The Pleasure Revolution: Why Games Will Lead the Way (Jesse Schell)

Uploaded by GoogleTechTalks on 29.11.2011

>> LANDIS: Hi everyone, I'm Matt Landis from [INDISTINCT] and we are thrilled to have by
Jesse Schell here to give a talk today. I've been following his work for a long time from
the DICE talk to the Game Apocalypse, to the Games for Change talk he's given. And one
of the things I really like about his work is that it sort--it straddles the commercial
world and trying to make the world a better place. What you might not know is how many
different people he inspires outside of game design. I've got colleagues Ross dela Torra
who uses your work in brainstorming around everything from UX to educational problems,
and then a team that I work with in terms of game-based motivation and learning that
were definitely inspired by your work. So we're very happy to have you here. Thank you
very much. Please welcome Jesse Schell to Google.
>> SCHELL: Hi everybody. Good to be here, right? So, yeah, I do a few different things.
I run a company called Schell Games on the south side of Pittsburg there. We got about
65 people doing all kinds of different game projects there. I also teach at the Carnegie
Mellon Entertainment Technology Center. I used to be the creative director of Disney
Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio and I wrote a book called "The Art Game Design."
I'm curious, that DICE 2010 Talk that I gave, how many people here have seen that? Few people?
Some people? Okay. Cool. I'm just wondering what should be recapped and what shouldn't,
so I'll just jump right in. So, yeah, I think part of the reason that I'm probably asked
to come by today was a lot of the interest was generated from that talk. That was a very
unusual talk for me because, you know, I give talks about things all the time and that one
actually suddenly--you know, I figured it was just another talk and then next thing
I know, there's, I don't know, 200,000 views on YouTube or something like that. And again,
you know, I'm a college professor. I'm not at all used to having people listen to what
I say. And what I was talking about there was how things were really changing in the
game industry. And one of the big changes that we've been seeing is game industry, traditionally,
is a very fantasy-oriented place. It's about we put a little fantasy on the screen and
you have a controller and you move through that fantasy and that's what it's about. But
when we look at the trends that have been happening in the game industry in the past
few years, they're not fantasy-based; they're much more reality-based. We have Facebook
games that are all about connecting with your real friends. We have things like the Kinect
and the Wii Fit that are all about using your real body motion. We've got things that involve
real objects like Guitar Hero and Webkinz and things like that. And I started thinking
more and more about some of the trends and trajectories that are happening in that way
and combining that with the notion of Moore's Law and other technological rapidity that's
happening, we're getting to an age of disposable technology where, very soon, we're going to
be at the point where every piece of product packaging is able to have a CPU in it, potentially
have a screen in it, potentially have a microphones, cameras, internet connection. And I started
thinking about what is it like--what is a world like when you start to have all of those
things there and then we start to be able to do different things with human motivation
using those things. And I painted a little picture that I think people found at least
provoking, right? The idea being, you know, you wake up in the morning and you go to brush
your teeth and, you know, "Hey, good job, 10 points for brushing your teeth because
you got a WiFi connected toothbrush, right?" And then more than that, you know, you've
brushed your teeth five times this week, so you're going to get special bonus points for
that. And then further, you brush your teeth for the full requisite three minutes because
the toothbrush has a timer and so you get points for all those things. Now, who would
want to give you points, who could possibly care? The folks would make the toothpaste
because if you brush your teeth on a regular basis, three times a day, they're going to
sell three times as much toothpaste than if you just do it once a day. So they're going
to come up with systems to reward you to give you coupons so you can get your toothpaste
cheaper. So then you go to breakfast and, you know, you get your cornflakes. And in
the old days, you used to read the back of the box while you ate your cornflakes. Well,
now things are different. There's a tilt sensor when you tip it out to pour the bowl so you
get points for doing that. And now you play the video game that's on the back of the box.
And of course, the video game is connected to Facebook so you can see which of your friends
are also playing the game, and "Hey, good job." Of all your friends who eat cornflakes
and play the cornflakes game, you know, you got the high score, so, you know, good job
for you. So then you're going to go to work and you get on the bus. The bus? I don't want
to get on the bus. But of course you're going to get on the bus because the government is
giving you all kinds of points, you know, for using public transportation that you can
apply for tax credit. Right? And so, you know, you're sitting there on the bus and you're
like, "Well, I guess I'm going to play a game." And you could spend 99 cents for Tetris, you
know, on your phone. But it turns out there's Coke-tris and it's free. So you're playing
that, little Coke bottles are stacking up, and that's fine. And then that suddenly reminds
you, like, "Hey, I had that crazy dream last night where my mother was dancing with a Pepsi
bottle." And then you realize, "Oh, of course, it was the REM-tertainment system." And the
REM-tertainment system is simple. So a little thing goes in your ear and it can detect when
you've entered REM sleep and then it starts to put advertising messages into your dreams.
And if you recall them in the morning and you can kind of correctly identify the products
that were being put into your dreams, you get all kinds of big bonus points which you
can apply towards all sorts--all kinds of purchases. So, you get to work, you know,
on time. Good job. And you've been there, you know, on time everyday that week. You
know, it's Friday. Good job for you. And you go and your--you see your--there's your officemate.
