Gamification of Everyday Life – Is it safe?

The 1990’s was a decade in which Tamagotchis’, Furbies’ and Beanie Babies were the toys that every child had to have. The Macarena dance and Aqua’s Barbie Girl were the rave at the clubs. But, as the nineties progressed many fads came and went but one that stayed popular, even to this day, is Pokémon. Children everywhere aspired to be ‘the very best like no one ever was’ (Loeffler & Siegler 1999). But Pokémon didn’t feel real, until Pokémon Go was released.

Pokémon Go was released by augmented reality company Niantic, in July of 2016. Pokémon Go is a mobile application that allows users to engage with the popular series Pokémon, whilst completing their daily exercise. Researchers from Deakin University state that Pokémon Go ‘is taking us out of our living rooms and into real-life streets to roam as we play’ (How Pokemon Go is transforming gaming  2016). This type of application comes under the theory of ‘gamification‘.

(I have provided a link to a blog post by Dr. Adam Brown, from Deakin University, where he provides insight into ‘Motivation and the Rewards’ associated with gamification).

According to Kim (2015, p. 5), ‘Gamification is not quite creating a game but [it] transfers some of the positive [and motivating] characteristics of a game to something that is not a game’. The game like characteristics that are elements of Pokémon Go are great to motivate us to exercise but what about being tracked whilst playing the game. The first time I played the game, I questioned the use of tracking and checking in, and where is this geo-location data going and what is it being used for.

The game uses real locations and appeals to youngsters and kidults (McCartney 2016). McCartney (2016) asserts that ‘the game draws people to real places [and is] making it easy for criminals to spot [points of interest]’. The games use of point of interest technology allows for users to be victimised.

Recently, three teenagers were robbed at gunpoint in London because they were playing Pokémon Go. The Guardian reports that because of ‘its popularity, safety fears have been sparked’ (Khomami 2016). There is also fears of terrorism being an issue associated with the app, as terrorists aim for big groups of people. Also, conspiracy theories are arising that associates links to the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and to Pokémon Go’s app surveillance.

 

Referring back to my earlier point of me questioning where the location data is going. According to Pokémon Go’s Privacy Policy, they collect and store our information about our location when we use the location services in the app. A big part of the policy states that you understand and agree to the app collecting data of your location.

This data will then be shared with third parties associated with the app, like the Pokémon Company and other providers that provide services to Pokémon Go. This is why it is vital to making sure you read the terms and conditions of every account you create. I will go on and speak about this in my next blog post on terms of use [link to follow].

I enjoy using Pokémon Go and engaging with the Pokémon world, but I am always sceptical about the other ramifications that are associated with it.

#TeamBulbasaur

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Bulbasaur in Tottori 1 (Tottori Sand Dune) by Kasadera (CC-BY 2.0)

~Reid~

 

, How Pokemon Go is transforming gaming 2016, Deakin University, retrieved 16 Jul 2016, <http://this.deakin.edu.au/culture/how-pokemon-go-is-transforming-gaming?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=This>.

Khomami, N 2016, ‘Pokémon Go: London players robbed of phones at gunpoint’, The Guardian [Online Content], <https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/30/three-pokemon-go-players-robbed-of-phones-at-gunpoint-in-london>.

Kim, B 2015, ‘The popularity of gamification in the mobile and social era’, Library Technology Reports, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 5-9.

Loeffler, J & Siegler, J 1999, Pokémon Theme.

McCartney, M 2016, ‘Margaret McCartney: Game on for Pokémon Go’, BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online content), p. 1.

