Yesterday I gave my Research + Design keynote at GDC on the topic of "The Future of Collective Play."
CNET has a great summary of the talk in "Future games to harness gamers' collective wisdom".
Rather than posting complete notes from the talk here myself, I'll just excerpt from the intro and point to the online slides in a day or so from this blog:
Today, I’m going to talk to you about the future of collective play. By "future of collective play", I mean two things: first, the new kinds of collaborative games we might pioneer over the next decade, and second: the real-world future we might build for ourselves by playing more collectively.
Last fall, I left my position as lead designer at 42 Entertainment, a commercial game development company, to become the resident game designer for the Institute for the Future— an independent nonprofit research group based in Palo Alto. As a result, I am now officially the first person in the world to claim in my daily job description that “I design games from the future.” But, what exactly does it mean to design games from the future?
At the Institute, we develop long-term future forecasts to help companies, government agencies, and private foundations make better decisions today about the uncertain future. We create detailed, plausible, and internally consistent scenarios of how important emerging trends today might intersect and play out over the next decade. So, as the Institute’s new resident game designer, I spend a lot of time these days thinking about two questions: First, how are the specific kinds of games we choose to design and to play today most likely to impact our future culture? And second, what kinds of games will we need to play in the future in order to learn whatever social, technological, and organization skills emerge as the guiding principles of global culture?
Today, I’m going to argue that over the next ten years, a particular kind of digital game-- the massively collaborative puzzle genre known as alternate reality gaming -- will become increasingly important as both a way to imagine and engineer a best-case scenario future. Alternate reality gaming will also assume the role of a central cultural activity teaches and trains us to be successful and ethical actors in a global, networked culture--particulary as that culture is increasingly chaotic, democratic, commercial and cooperative.
So the problem I want to consider today is this: Can a computer game teach collective intelligence? I believe the answer to this question is absolutely, yes—and moreover, I believe that collective intelligence is the single most important thing we can be teaching through serious games as we attempt to build a better future, and to prepare for its uncertain challenges. Of course, this problem begs several additional questions: namely, why should we care about teaching collective intelligence? Who should be taught CI? How, exactly, does an alternate reality game teach CI? And, finally, what kind of future will we shape by playing alternate reality games?
[Come back in a couple days for the slides for the rest of the talk!]