He's right there and he says, "Hey, check it out, man. I got one of those new e-ink
tattoos. I can change it to be whatever I want." But of course, right now, you know,
he's got it set to--what do you guys call it? Tattoogle AdSense, right? Getting it set
up for that so that it kind of rotates through different ads. And you tell him, "Dude, you're
so stupid. Why did you put that so high in your arm? You should've put it down low on
your arm like me because everyone knows that Tattoogle AdSense has light sensors in it
and it's only going to give you points if, like, the light sensors are touching it because
we want to know when people are seeing the ads. And just then you notice that your ad
and his ad are both Pop Tarts ads and you know how this game works, so you say, "Link
sync," and he says, "Pop Tarts." And then you--then you do a high-five and the body
electricity sensors sense that you did a high-five and so you get points and points and points,
right? And what the heck is the point in that? Well, the point is, you know, you want something
that's going to draw attention to the ads. And so there are going to be these game systems
that get you to pay attention to the ads. Well, okay. So, then you go on to lunch and
you've had Dr. Pepper's all that week, so points, points, points, points, points. And
of course, you're going to have a fifth one because you know Dr. Pepper has a special
this week; five Dr. Peppers in a week and you know you get big bonus points, so you
do that. Then after lunch, you got a meeting, and the meeting is at this other building.
And it's about a half-mile away and you could take a shuttle over there and catch a ride
with somebody. But you're thinking, "You know what? I'm going to walk," because you're using
those Nike+ shoes and the Nike+ shoes are connected up with your health insurance company
and you get like points that apply to a discount on your health insurance if you walk more
than a mile a day. And further, there's a heart rate detector and if you get your heart
rate up above a certain level for a certain part of the day, you get special bonus points
for that which is going to help with your health insurance so, of course, you're going
to walk over there. Then on your way home, you do some shopping. You go into the grocery
store and, oh, man, the grocery store is this crazy points festival that's a huge headache
to have to navigate. So of course, you're going to pull out a phone. You guys probably
wouldn't pull out this phone, but you pull out some phone and the phone is just going
to--you're going to tell it what groceries you want and it's going to do all the calculation
and then bam, you know., you're going to get all kinds of points for picking the right
groceries that are going to get the best deals. Then you get home and your daughter says,
"Hey, I got my report card. I got all As." And you're like, "All As? That's awesome,"
because you're going to get a whole bunch of points that you're going to be able to
apply towards a scholarship and I'm going to get the Barack Obama good parenting bonus
which is going to apply the taxes, so thank you very much. Wait a second, though. Did
you practice your piano today? And she says, "Well, yes, of course, I practiced my piano."
You say, "Well, what score did you get?" And she said, "Well, you know, I got 85,000."
"You got 85,000? You've done so well in that sonata. You're going to get 9,000 points from
the Arts Council which has the potential to go towards an art scholarship, so go, you."
Okay. So after dinner, you're going to watch a little TV, right? Maybe take a rest from
all of this. But of course, TV is a little different now than it used to be. We all remember
the good old days. Remember the good old days when there were ads on TV and you'd skip them?
Remember that? Remember how crazy that was? Now, nobody skips the ads, of course, because
every ad is an opportunity to kind of get more points and things because ever since,
you know, Microsoft kind of put the Kinect in the living room which is a camera that
watches you all the time, then they got the Kinect 2.0 that can actually effectively do
gaze tracking at a distance so they can tell exactly where on the screen your eyes are
looking at any given moment. Every ad became a game where you'd try and follow the logo
around and all kinds of things, and you get all kinds of points, and points, and points,
and points. And remote controls, of course, now have a little screen on them and of course
they're internet connected. You can see your Facebook friends exactly what they're all
watching on TV at this given moment and you can have a little video chat with them while
you watch the same shows and you play multiplayer games together and you're all getting points,
and points, and points in the very, very, natural way to watch television. So, finally
you're going to bed, right? You're going to read something, just read and go to bed. Of
course, you've got, you know, the new Kindle 4.0 and it too has the gaze tracker in it.
Why do you need the gaze tracker? Partly, you want it because it's handy. It knows that
if you stare at a word for more than three seconds, you don't know the meaning and it
pops up the definition. So that's kind of handy. But also, Amazon's got that whole thing
where it gives book reviews and, you know, people put book reviews in, but how do they
know who's read the book? Well, now they know. They know exactly how much time you spent
reading this book. And the more time you spent paying attention to the book or maybe you've
re-read the book, the more value your review has online. And you finish reading this novel
and guess what? Achievement unlocked. Microsoft bought Amazon. I don't know if you've heard
that. One of you guys is going to buy them, I figure. Anyway, you--achievement unlocked,
500 novels and you're feeling, wow, that's awesome. I finally read 500 novels. It took
me 20 years but I did it. I read 500 novels. And you feel proud but then you feel a little
embarrassed because you realize, man, my 500th novel was this kind of crummy Star Trek novel.
