Pointing to the point of points

In the government and games investigations and workshops I have been doing recently we have had a lot of discussion around points systems. I wish there had been time to show people Jesse’s video all the way through to help understand where this all may go.
Very often in considering using a game or game mechanic it seems to be considered as a self contained unit. Whether that is the basic premise of the games industry in shipping a CD or with the Facebook game genres that can regarded as an evolving service.
None of these consider the concept, as used in Alternate Reality Gaming, of distributing the narrative, experiences and interactions across multiple products and services that may already exist.
It is mainly due to our conditioning of how we have had to consume media, i.e. lets watch this film now, and the need potentially for us to chunk and classify our time and experience. However, for those of us that are increasingly thin slice multi-tasking blending social, family and work in a fluid cross platform way it may be that we are more open to points systems and achievements layered on top of our current personal life stories?
As an example I mentioned that I tweeted my achievement of filing my first years company return. I had decided that felt like
a) something to be proud of
b) something to let friends and family know that feeding edge was still on track
c) remind any detractors that I am still pushing forwards

Clearly for people not running a business filing a company return may not have a comparable achievement, but for my fellow startups, even though their may be at a different time in the year they may pick up on that and feel a sense of being in this together.

Simple points in games, scores, money, credits etc follow the same principle, though until they are published or shared outside of the game environment their value could be considered less. Though equally they become the currency of that circle of acquaintances and provide the “in this together” factor.

These rewards and achievements across multiple systems become very personal rewards, humans are reward driven. If it is possible to double up on a reward by combing it with others or placing it another domain to get a kick from it again whether it is from a pure game, a family event or achieving a business milestone then we should?

In sharing photo’s on flickr we are doing that too. We see something, an event. We capture it and feel a sense of achievement and then in showing it to others we get another pay off. With online of course someone may view and comment many years later so the pay off can be ongoing.

I find it a hugely interesting motivator and one that I keep seeing the patterns in across everything we do. Likewise the keeping an achievement to yourself works, knowing what others don’t. Another mechanic that we can attempt to tap into in interacting with people.

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