GDC: Paulina Bozek on gamification's potential

GDC: Paulina Bozek on gamification's potential

By Will Freeman in San Francisco

March 5th 2012 at 8:55PM

Don't dismiss the process, says Inensu boss, arguing it can encourage social change

Speaking at GDC Inensu's Paulina Bozek has defended the potential of gamification.

The CEO and director of Inensu presented her stance at a GDC talk tilted 'Applying Game and Social Mechanics to Sustainable Fashion: Closet Swap Case Study'. The session shed light on her experience of developing Closet Swap; a  app and website that strived to encourage a change in teenager's relationships with fashion and consumption using gaming and social mechanics.

"There's been a lot of discussion about whether gamification is important or not," said former Singstar creator Bozek on the matter of people questioning Closet Swap's status as a game, adding: "Dressing up and self expression is inherently playful. So we did gamify Closet Swap, but we stopped asking ourselves 'is this a game?'."

Bozek went on to suggest that gamification can serve to empower causes and initiatives that strive to better the world around us. Closet swap, for example, used points, leaderboards and achievement 'badges' to encourage youngsters to consider and act on the ethics of disposable fashion and the significance of sustainable living.

"We used game mechanics to underpin what matters, to underpin what is important," Bozek concluded, making a compelling case for the potential of gamification; a game design theory which became something of a buzz word and which many have dismissed in recent years.

She also drew parralels with those who questioned Closet Swap's status as a game and the initial reaction to SingStar, which some believed contradicted the definition of a game.

SingStar went on to introduce vast new audiences to console use, and served as a significant moment in the rise of contemporary casual gaming

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