And everybody's going to know that because this information is permanent. None of this
information ever goes away, right? I mean, it used to be, you know, your grandparents,
what books did they read and when did they read them? What foods did they eat? And where
did they go? And you don't know any of that. But your grandchildren, your great grandchildren,
they're going to know all of that. It's all going to be permanent, permanent data. And
so the big question that I think we face with all of this is this question of is this all
just going to be a bunch of gross commercialistic kind of, I don't know, sort of this disgusting
mess or is the fact that all of this is going to be monitored going to inspire us to maybe
be better people? Anyway, so that was kind of a little ending piece of that DICE talk
that I gave that had kind of got people talking and thinking a bit. And after I gave that,
I was really surprised at how interested people were to kind of talk about this and everyone
sort of assumed I knew what I was talking about and I that had some level of expertise
in any of this which I did not. And so I thought, "Jeez, I better figure something out." So
I've spent the last year and a half trying to understand some of these questions about
where is this stuff going. So I wanted to share a little of that with you today. So
one of the things people took away from that talk is that, "Oh, we should get badges on
everything." That, you know, people like games. Games give little rewards and badges and things.
I few just stick those on everything; it's going to be great. It's just going to make
absolutely everything better. And then--and no, no, that's--no, that's not all--that's
not at all right. That's sort of like, if I'd been like, "Hey, have you heard about
this thing Chocolate?" It's pretty good. People are like, "Oh, wow. Wow, you're right, this
chocolate is good. We should put it on everything. Why don't we just put it on everything? Yeah,
we'll cal it choco-fication. Yeah, we need to get some choco-fication going on." And
I'd be like feel like, I--wait. Stop. Please give us a moment. And the guy would say, "No,
no, no, you don't--no, I mean, think about it. Like, if you take chocolate and you put
it on ice cream, it's better, right?" I'm like, "Well, yeah. Okay, sure. It's better."
"Oh, I'm so glad to hear that because I own the world's largest cottage cheese company.
We're going to chocofy our product and triple our sales. So we want your help to chocofy
this." And no, no, that's not right. Now, why that's not right is a little hard to think
about. It's a little hard to put your finger on. If I asked you to draw a picture of why
chocolate and cottage cheese is a bad idea, it's just like--it's just gross and I just
know from experience that that kind of thing is gross. But if you had to kind of present
me like a logical argument, it would be a little harder because we don't really understand
the exact chemical mechanics of what's going on there. And we have some of the same challenges
trying to figure this out with games because, man, there's a lot of products that's just
like, "No, chocolate is just not going to help to you." It's not going to help you sell
more products, right? And the other thing about games is like, it's not like making
games is easy. It's not like you just put it out there and it just works and everybody
loves it. There's plenty of bad games that everybody hates because there's subtlety and
difficulty in creating these sort of games structures that people actually like. The
thing everybody wants is this, right? You know, turn the everyday things you do into
the dreamiest perks and rewards with the Disney Rewards Visa Card. That's what everybody wants
to do. We'll just take what we've got and just add little rewards to it that makes it
better because pleasure is always additive, right? If you just add more on top, it gets
better. But that's not true. Just like the chocolate and the cottage cheese, sometimes
they combine in ways that's undesirable. And rewards can backfire on you. This is not--this
is a counter-intuitive thing. This isn't something that people intuitively grasp. But it's very
much true and there are--there are 30 or 40 years of psychological research that show
that in many cases, the concept of giving people rewards to do something in order to
kind of get them into the habit of doing it is often going to backfire. If you're interested
in this, there's this great book "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn where he does a
great summary of the psychological research. You know, its subtitle I love, "The Trouble
with Gold Starts, Incentive Plans, As, Praise and Other Bribes." Because fundamentally,
what they've found is anything were you bribe people to do something in order to get a reward
ends up not giving you the result that you want. It ends up making people want to do
that activity less, not more. So, one of the first studies was all about children drawing
pictures. The children like drawing pictures. Give them crayons, they'll draw pictures.
Here's a question. What if you pay them to draw pictures? What happens then? Well, kids
like getting paid. So, paid plus drawing pictures must be just better. Well, it's not really
better. What happens is, it's true, the children draw more pictures, but the pictures definitely
appear to go down in aesthetic quality, right? So, you get more pictures that are bad. If
that's what you want, then maybe you're okay, maybe that's good for you. But the really
interesting part of the study is when they stopped paying. And if they have two control
groups, one where they don't pay them and one where they do, the group that they didn't
pay them, they have them draw pictures and afterwards, they still liked drawing pictures.
The group where you pay them and then you take the money away, they now become very
disinterested in drawing pictures. The idea that when you give someone rewards and prizes
for doing something; it sends a message that says, "This thing isn't worth doing unless
you have this other system in place," which is often the exact opposite of what people
are trying to intend when they--when they start giving you incentives and rewards in
order to get you start doing something. So, there's a lot you have to be careful about
there. And so, then you have a question. Well, wait a minute. What am I going to do? I love
this little video clip here from "School of Rock." See if we got audio. No, our audio
is not too good. Do you have a magic knob or something? No magic--well, maybe my master
volume here. >> [VIDEO CLIP]
>> SCHELL: Right. So, if you don't have all those things, you know, what are you going
to do, right? If you're like, "Hey, I want this kind of gamefication thing going on,"
but you don't have badges, you don't have gold stars, you don't have demerits, what
should you be doing? And is there an approach that makes any sense here? And there's a great
answer we found. And if you've found this book, "Glued to Games" by Scott Rigby and
Richard Ryan, this is kind of a summary of this thing called self-determination theory.
