Games always grab attention. But many see it as a niche market whose sole purpose is to entertain.
Despite gaming theories being used in a lot of retail promotions and even social media, like leaderboards and rewarding specific actions, it was never viewed as an enterprise communication tool.
This perception is about to change. Prof. Wan Chiu, who teaches interactive design and game development at SCAD Hong Kong, noted that game structures have remained relatively constant over the last 30 years. However, he sees gaming playing a far more influential role in daily communications soon.
The problem, however, is finding talents who have the necessary knowledge and skills to gamify communication. SCAD Hong Kong is looking to address with new programs.
"It's an ever-growing field. You can compose and read an email, but how do you keep people engaged? It's all based on interactivity, and our job is to provide that experience and exchange," said Prof. Chiu.
Game design is also evolving fast. Unbound from traditional platform constraints, it can enable direct communications between consumers and between employees. Popular social media platforms already embrace some of these concepts. For example, clicking "like" on Facebook and sharing a meme on Instagram borrow ideas from gaming.
However, as access to fast mobile broadband becomes a reality, other technologies like virtual and augmented reality will help companies to "game." Already, the retail and healthcare industries are taking the lead by using these, together with robotics and internet of things (IoT), to create unique interfaces for more productive behavior.
Setting virtual waypoints for inserting a catheter and magic mirrors (which is going mainstream) offer glimpses on how game technology is now incorporated into business processes and work. But it does require an interdisciplinary approach to design.
SCAD's approach aims to address this by equipping students with multifaceted skills – from language and animation to mathematics and graphic design, to advertising and user experience design – requirements of successful game designers. Soon, it believes, playing games at work will be a priority.