how video games help improve other aspects of life

One of the most used concepts in recent times in various industries is that of “gamification”: the idea that video games and elements such as scores, achievements and competition can serve other areas of life to improve and promote them.

In large part, this happens because of something gamers have always known: the games are intuitive. They teach how to move, react and cope with stimuli in a natural way. And sometimes it is even difficult to explain why.

“The intuitive term is related to immediate, direct and obvious knowledge. That is, it does not require any kind of education or complex reasoning. Therefore, we can say that something is intuitive when it is the product of mental processes that are not accessed through consciousness, “he explains to Clarín. Alexandre ziebert, Marketing Manager at Nvidia for Latin America.

Specialist in one of the most videogame-focused companies in the industry (they manufacture video cards and graphics chips, as well as being pioneers in artificial intelligence), Ziebert is dedicated to studying, among other questions, how gaming “lends” ideas to other industries.

How can video games help to develop a product, for example? What challenges are there when it comes to “translating” ideas? How can gaming terminology be used in real life?

“The gaming industry is teaching product designers different ways to improve their potential users’ experience with their products or services. Through gamification, which adds a touch of fun, challenges, goals and incentives to that experience. Also through the ease of learning, whose premise is to teach the user how to carry out a task successfully in the simplest way ”, adds the specialist.

Here, a chat with Clarion around these ideas.

Alexandre Ziebert: “Video games are excellent for demonstrating how intuition works because they are based on experience”

Arcades video games. Photo Pexels

─What is something intuitive in the field of technology?

─In the field of technology and design, intuitive refers to when a user is confronted with an object and knows exactly what to do with it. The intuitive design is invisible, allowing users to execute a task without stopping to think for a second.

For example, when intuitive software interfaces are described, they should allow the person to understand them naturally, without the need to read an instruction manual.

─Is the intuitive “universal”, or is it something that depends on the region we are in?

─Intuitive thinking is characterized by not being subject to a prior analysis or logical deduction. Every human being has instincts that make him act this way. However, for intuitive thinking to develop, it is necessary for the individual to possess, even unconsciously, a certain familiarity with the knowledge involved. This familiarity is the product of experience.

─If a Martian comes to Earth and has never played a video game, it is likely that if he plays level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. he knows that he has to jump over a koopa. What’s so intuitive about video games?

─Games are great for demonstrating intuition because they are based on experience. When you play, you live in a different world, you assume a different role and you see how your decisions affect everything around you. By removing the limitations of the real world, you can take more risks and learn more quickly (this is why pilots find flight simulators so useful in their training).

─Those are more complicated

─Sure, but some games are quite easy to understand. Regardless of whether there is an explicit tutorial, players instantly intuit what to do, what the basic rules are, what is good, what is bad, and how to exploit the various functionalities of the game. However, other games seem puzzling and complex. When you play those titles your skills don’t seem so clear, you guess (often to find out you’re wrong) about what various signs and symbols mean. And you don’t have such a smooth experience.

Xbox control video games. Photo Pexels Xbox control video games. Photo Pexels

─Many games have tutorials nowadays. However, the first games did not have tutorials: Tetris, SpaceInvaders, Pong, Pac Man. Why does this happen and what does this complexity answer?

─Most of the games mentioned were born in Arcade and contained a few screens that were repeated in a loop. In them, the objective was simply to make a high score, the experience was very intuitive since they brought a reduced set of actions that the players could execute. In games like Super Mario Bros, the tutorial is integrated into the level design, teaching the player how to carry out the actions that will be necessary later. Whereas today we use controls with a dozen buttons and many of them execute multiple actions in a contextual way. And while there are conventions for the same buttons to perform the same actions in multiple games, not everyone is used to them. Therefore, so that the player does not have to consult a manual to know what each button does all the time, the tutorials are needed for the player to develop muscle memory with the game commands, so that they do not have to pause the game and search how to execute a certain command, interrupting the game experience.

─You work in the “product” area. You have to define “product”: the common people do not understand what this word refers to. What do they call a “product”? Can you give me examples?

─When we think of a product, a physical object often comes to mind. However, we call a product a set of tangible characteristics and attributes (shape, size, color …) and intangible (brand, company image, service …) that the buyer accepts, in principle, as something that is going to meet your needs. Therefore, in the field of marketing, a product does not exist until it responds to a need and / or a desire.

Playstation console. Photo Pexels Playstation console. Photo Pexels

─There are less “tangible” products: today almost all of us pay at least one subscription.

─Exactly, currently, we also have digital products, which are those non-physical goods made using information technologies and that can be bought, acquired or downloaded through the Internet. For example, they can be applications, web solutions, video games, online courses, among others. Well-known examples are: Uber, Spotify, Amazon, Airbnb, Instagram, Slack.

─In this line, Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario Bros, said that the first level was the last he designed, not the first, because it is the way to introduce players to the main mechanics of the game: jumping. What does this teach those who design products?

─That the first user experience with your product is the most important and requires special attention, a lot of research and testing until it reaches a satisfactory result. On the other hand, this investment of both time and resources will have an important return on engagement, making the consumer continue to use your product. Reaffirming its importance, once, if you abandon it at the first contact, everything else no longer matters.

─How does the reward system that video games usually have in products work?

─Game design systems help to engage the gamer and their interaction with the game, by providing appropriate incentives; This can also be applied to digital products. An example is the Starbucks rewards system with the Starbucks Rewards product, that the more the user consumes, the more benefits they get on their future purchases. In addition, for each purchase, as also happens in an app like Mercado Libre, the user levels up, obtaining more benefits.

─What is the gaming industry teaching you?

─Customization based on the user’s skills, so common in video games, is another way. If we think of the user of an application, this could be emulated by allowing them to skip steps or instructions according to their knowledge of the tool or solution. Immersive storytelling is another feature of video games to consider when conceiving something as an app: a powerful, compelling visual and brand design can translate into brand recognition, loyalty and engagement.

Alexandre Ziebert, Marketing Manager at Nvidia for Latin America. (Photo: Nvidia) Alexandre Ziebert, Marketing Manager at Nvidia for Latin America. (Photo: Nvidia)

By Editor

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