And they took it and applied self-determination theory which is, I think, one of the most
important revolutions in the--in human psychology and it--probably in the last 50 years. And
they applied it to games. And I'll talk through this a little bit because self-determination
theory isn't very well-known. One of the things people assume that games are all about fun,
right? If it's fun, it's good and if it's not fun, it's not good. And it's true that
fun is an important part of games, but it's not the only part of games and it's not even
the central part of games which is kind of surprising. And that's one of the things that
came out in some of--in some of Scott Rigby's research was that the things that keep people
coming back for games and predict long-lasting value in games aren't fun but are these other
properties that happen to be the central aspects of self-determination theory. So, let's just
talk through those real quick because it's pretty simple. The idea of self-determination
theory is that we have our physical needs, you know, that we all know about. You know,
you got to eat, you got to sleep and you got to breathe and all those things. But we also
have psychological needs. And self-determination theory posits that there are precisely three
psychological needs and then if you don't have these, you go kind of bat shit crazy,
right? So, these are these, the first one being competence. You have to feel like you're
good at something. If you don't feel like you're good at something in your life, you
become mentally unhealthy. Second one was autonomy. You want some freedom in what you
do. And then the third one is relatedness, you know, connecting to other people. And
if you have all three of these things, you have a good shot at being mentally healthy.
Now, the thing that's interesting to think about is this is--these three things are things
that games are really good at. Games are really good at making you feel competent, having
you find your right skill level and making you feel good at what you do. You have freedom
to do--play a game how you want to play it. And, in fact, a game compared to, say, work,
you can stop whenever you want and just walk away. You have--you have this huge level of
freedom in games. And most games are multiplayer games. In the--in the--in the grand history
of games, the majority of them are about connecting with other people. So games have an awful
lot of those things. So those are three definite things to look at when you're thinking about
this. And some people say, "Well now, wait a minute. I mean, do we really have to get
into all the psychology stuff? Games are just software systems." We make lots of software
systems. Games are a software system. We'll make some of those. It's just another system.
Who cares?" And you could look at it that way but there's some flaws with that approach.
And I love the--this example of the--of the big red button. Right? Say, you know, I said--told
you, "Guess what? I've got this new tax software, just came out. It's really cool. All you do
is you get this big red button and you push it, you know, you push it and boom, your taxes
are done. They're completely done. They're done--we--and we have verifiable proof that
they're done the best they could ever be done in the whole world." You'd probably think
that's probably a pretty good piece of tax software, right? Google might be sniffing
around that maybe we should acquire that company, right? But if I told you that, "Hey, you know,
big red button software, we have a new product. Everyone liked our tax thing so much, we decided
we'd go into games. We have a new game; it's called Angry Birds. And here's how it works.
You press the big red button, you win." And you'd say that's the worst game ever played.
It's terrible, right? So clearly, there's something very different between these two
types of applications. There's something really, really different. And you could say, "Well,
it's okay. I guess it has to do with the type of software." But it has nothing to do with
the software or the system. It has everything to do with the person who uses it. I have
a friend who loves doing taxes. He really gets into it. New tax codes come out, he wants
to read them all. He's all excited about it. When he does his taxes, he does them six or
seven different ways. You know, he'll--what if I do them this way, kind of optimizing
for long term and this way for short term? And it goes on and on and on. He does it long.
He thinks it's great. He loves it. He does his friends' taxes, right? But he hates video
games. If I made him play Angry Birds for an hour, he would just, "Whatever. All right,
I'll sit through it." Right? So the difference here is the difference between taxes, for
most people, are a Hafta thing; Angry Birds, for most people, is a Wanna thing. But that
has nothing to do with the thing; it has everything to do with the person who's doing it and what
they have to do versus what they want to do. So this is a very important idea, this Hafta
versus Wanna. And in terms of--when people talk about, "Oh, I want a gamify something,"
it's like I think what you mean is you want to move it from the Hafta column into the
Wanna column. So then how do you do that? So to examine this a little further, you know,
things that are Hafta, you know, those are things that are duty. I'm doing it because
I have to. Want to things tends to be fun. Work tends to be on the Hafta side, play tends
to be on the Wanna side. Slavery, yeah, that's probably on the Hafta side most cases, and
freedom, that fits the Wanna side which connects back to our self-determination theory there.
Efficiency, this is an important one. It's on the--it's on the Hafta side. And that was
one of the big revolutions, right? The industrial revolution was all about going from a survival
economy to an efficiency economy. And how do we make things more efficient so we can
do them better? But the thing you think about efficiency is you only care about it when
it's Hafta things. Nobody comes and says, "Hey, remember I told you I was going to take
a two-week vacation? I figured out how to get it down to six days." Right? Yeah. No.
It's--no, it's terrible. That's not what you want at all because efficiency is not what
you're seeking in a Wanna situation. You're optimizing for pleasure. You want to figure
how can I get the most pleasure into my vacation, not the smallest amount of time. Well, that's
something. But one of the big realizations I have recently about the nature of Hafta
and Wanna is things you have to do are things where you were avoiding a negative consequence.
You're avoiding pain and suffering. Things you want to do, your mind is seeking positive
consequence. And, you know, I talked to, you know, neuroscientist people, those are different
parts of the brain. And I think that's why this feels like such a big flip of a switch
when it happens. My friend who loves doing taxes, he's seeking positive consequences.
