In Seth Priebatsch’s head the World is Changing, or at least it needs to. Seth is the “Chief Ninja” of Google-backed SCVNGR, a Location Based Services game you can play on your iPhone or Android phones. SCVNGR players check-in and complete challenges to Level-up on their smartphones as they visit real world locations like restaurants and shops. “The last decade was the decade of Social Media. The coming one will be the decade of Games.” That was the message of the most passionately-delivered Keynote at the South by Southwest in Austin, TX last Saturday. Head's up - the GameLayer is coming.
The GameLayer refers to the notion that you can apply game-like characteristics to the everyday things we do every day… like school. We think we agree with Seth when he said, “School is a game – it’s just a poorly designed one.” School is a game mechanic with a critical problem. “You can lose that game. And school is a game that we don’t want people loosing.” But don’t worry, the GameLayer can fix it. Students that complete challenges should Level-up. Those that don’t, shouldn’t fail – they should keep trying until they Level-up. Seth followed these revolutionary statements with a Powerpoint slide from the World of Warcraft game. When it comes to engaging and rewarding students, he actually might be on to something.
Also garnering honorable mention in the SCVNGR Ninja’s keynote, was his well-orchestrated illustration of Communal Gameplay as a method of problem solving. A collection of people can solve problems in more unique and efficient ways than a single person ever could. Not only did this Communal Problem Solving exercise do a great job at illustrating his point, but the GameLayer that Seth imposed overtop of this keynote earned the National Wildlife Federation a $10,000 donation. #winning.
Can the GameLayer solve World Hunger? We’re not sure, [yet]. But we do know that SXSW2011's most energetic CEO has some ways that could make the world a more engaging and more collaborative place. And we’re sure as heck going to check out SCVNGR
Follow Seth on Twitter at @sethpriebatsch
You can check out the slides from Seth’s keynote here.
And check out the hashtag #gamelayer for some of the realtime chatter during his engaging SXSW Keynote