Gamification of Digital Health at #SXSW

There have been some great gaming sessions at SXSW this year, and they’ve got us thinking about the role of game mechanics (or gamifictation if you wish) in digital health.

An insight from speakers from the gaming sessions is that everyone is now a gamer. But we need to change how we define ‘gamers’. Before that meant someone with a console or PC, playing Assasin’s Creed or similar 40 hour game. A gamer nowadays is a person with a smartphone, playing Angry Birds, Candy Crush or even Paper Toss.

When you see a gamer like this, it isn’t hard to realise everyone is a gamer. And once everyone is a gamer, they all understand, and expect, game mechanics. They are rewarded, shown on leaderboards, are able to unlock extras and so on. This new behaviour is become part of the way we interact with technology.

So digital health technologies should bear this in mind. With gamification we could get adherence closer to 100%, we could all use our FitBits for more than just 6 months, and we could begin to see real value in the data coming out of such devices.

It’s just a shame we call it gamification…

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