He's looking for that moment when everything lines up perfectly and he's got the little
optimized number and it just feels so good to see all that. Whereas me, I'm trying to
stay out of jail. That is the--that's the consequence I'm avoiding. Now, games fit into
this because, well, first of all, they're interactive and, you know, systems are interactive.
But the thing about games is they're designed entirely for pleasure. They don't have any
other purpose. If they're not pleasurable, they don't have any point, really. And so
more and more people have started to turn towards game designers as they've been realizing,
"Hey, I want to figure out how to put more pleasure into my system. I want to make my
thing more of a Wanna system. And hey, you game people, that's all you do. And games
have a lot of things that people like, right? I mean, they give you the sense of clear feedback.
They give you a sense of progress. There is the possibility of success definitely because,
you know, if the game is made, the game is winnable and you know that. Whereas in real
life, there's a lot of things we attempt; is it possible to succeed? You don't even
know. But with games, you know. Games give you mental exercise and physical exercise
and those are pleasurable. They give you a chance to satisfy your curiosity and a way
to solve problems, and we love solving problems. And they give you a feeling of freedom, like
we talked about. I mean, so there's a lot of things in games that we like. So when people
talked about gamifying things, I don't think they really mean and make it like games. They
generally mean "Give my thing these qualities." Those--some of those qualities that games
have, how do I get those into my system? Because one of the things that's changing in society,
you know, we went from survival economy to industrial economy. We're now moving from
industrial economy to a pleasure-based economy. People don't choose a food based on, hey,
which one is going to give me the optimal amount of calories and what's going to make
me survive through the winter? It's "What am I going to like the most?" When people
talk about work, used to be, it was, "Well, what job is going to pay the most?" Now, we
talk about, well, what's going to be the most fulfilling? I don't think in the 1950s career
satisfaction was like--I don't--well, I don't even know if that was a phrase back then but
now it's something that everybody talks about. We talk about it with school. Does school
have to be so terrible? Does it really have to be so painful? Does it have to be such
a Hafta? Can we make it into something where kids actually want to go and enjoy it? And
even shopping, things like cars. Look at the car ads. There's a few of them that are like,
"Yeah, check out our awesome gas mileage." Well, that's kind of about efficiency, but
most of them are about, "Oh man, it feels so great to drive this car, and you'll feel
so important when you drive this car. And really cool people drive this car, and you're
one of them, right?" It's all about other kinds of pleasures that you pick. Okay. That's
just the slides, so don't worry about that. Someone designed this and probably not someone,
probably 40 dudes over eight months arguing around conference tables. You know, should
it be stop or should it be halt? You know and it's a big thing. This was designed--people
said this is the best way that we can provide this information to people. This was a decision
that was made. This is the best optimal way to provide information about problems with
your computer. That's what error messages used to look like. Now that we're in kind
of a more pleasure-based economy, that's what error messages look like, right? How do we
take this horrible moment where our customers actually showed up to use your thing and your
thing doesn't work at all? How do we make that into something a little pleasurable?
Well, they at least gave it a shot. And because the thing, pleasure is like really powerful,
right? It's--you know, it's avoiding pain and seeking pleasure everything that drive
us as human beings. And our minds know this, so they keep pleasure kind of away from us.
They make us do useful things in order--in order to get it. So it's tricky and it's very
complex. Pleasure is not just a simple thing. It's not just pushing a button for somebody
because we adapt to things that are pleasurable and then soon, they're not pleasurable anymore.
And so, if you're serious about I'm going to make my system more pleasurable, you have
to kind of step up to the complexity of that. And part of the complexity is context. People
often don't realize how much of pleasure is contextual. People will point to something
like, say, the frequent flyer miles and they'll say, you know, "Hey, frequent flyer miles,
look, they got--they got points they give you and they got badges and they got prizes
and they got levels and it works great. We'll, just take the frequent flyer system and we'll
put it in our system and it'll great because their thing has worked for 30 years and it's
amazing and it's great. We just need to do the same thing." But the thing you have to
think about is how contextual this is. Most people to whom the frequent flyer program
is useful is mostly who? It's business travelers, right? So, now you think about the mindset
of your business traveler, right? The business traveler is very, very status-oriented. The
reason he's going on this trip is because he's got to go make a sale or give a talk
or do something where he's got to feel important. He's psyching himself up about "I can do this.
This is--this is the thing where I'm going to feel important." And what do you know?
Here's the airline company right here who says, "Hey, you know what? We see that you
fly a lot; that means you're important." You know if you fly with us a lot, we're going
to--we're going to reinforce that, how important you are. We're going to call you--you know
you're going to be Mr. Platinum, right?" And you're like, "Yeah, I'm important. I'm Mr.
Platinum." And we're going to let you get on the plane first which is cool and slightly
convenient but everyone gets to see you standing there. It makes you feel really important
and better than that, they get to see you get on and then they get on and then they
have to walk past you. They could have put first class in the back, right? There's those
reasons you could've done it. But they put it in the front so everyone walks past and
everyone can see you and so you get this double sense of feeling important. So the whole thing
is about, you know, status and feeling important. Now if I took the same system and I said,
"Yeah, this works so great, we're going to use it at Toys 'R' Us, right?" And you go
to Toys 'R' Us and it's like, "Hey, come on in. You spend so much money here, you're now
a platinum level toy buyer. Good job." You'd be like, "What? Oh, my God. I have a problem.
