Seth Priebatsch outlined an important distinction between the elements laid out in the first decade of the 21st century and the second in a TED talk given at TEDx Boston in 2010.


The distinction, he claimed, placed the social framework through which we interact online firmly in the domain of the first decade, and the game framework firmly in the domain of the latter.

2010-2020 will be "the decade where the game framework is built. Where the motivations that we use to actually influence behaviour and the framework in which that is constructed is decided upon."

While full of hope and optimism, Priebatsch laments the thoroughly 'under construction' nature of the gaming 'layer' (as he sees it), evangelising the opportunities present with the next layer of the world being in such an infant stage.

"We want to all be thinking about it consciously now." he asserts. "Construction on the social layer is over. There's still a lot to explore ... but the framework itself is done - and it's called Facebook. When you want to build on a social layer, the framework has been decided. If you want to work on a different API, too bad."

Games are nothing new to our world, but their power is increasing exponentially year on year. While in some sectors games are dominating hollywood, in others they're attracting the attention of government regulators for crossing into the regulatory territory of gambling.

The science of motivation will be the most fundamental influencer of the next decade. Priebatsch points to 'happy hour' as the ubiquitous and preeminent game mechanic. It paved the way for culture to shape itself around rewards based on being in a certain place at a certain time. Perhaps the penultimate example of this is LinkedIn, which gives you a clear path to getting your percentage complete and lets you know precisely what you need to do to have a 100% complete profile and become the most attractive prospective employee on the block.

Rewards for frequent patronage and credit card reward schemes are also utilising similar dynamics, but none of these involve real-time feedback loops from a persistent game world.

Where Brainworth aims to push from educators rewarding students with XP for participating in classes is in this manner, turning the process far more literally into a game.

We very much agree with the notion that almost all of life is turned into ad hoc games, from humour in conversations to ritualised scampish behaviour in the workplace.

"School is a game." Priebatsch continues. "It's just not a particularly well-designed game."

We couldn't agree more.