Gamification coming to the 2011 Game Developers Conference

In a sign that it’s becoming more of an issue for mainstream video game developers, the 2011 edition of the Game Developer’s Conference is setting aside a day to discuss the topic of gamification.Held in San Francisco each spring (with several offshoots in other cities during the year), GDC is expected to attract about 18,000 attendees from companies as diverse as Nintendo, Zynga, and Apple.

In a sign that it’s becoming more of an issue for mainstream video game developers, the 2011 edition of the Game Developer’s Conference is setting aside a day to discuss the topic of gamification.

Held in San Francisco each spring (with several offshoots in other cities during the year), GDC is expected to attract about 18,000 attendees from companies as diverse as Nintendo, Zynga, and Apple. The show runs from February 28 through March 4, and is held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

During the Gamification summit on Tuesday, March 1, several events and discussions are planned, including:

The Great Gamification Debate: A contentious big-picture debate, featuring Schell Games’ Jesse Schell, the Institute for the Future’s Jane McGonigal, Playmatics’ Margaret Wallace, Digitalmill’s Ben Sawyer, and The Inspiracy’s Noah Falstein.

Hyperlocal Game Design: Connecting Social Currency to Real World Currency: A panel discussing Macon Money, a social game about the real-life city of Macon, GA that links in-game currency with currency players can spend at real-world local businesses.

Gamification and Education: Seth Cooper and Zoran Popovic, of the University of Washington and creators of Foldit, a protein-folding application with gamification features, will discuss three new games being developed at the Center for Game Science, and built around teaching math, biochemistry, and 3D world construction.

Just as mainstream video game developers have been behind the ball on accepting social and casual games, the idea of gamification can also be a controversial one for those in the game industry more comfortable with shooter sequels and sports franchises. I'm glad to see gamification get a seat at the table during this high-profile event.