For better or for worse, we've already witnessed the gamification of story structure in Inception and Scott Pilgrim where narrative becomes defined by the reach into the next level. With the infection of our content, the next phase is no doubt the gamification of attendance. Will winning a virtual badge be enough to expand the audience for non-Hollywood films? The LA Times sees gamification infecting all aspects of life:
New services such as GetGlue, Miso and Philo apply the Foursquare model to watching movies and television. If you're watching "CSI" you can "check in" to "CSI" on Miso to earn "CSI" points or badges, chat with other people who are watching the episode and eventually jump to the top of the "CSI" leader board.
Somrat Niyogi, the chief executive of the San Francisco-based Miso, says that the site builds on the sense of competition that pop culture consumption already fosters. "It's all about the statement, 'I'm a bigger fan than you,'" he says.
It may not be for everyone, but I do think if local theaters employed such tactics, they'd see an uptick in admissions. People do say they would participate in more things, if we added more gaming to it. Similarly, I would like to know more about the folks in my social network who are recommending movies -- and if I knew what they saw, when they saw, it would help me evaluate their opinions, for better or for worse. Granted that's really "social" not "gaming", but it is all "engagement" and the film industry, across all sectors, has been neglecting it for too long. Whether we are artists, exhibitors, or production companies, it is time we gave a lot more attention to it.
Engagement is a long term process. It requires upkeep. It requires personality. It requires transparency. And the gamification of all aspects of the process will help a great deal. I am not convinced that "All the world's a.. game." (sorry Mr. Shakespeare) but this interview with Gabe Zicherman brought me a lot closer to accepting it.