There’s a concept around finite and infinite games. A finite game is played to win whereas an infinite game is played for the purpose of continuing.
I like to think of Monopoly as an infinite game. I’ve never been able to complete the game, and I’ve yet to meet anyone that can tell me any different. That is unlike a game like snakes and ladders, which ends in a short time as long as you can avoid that horrible snake at number 99 which sends you tumbling back all the way to 3.
What does this have to do with VR or AR or the metaverse as people are referring to it?
I’ve come to the realisation that for too long, the virtual world was considered something only for gamers. But you know the problem with video games? They’re all finite – you go on, complete some levels, and finish. The end.
And that’s where I think it’s important to pay attention to things like the metaverse or other virtual reality / augmented reality technologies.
I grew up in the real world
Yes, I can hear the cries of “get off my lawn”. I too grew up in a world without mobile phones or the internet and rode bicycles over makeshift ramps without helmets etc etc.
But think about how much technology we’ve adopted and have allowed into our lives.
Once I went to a DC4420 meetup in London. I was showing someone my camera and someone got very jumpy about it, claiming that this was a “camera-free” zone and that it’s not allowed and some people don’t like to be on camera.
So I took his photograph and posted it on Facebook with the caption, “anyone lost this child?”
Actually, I didn’t I just put my camera back and gave that half smile and nod you give to that argumentative relative just to get them to go away because it’s not worth arguing.
Anyway, I wonder how that person feels these days with everyone carrying around a 4k camera on their phone, houses with CCTV and ring doorbells, cars with dashcams, cyclists and motorcyclists with Go Pro’s on their helmets which make them look like some Teletubbies who went under a low bridge and half their head antenna got cut off.
COVID19 set about sending us all home – so we could no longer wander into a meeting room and try to grab a nice donut before your colleagues came in and devoured them all like a pack of vultures. Nope, it’s all about sitting at home balancing the laptop on your dining table, trying to look presentable from the waist up.
Fitbit All the Things
Things change, times change, we adapt slowly – we’re all frogs getting boiled slowly and forget how much of technology we’ve already allowed to come into our lives.
That’s neither a good or a bad thing. But I really can’t wrap my head around kids that opt to have their birthday parties on Roblox.
But maybe that’s where we’ve been thinking of this wrong. VR / AR isn’t just for people playing a game – it’s for infinite applications.
I remember being first told about a Fitbit many years ago. Step counters weren’t really well known and Fitbit was one of the first in the market. A friend told me that it “gamifies” walking. Which to me sounded about as exciting as someone saying watching grass grow is a fun way to spend the weekend. Well, it could be worse, I suppose you could play golf.
But once I got a step counter, I saw what he meant, it really did feel like a target I needed to hit every single day.
Which raises the question – what if you could gamify all things, like how Fitbit gamified steps?
Making breakfast becomes a game, how quickly you make your bed becomes a game, how long you can listen to a vendor presentation without wanting to take a power drill to your forehead becomes a game. It’s all rather wonderful and excitable.
But yeah, nobody is going to wear those stupid VR headsets all day or carry their phone around looking at their screen… or are they?
I think this short film was way way ahead of its time. It features AR built into some kind of futuristic contact lens (or even your eyes) which gamifies everything from chopping a cucumber, decorating your room, paying your bills, and even being a wingman on a date. It’s well worth checking out and probably putting in an early order with Zuckerberg.