I need to spend less money at this place. This is terrible." Right? Because, you know,
it's a different context. It's a context where it wouldn't make sense. So then you take the
opposite context of the--of the frequent flyer thing like the grocery store. No one's going
around the grocery store like, "I'm a platinum level grocery buyer," because that--no, you're
not thinking about how important you are at the grocery store. At the grocery store, you
have a totally different mindset. You're trying to buy peanut butter and there's these three
peanut butter companies and they're all trying to trick you and rob you with their stupid
little tricks, right? This one, it used to be a 16-ounce jar, now it's a 14-ounce jar
but it stayed the same price, right? This one is $3.59 for 14-ounces and this one is
$3.79 for 17-ounces. And you're sitting there, trying to figure out, "God, how am I not going
to get ripped off by the peanut butter company?" Not that you care about saving three cents,
you just don't want to be a chump. Right? So you're sitting there trying to figure out
these pennies and your mind is in this kind of save-a-penny mindset. So when the--when
the grocery store says to you, "Hey, guess what? If you shop here a lot, you'll save
10 cents on your gasoline." You're like, "Yes, 10 cents on my gasoline! That's awesome!"
If you're at the airport and they're like, "Hey, you fly a lot. You can save 10 cents
on gasoline," you'd be like, "I don't need that. I'm too important to worry about 10
cents on gasoline." But it works really well for them because they know the context. So,
to make these things work, you have to understand the context. So, we talked about self-determination
theory and you'd think "Man, let's just go and get all the psychology stuff. Let's dig
it all up. Let's find, you know, find out what the psychologists know and then we'll
understand this all because the psychologists must know this is the best, right? That's
what they do. They know the human mind and therefore, they must know everything about
it. Let's just bring them in here, have them consult on our product. It will be solved."
The problem with this, unfortunately, is the psychologists don't seem to know much about
this. Psychologists, their focus tends to be on preventing suffering and predicting
behavior. In terms of creating human pleasure, they--that doesn't seem to be a priority for
them. And if you don't believe me, go to their parties. I've been to their parties and I
can draw only one of two conclusions. Either they don't understand about human pleasure
or they just don't care about human pleasure. If either of those things is true, they can
only be helpful to us to a certain point. So, if you're going to try and figure out
ways to kind of put pleasure into your products, you've got to go much further a field and
find people who know more about it because there are so many kinds, so many kinds of
pleasure, right? I mean, here's a bunch of them here and you can see how different these
all are from each other and they're all pleasurable. And every time I've tried to make lists of
all the different kinds of pleasures, there's always more. There's always something, something,
something more, right? I had a friend who, you know, I was making lists and I'm like,
"What do you think of this list?" And she's like, "Well, it's pretty good but there's
so many things not on here." I'm like, "Well, what's not on here?" She's like, "Well, like,
you know, I love doing craft projects." I'm like, "I got that there. I got expressions."
She's like, "No, no, no, I don't mean that. I mean like I'm doing craft projects and a
lot of times, you get glue on your fingers and it dries and then you got to pick off?"
I'm like, "Yeah, so what?" She's like, "I really--I really kind of like that when you
pick that off. It's really, I just--I really love that; I don't know why. I'm just--and
sometimes when I'm on the phone, I'll just be bored on the phone, I'll take out the glue--I
don't even know I'm doing it. I put the glue on my fingers and wait for it to dry and then
I start picking it off." And I'm like, "Well, yeah, okay, pleasure is apparently complex
and multilayered and there's' many, many kinds." And so that's part of what you have to do,
you have to look and understand the many different kinds that are there. And so one of the things
that I say, is people say, "Oh, I want to gamify everything," I'm like, "Do you? Do
you really?" I think maybe you don't mean that. I think maybe you really mean you want
a pleasurize your experience is really what you're saying. And if you want to get more
scientific about it, maybe you'd say you want to improve the motivation of design of your--of
your experience. You want to change the experience so that people are motivated to do it in new
ways and in different ways than they were before. So in short, you can make your experiences
better. You can do it, and all you have to do is ask yourself some simple questions.
Given what I know about my guests--and I like to say guests. I know some people say users,
I know that's the computer science thing to say users but there's only two industries
that say users, the computer science people and the illicit drug trade. They're the only
ones. And so I like to step over and say guests because I think it's a little more respectful.
So given what I know about my guests, why will they like this experience and then how
can I get them to it more? If you focus on those two ideas, "What are they like? How
can I get then to like it more?" you can find ways to make it better. And that's all I have.
Thank you very much. Do I have time for questions, Matt?
>> LANDIS: Yes. >> SCHELL: All right.
>> LANDIS: Are there any questions on the VC grid?
>> Question on VC. Okay, so anyone, VC? >> LANDIS: Yes.
>> SCHELL: Yeah. >> All right. So there's a book by Steven
Johnson called "Everything Bad Is Good For You."
>> SCHELL: Yeah, yeah. >> [INDISTINCT] it's about how we are learning
more and more from the end zone is often without knowing it. And I'd like to hear your opinion
on gamifying learning design and if it's--if you picture people see it as a gimmick or
an opportunity to learn more while it is having fun, is it?
>> SCHELL: I call it a Gimmick-tunity. Yeah. No, I have read that book. It's a really great
book. I mean, it's--for people who haven't read that book, it's a fascinating argument.
