificial intelligence, the housekeeping service is modularized into 8 major industries, and for each industry, each employee is trained on standardized operations. process. Taking cleaning as an example, they quantify each residence into 10 districts and provide 10 to 49 different service standards. The staff is like playing a game to fight monsters, and follow the “standard strategy” to complete the service step by step. It reduces the threshold and standardization of housekeeping to the greatest extent, and at the same time improves the service quality. At present, it has established direct stores in more than 35 cities and served more than 5 million users.

Doing it in the form of a game, even the most mundane thing like cleaning up can give a sense of pride if you make it more challenging or ask us to be more innovative in what we do.

Script killing, escape room, cultural and creative base, more and more business forms now have to add a lot of “interesting” content in addition to products. In many cases, the product itself is not the purpose, and the sense of participation is the core of this type of business form that is increasingly recognized.

This is exactly the change inherent in video games – gamified participation (full commitment), gamified incentives (real-time feedback), gamified teams (alliances with strangers to create stronger communities), games The continuity of culture (making happiness a habit).

Most of the soles of Nike sports shoes are equipped with a sensor with a built-in accelerometer, which can be activated by movement and communicate with your smartphone through a wireless transmitter to tell you how fast and how far you are running.

The reason why junior running enthusiasts give up easily is largely because running skills are boring. With smart equipment, real-time feedback can be obtained, allowing people to run faster and farther. Every time you run 1 kilometer, you can earn 1 point; when you earn enough points, you can upgrade. Link to the “Nike +” App, you can continuously promote the yellow belt, orange belt, green belt, blue belt, purple belt, black belt, and online PK with other fans in the running community.

SNH48, a large domestic idol group, holds performances every week. Here, fans can meet their idols face to face and purchase a wide variety of peripheral products. These peripheral products have a “genuine” status, and are designed, produced and sold by the idol group’s agency. Fans can buy not only in this theater, but also in the official mall. Taking aid products as an example, an official seven-color aid fluorescent stick is priced at 180 yuan, and a aid towel is priced at 80 yuan… Many products also have anti-counterfeiting marks. In short, SNH48’s support items look more professional and have more commercial value.

In addition to selling peripheral products, the most eye-catching thing about SNH48 is the annual general election. This is a bit like fan “crowdfunding” stars – through fan voting, the ranking order of members is selected and the allocation of resources for the next year is determined.

Everything is interlocking, and every step is consumption.

The essence of support culture is actually the realization of video game mechanics. By supporting your own stars (full-hearted devotion), get close contact with your own stars (real-time feedback), play with strangers who share a common goal (alliance with strangers, create a stronger community), and in your own Stars gain higher exposure and recognition, and gain a sense of accomplishment (making happiness a habit).

Crowd-created real world
“My World” is an open construction game that is popular all over the world. Players can build their own virtual world according to their hobbies, and at the same time, they can destroy or jointly maintain other people’s worlds. In fact, this is similar to the most ideal “listed company”. Every shareholder has the right and obligation to protect himself and support his company, and create value for the company through his own efforts.

Under the influence of games, business increasingly embodies a sustainable participatory economy and new formats and models created by everyone.

Games have changed our way of life, and young people are spending more and more time on games. Statistics show that by the time they are 21 years old, they have spent an average of 10,000 hours on games.

The 10,000-hour theory suggests that is long enough for us to become proficient at one thing. Games influence our minds and behavior even more than education. It is reshaping our world in areas like commercial flying, public education, healthcare, housework, fitness habits, and even social life.

There’s an experimental video game called Chore Wars. To play it, first recruit an “adventure buddy” from a real home or office.

Anyone who creates an avatar is eligible to take on your tailor-made “adventures” in the game database. Things like cleaning out the dishwasher, making your first pot of coffee in the morning, etc. Whenever you complete these chores in the real world, log into the game to report success. Each chore grants you a certain amount of experience points, virtual gold, treasures, avatar power upgrades, or points that improve your avatar’s skills.

The more chores you complete, the more experience points and virtual coins you earn, and the faster your online avatar levels up. Chore Wars not only keeps track of your avatar’s upgrades, it also brings you real rewards. The game description encourages families to invent innovative ways to exchange virtual gold coins into real life. If you’re playing with your kids, you can trade gold coins for pocket money; you can also use them to let roommates take turns buying drinks and co-workers take turns buying coffee.

Similarly, on open-code platforms, tens of thousands of players have participated for free in crowdsourcing games that solve real-world problems, such as curing cancer and investigating political scandals. They use social engagement games to create voluntary tasks for the real world, which makes people feel heroic and satisfying, and it is as easy to achieve as online game tasks, thus helping players to truly save lives and realize real wishes.

The game begins to break the dimensional wall, from affecting our world to transforming our world with our own hands.

In business, we also have to deal with the challenges and changes brought about by games in consumption decisions and organizational management. Just like the lines of code running behind the game, ChatGPT, artificial intelligence, big data… Our real world is not a world of a bigger game running in a bigger code base.

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