Microsoft is playing games

Microsoft is playing games

Summary: Microsoft is turning to gamification inside and outside the company to increase employee and user feedback and awareness on a variety of fronts.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Microsoft
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Yes, it's a leading headline, and one with so many possible interpretations. But Microsoft teams really are playing games -- in the sense of gamification kinds of games.

Microsoft execs have talked up some of these games, like its Ribbon Hero one that is used to help teach users about the much loved and hated Ribbon interface that's part of Office. But there are lots more where Ribbon Hero came from.

Gamasutra blogged on August 29 about last week's "Serious Play" conference, where productivity games were the topic du jour. At that show, "Donald Brinkman, who manages programs in digital humanities, digital heritage and games for learning at Microsoft Research," and Ross Smith, director of test at Microsoft, shared stories of the company's efforts in this arena, both across the enterprise and outside of the corporation," according to the blog post.

"Elevation of Privilege" is an internally-used threat assessment game. Microsoft is making the game available as a free download under a Creative Commons license. The pair also discussed "Communicate Hope," which aided the development of Microsoft's Office Communicator, the precursor to Microsoft Lync. Communicate Hope was about getting users to provide feedback on the product design and usability and to submit bugs.

While we're on the topic of game playing, I received an interesting tip from reader Samuel Jack this week about Microsoft's own GameFest conference. I blogged earlier this summer that Microsoft was set to talk about new Visual Studio tools for graphics developers. Well, it looks like that session was pulled from last week's agenda in the eleventh hour. I'm guessing Microsoft might be holding off on sharing more on this until Build, where all will be revealed (as we keep hearing).

One more (vaguely) game-related tidbit: Microsoft Hong Kong is trying out a gamification-style approach to fighting piracy with a new interactive video that allows audiences to direct the routes to escape for some SMB execs who were duped into buying by non-Genuine software. (Different decisions lead to different story lines). The new "Dream Break" campaign was created by Microsoft Hong Kong in association with Agenda Hong Kong's Social Creative Lab.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Microsoft is playing games

    Microsoft always played a games like that. Nothing special! And also about their <br><a href="http://betawindows8.com">Windows 8</a> that some leaked their files..
    ceva90
  • RE: Microsoft is playing games

    One could argue they are playing a good game of Solitaire. :)
    windowseat
  • RE: Microsoft is playing games

    Yeah exectly. They are smart and they know how to play :)
    ceva90
  • RE: Microsoft is playing games

    Ribbon Hero is undoubtedly the saddest game ever.
    josjoskens@...
  • RE: Microsoft is playing games

    i cant believe this,me and my friend just got two i-phones for $43.78 each and a $25 gift card for $4the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell yougo here http://grabpenny.com
    HankDejesus
  • Expression getting the Blender?

    One of my nonsensical theories to explain Microsoft's silent treatment of WPF/Silverlight in Windows 8 was that behind the scenes they're taking an axe to Expression Studio, and incorporating the tools fully into VS.Next. That might have justified, in their minds, a need for silence to prevent an early exodus from Expression, hold off on details until everything was fully baked (or at least in the oven), and to make the announcement at Build more grandiose.

    Now that they've canceled their VS.Next tools for graphics developers session from GameFest, I'm feeling my theory might not have been so nonsensical after all. Still a long leap, but I think it would be the right move to greatly increase adoption of WPF, Silverlight, and HTML5 by developers who don't enjoy switching between tools just to get the first-rate design canvas.
    scH4MMER
  • RE: Microsoft is playing games

    Hi - This is Victoria from Microsoft Learning. A really fun game that you didn't have on your list is the IT challenge in a gameshow format "AreYouCertifiable" game located at microsoft.com/click/areyoucertifiable. It's a compilation of questions starting with the Fundamentals (entry level technology that map to Microsoft Technology Associate exams) and working up to more challenging questions that map to an IT Pro or IT Dev exam. Lots of folks out there have mad IT / Dev skills and don't realize that they are already prepared to pass a Microsoft exam and earn their Microsoft Certification. This is a great way to test your readiness and earn bragging rights among your geeky friends!
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  • RE: Microsoft is playing games

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