What he's looking at is the fact that IQ has been going up steadily for the last 60 years.
And why? Is it because our schools are getting awesomer and awesomer? And he argues that,
no, he argues that it's popular culture. TV shows are getting more and more complicated
and the appearance of games and many other things are making us smarter and smarter.
So this is something everybody is--all the people in the educational space are looking
at and trying to figure out. And unfortunately, on some level, there are aspects that are
gimmicky because a lot of people focusing on it are like, well, I just want something
shiny that's going to help me sell my new digital textbooks. But on another level, people
understand that engagement makes for better education. I mean, it's almost obvious that
if you're engaged with what you're trying to learn, you're going to learn it better.
And so, this now gets into this hard question of if you're really going to do this well
and properly, you have to understand what does engage people, what engages them in the
right ways that they're going to become engaged with the material. And part of the reason
this thing is so hard is because typically, it sounds weird to say this, but most educators
don't really know what they're trying to do. They--if you ask them, you know, specific
questions about, what is it? How do you want to students to be different at the end of
this? You know, a lot of them just retreat to, "Well, I want them to know the material
in this book," but that's not really--that's not really what these things are about. Algebra
is not about knowing the specifics of algebra. Algebra is about learning to think in a fundamentally
new way. Anyway, when--the key thing when it comes down to creating meaningful educational
software and trying to--how to figure out how do you sort of add pleasure to education
is you have to look at what is it that I'm trying to get across and what are the problems
with it, what are the walls that people are having. Because if you have something that's
easy to learn and everybody can do it anyway, you don't need to change it. But if you have
things where people are hitting walls and they are bored with it and it is painful to
do, those are the things you want to--that you want to fix. And it's very complicated
because you got to avoid all that stuff about if you give rewards the wrong way, people
are going to get less out of it. The--what I find are it's all about tricks, in a sense,
to get people to think about it and then to be more engaged. In other words, when you're
doing it right, you're inspiring the curiosity of the--of the students. Curiosity ends up,
I think, being central to most of the improved education.
>> Okay. Thank you. >> SCHELL: Sure. I don't know if they set
the microphone so he wins. >> Just--there we go. I want to latch onto
your peanut butter example because it seems to be a little bit inconsistent with your
concluding slide even though it's consistent with the overall message. When you--when you're
shopping for peanut butter, you're trying not to get robbed.
>> SCHELL: Yeah. >> There is nothing pleasurable that you get
to latch onto and [INDISTINCT] >> SCHELL: Nothing?
>> No, you're avoiding the negative consequence [INDISTINCT]
>> SCHELL: Well, I get--well, I guess the one thing I'd argue about it, the thing--the
thing I'd argue for is, is it, yeah, I'm avoiding the negative consequence of getting screwed
but when I beat those jerks, yes, and I--yes, I figured you jerks out and I won. I won the
battle against the peanut butter. So there is a little bit a chance of something there
but, yeah, mostly it's not good. >> Okay.
>> SCHELL: But I'm sorry, where were you going with this?
>> Well, where I was going with it was it that it seemed that the conclusion was a bit
more general finding what your guest finds pleasurable and trying to enhance that. It's
more like finding what your guest is trying to accomplish and get your guest to do related
things, so a pleasure is part of that. That's very important than some challenge that needs
to be overcome and you're just going to grit your teeth and do it and be proud of yourself.
But one way to phrase it is when it's going to be pleasurable when you overcame the challenge.
But maybe another way to phrase it is, well, you're trying really hard to accomplish this
thing and if I could maybe [INDISTINCT] so I just--I wonder if pleasure is really the
central idea here,, much like people would assume that [INDISTINCT]
>> SCHELL: I think--I continue to find that I think pleasure really is sort of central
to it. I mean, just in the example of the--of the grocery store, when we know there's a
lot of things that are not pleasurable about grocery shopping and to the extent you can
kind of take the bad things away, you know, that's--you certainly want to do that. But
then a lot of it comes from sort of looking at the context of grocery shopping, what's
in people's minds and then--and what can you do to sort of add to it. Now, there's parts
of it that get a little dark particularly in retail space. People are often shopping
when they're--when they're hungry, for example, and there's lot of ways you can trick them.
And the reason we have so many impulse buys, right, near the edge is because, you know,
you're susceptible to those in a way you weren't before. It's more--it's more pleasurable at
that moment to kind of indulge in those than it was, you know, at the beginning, and sometimes
it's selling junk you don't need. But still, like from the--from the point of view of the
grocery store's mission, that's where a lot of their focus ends up--ends up being.
>> Thank you. >> SCHELL: Sure. Yeah, Daniel.
>> [INDISTINCT] >> SCHELL: I think--I think it will help the
grand transcription--Google will have more data if you speak into that microphone, in
other words. >> Right. So the question is how do you, you
know, avoid when you're trying to get more pleasurable things into the programs or whatever?
Well, doing all these kinds of perennial thing, the--I would say, play a game, you have like
10 achievements. You achieve them all, you feel really great about yourself. The next
thing, you will have the [INDISTINCT] achievements but then when you get to [INDISTINCT] there
are like millions of them over there, and no, [INDISTINCT] there's kind of an inflation
thing. >> SCHELL: Yeah.
