This is not your father’s Atari

Describing the future of gamification is like describing the color blue to a blind man.

Consider these (relatively) surprising statistics:

  • More than half (58%) of those ages 30 to 49 play video games.
  • Experts predict that the video game industry will reach $118.6B in revenue by 2019.
  • 59% of Americans play games, and the average household in the U.S. has at least two gamers.

Tapping into this group isn’t just appealing. It’s necessary. How do we reach them and make a difference in their lives through gamification?

Could you imagine your mom saying, “Get off the couch, go outside and play some video games”?

No? Me either. But this is not your father’s Atari.

Earlier this year, Pokemon partnered with Niantic – developer of the location-based game Ingress – to create the augmented-reality game Pokemon GO set to release to mass market in July. You can literally capture Pokemon “in the wild” just like it was done on the show. Check it out:

Some of the beta gameplay has also leaked online, giving a clearer picture of what to expect. Imagine you are at the beach, enjoying the sun with your family. You open the Pokemon GO app on your phone and scan the area with the device.

Your phone is showing you the water (the actual water you are seeing in the real world) through your device’s camera when a Poliwag appears on the screen. Since they are water dwelling, you’ll only find them by water. The same goes for the rest of the game, with Pokemon only showing up in their natural habitats. You throw poke balls at the creature inside the app to capture it. You can access those captured Pokemon at a later time to have them do battle with other players’ Pokemon in the game.

Even though I’ve never played Pokemon, I’m awestruck. For those of you that have an inkling of how this game is played, I’m sure you are, too.

And now we can begin to realize augmented reality’s potential inside the realm of gamification.

I’m spit-balling, but just imagine where we can go with this. While virtual reality creates a new world, augmented reality (or, in this case, gamified reality) engages us during our day-to-day activities. Finally, we can get kids off of the couch to go play games.

The brands that can find ways to leverage this new technological horizon will create the game in which we will all compete.

Imagine that you’re at your local retailer, and you are able to collect coupons like you might collect Pokemon and your team wins when a certain number of coupons are redeemed.

And guess what?

You just created a gamified loyalty app and scored gold for your client.

Game on.