Members of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, anticipate that 85 percent of our lives will have an integrated concept of gaming in the next six years. While video games are seen mainly for their entertainment value in today’s society, industries like healthcare, business and education will be integrating gaming elements into standard tasks and activities, making us all gamers. People will accrue points for regular tasks and each person’s point cache will influence their position in society, and compliment their monetary wealth.
“Social networks that encourage check-ins and stores with loyalty point programs are already utilizing gamification to grow their customer bases. Soon, game-like activities similar to these will be part of almost everything we do,” said Richard Garriott, IEEE member who coined the term “massively multiplayer online role-playing game.” “Our mobile devices will be the hub for all of the ‘games’ we’ll be playing throughout a normal day by tracking the data we submit and using it to connect everything.”
Increasing our Hit Points
Video games are currently used in healthcare to teach some basic medical procedures, but as wearable and 3D surface technology improve, they will be used to practice complicated surgeries and medical methods. Gamification will also help patients in need of mental stimulation as well as physical therapies.
Aside from use in hospitals and by doctors, games are being used to teach basic modern medicine in countries where proper care is harder to access. Games that show the importance of flu vaccines and other medicines are already helping reduce the spread of infections globally.
“Right now, it is easier to demonstrate efficacy and monetize gaming in healthcare than in some other areas, which is helping it advance at a rapid rate,” said Elena Bertozzi, IEEE member and Professor of Digital Game Design and Development at Quinnipiac University. “Doctors are using games to train as well as in patient care. Current games in medicine encourage pro-social behaviors with patients in recovery from some types of surgeries and/or injuries. With new technology, we will find even more ways to integrate games to promote healthy behavior and heal people mentally and physically.”
Powering Up for Promotions
To a certain degree, in the coming years a person’s business success will be measured in game points. Video games are already being used to teach human resources practices at large companies and will likely extend into helping benchmark business goals. Employees will receive points to measure their work targets alongside subjective measurements for things like workplace interactions and management ability.
“A lot of technologies start in other industries and slip their way into gaming, which makes sense for the future of businesses,” says Tom Coughlin, IEEE Senior Member and technology consultant. “By 2020, however many points you have at work will help determine the kind of raise you get or which office you sit in. Outside factors will still be important, but those that can be quantified numerically will increasingly be tracked with ‘game points’.”
Gaming for Grades
Using a current vehicle for entertainment to teach job skills and STEM subjects has already been deemed successful and is expanding at a rapid pace. Governments, particularly in the United States, are encouraging the integration of video games in school curriculum for behavior modification as the positive reinforcement provides more encouragement than traditional correctional methods, like the dreaded red pen. Around the globe, gaming is being used to teach students of any age a range of subjects from basic life skills to midwifery to healthy grieving processes.
“Humans, as mammals, learn more efficiently through play in which they are rewarded rather than other tests in which they are given demerits for mistakes,” says Bertozzi. “It is a natural fit to teach through gaming, especially in areas of the world where literacy levels vary and human instinct can help people learn.”