>> And that's perennial that you need to change it a bit more and more at the time. So you
get to a point that they don't really care about any of this techniques and...
>> SCHELL: Right, right. >> How do you avoid and created a content
where the user stays--or you stay ahead of this inflation?
>> SCHELL: Yeah, well, I don't know if it's a thing you can always stay ahead of. So it's
partly--we've talked about the business of--our brains are good at adapting to reward systems,
right? One of the--because one of the things we know is variable rewards are always better
than fixed rewards. That's like an old psychology thing. And the concrete example would be let's
say you bring bagels to work, right? You say, "I'm going to start bringing bagels to work,"
and every Friday, you bring bagels to work. The first Friday, everyone is like, "Whoa,
bagels. This is awesome." And then next Friday, "Hey, cool. Bagels." And then the Friday after
that, "Hey, there's the bagels, I like that." And then like by the 6th Friday, like, everyone
is just like, "Oh, yeah, there's the bagels." And then the 7th Friday, you forget and you
don't bring the bagels. And then people are like, "Where's the--oh, you jerk. There's
no bagels." Right? So it's turned into a punishment. This thing was supposed to be a reward. If
instead of make--doing them on a regular basis where everyone acclimatizes to it, you bring
them the same amount of times, say, four times a month, but at random times. Then every time,
it's like, "Oh, bagels, I didn't expect that," and it's always a pleasant surprise. So when
you talk about these sort of badge systems, it's exciting like first time you get the
10 badges and [MAKES SOUND] level up, and you're like, "Yeah, I achieved it." Well,
if I give you another 10 and it's the same difficulty, you're like, "I know I can do
that." I mean, it's not exciting because the question, again, gets back to curiosity, that
when someone gives you a challenge, the challenge is interesting when you're not sure if you
can solve it. If you know you can solve it, it's boring. It's like "Uh-hmm, can I do this?
I don't know." And then you do it, "Yes, I can do it." If I give it to you again, I know
I can do that. I don't--sure, I'll do it, but it doesn't matter. And so what they do
is like, "Oh, you did 10? Well, can do 20?" And then, "Well, maybe I can." But then soon
it gets so onerous, it's like, "Can I--can you do a million?" I could, but God, it would
take forever to get--I'd get so sick of it just trying to get there." And then you walk
away from the whole thing because you're trying to find ways to modify it. So the key is to
find ways to modify things that gives surprises without having them, you know, grow in suffering
and pain. And that's a difficult thing to do. But it, you know, in short, systems like
that can burn themselves out. I mean, there's no--there's no two ways about it. The question,
I think, is "What do you give the rewards for?" If you give someone new challenges and
new things to do and use the same reward structure then that works fine.
>> We have one more. >> Sure. Okay.
>> So this is a bit of selfish question. I have four children, sort of in elementary
ages. >> SCHELL: I don't to baby sitting so--okay.
>> [INDISTINCT] so what is--can you help me understand a little bit about this thing edutainment,
if that's the appropriate term. Software [INDISTINCT] anecdotal on this is that it's really pretty
easy these days to make games but probably really hard to make good game, so they go
looking for things that sort of are, you know, subject matter appropriate for what I want.
>> SCHELL: Yeah. >> And I find lots and lots of crap.
>> SCHELL: Sure. >> So is that I'm not looking in the right
places? Is edutainment something that... >> SCHELL: How old are your kids?
>> Everywhere from preschool, 3 to 10. >> SCHELL: There's a ton of great stuff for
ages like three through six and most of it is living on the iPad is where most of it
is living right now. There's a--there's a ton of excellent stuff there. Now, unfortunately,
Apple doesn't seem to much care about review systems.
>> Right. >> SCHELL: And so that it's very difficult
to find a quality filter, but there's definitely for the--for the younger kids, there really
is some just world class stuff. The problem after you get past age six is the market is
kind of screwed up, because before age six or before age seven really, before the age
of wisdom, before the age when children really learn the devil's word, you know, "No," you
know, if you go to a five-year-old and you say, "Hey, you should check this game," they'd
be like, "Oh, sure, okay, I'll play this game, whatever." You go to an eight-year-old and
say, "Hey, check out this game," they'll be like, "Nope, not interested in that. That's
not what the kids in school are playing. No, I got this other thing I want. Let's do this
thing." And so what happens is the parents can kind of inflict all kinds of educational
software on their kids before that, but after that, particularly once the kids are in school,
they're like, "Man, I've been in school all day, you're going to hit me with more school?
You get out of here with that." They want to do things that are just, you know, sort
of far away from that. So that's part of the challenge. So--but the, again, the best quality
stuff, I've been saying it, even to some extent creeping up a little older is on the iPad
because they can just--the market economics sort of support that. You just got to find
it; that's the hard part. >> Yes, that's true. How do you find it?
>> SCHELL: You poke around on forums, ask other people. I can send you a list of some
that I think are great. Anything that--anything that Duck Duck Moose or Nosey Crow makes is
totally topnotch. And there's a--there's a thing that--Children's Technology Review,
I don't know if you've ever seen that. Children's Technology Review is a great review of soft
of--software for kids and partly entertainment, partly educational, that thing is a real great
guideline for what's good for kids. >> Great. Thanks?
>> SCHELL: Anything else? >> I think we'll wrap it up. Thanks very much.
>> SCHELL: All right. Thank you for having me.