 

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17 Comments

  1. This blog post was incredibly engaging and highly topical at the present time. The way you included both benefits and detriments of using the Pokemon Go app was very effective, and the way you applied it to gamification and our unit was very well done.
    I think you could break up some of the larger chunks of text just to make it easier to read, and add emphasis on the important parts of the quotes you utilised rather than including the whole things. Your active hyperlinks were very useful but I think your images could be more relevant and effective, though they were referenced correctly.
    Your scholarly sources were excellent, and I liked the conclusion which made me anxious to read the following blog post. Great work!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Reid, I enjoyed your blog as it covers an issue that is so relevant and topical right now. I was amazed by the hype a while ago when Pokemon Go! was first released in Australia. I must admit, having my kids ask ME to go for a walk is definitely one of the benefits. On the other hand, I am aware that by accepting their terms you open up your movements/information to be accessed by third parties. Just how often do we read the fine print though before pressing the ‘accept’ button, just so we can get to the game/app faster? Great use of tweets and images, although I challenge you to take some of your own pictures to mix it up with the ones from Creative Commons. Keep up the blogging. Joe.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi there Reid,
    Firstly I would just like to say that your post looks very well researched and thought out. You did a great job in making it fun and engaging and easy to read. Your use of embedded tweets and hyperlinks was really done well. The ‘Rewards’ image that you used in your post, when you were talking about gamification, I feel instead of using an image for “rewards” maybe you could have used an image showing ‘gamification’ in your life which might be more relevant to your topic. In saying that, you did a great job of using creative common licensed material and your referencing was done really well too! Just a quick thought, as your topic was gamification in everyday life, maybe you could add some gamification experiences in your own everyday life and tell us how safe or unsafe you felt.
    Well Done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Reid, great blog post! Really engaging read and very relevant considering the latest craze: Pokémon Go… although personally I can’t say I got involved in it. The research conducted was great, I found it relevant and really worked to back up the points you were making, you can tell a high level of research went into the post. I like the inclusion of embedded tweets; they worked well with the piece and worked as a great way to break up the text within the post. My only piece of advice would be to mix up a few of the CC images as something more skewed at gamification over a rewards graphic may fit the piece better. Overall great blog post, it was really engaging and interesting. I look forward to your future posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Reid,

    This is a really interesting article in terms of how ‘they’ take advantage of what people are interested in. Surely, Pokemon Go is a surprise, a masterpiece, it is a real life creation of the next big culture and/or movement for people in 21st century. Though from its popularity, comes an ‘unsurprising’ motive behind its production. This refers to some of the concerns that you have clearly stated in the writing. For the next blog post, it might be interesting to look at some of the future example of how apps such as Pokemon Go and others would shape the economy and the movement of people. I think it is anticipated for companies to take advantage of these kinds of augmented reality apps to drive potential customers into their bases (shops, restaurants, etc.).

    Overall, a great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Reid,

    This is a really good blog post, it was structured well and built upon itself nicely, very excellent story telling. I never got the ‘hypo-fear’ around Pokémon Go, I’d assume the geolocation data is so it can show a map?

    I found the opening sentence a little awkward and forced; if you were the ultimate ‘Pokémon kid’, how about an anecdotal introduction? I like the YouTube clip, but could this have been embedded instead of a link? Quoted song lyrics should be referenced. There is a video uploaded by Jason Paige (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCkeLBGSINs); it rolled around on YouTube’s auto-play and he is a very visual performer, lol.

    Rob 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rob for the feedback, will re-write the opening paragraph. The reason I didn’t embed the video, is because it isn’t my own work or under Creative Commons, in case I used it for assessment purposes.

      Like

  7. Hey Reid,
    First off I would like to say that your post is structured really well and reads very easily.
    Using current examples such as Pokémon GO! was a great was to get the reader engaged in the post. You have obviously done a fair bit of research into the area and this is evident in this post. The tweets you have linked into the post work really well to keep the reader engaged and give them more content to explore. It’s great that you have used active hyperlinks in your text as these are a great way for the reader to stay engaged and explore further content also.
    The use of images work well in this post and make it more engaging, however I would have liked to have seen a video relating to the area and we all know who has done videos on the topic, *cough* Adam *cough*
    Overall a great blog post and a great example for the assessment.
    Cheers Kurtis.

    Like

  8. Hi Reid

    I loved the humour in your article, plus the addition of Emoji’s that you have introduced to article, love the twist and haven’t seen anyone do it! Loved the relevance of topic of Pokémon Go.

    One thing that I feel that can be worked on in this blog post would be the conclusion. I feel like it is a little abrupt. Might just be myself. Would recommend including more images and media to break up the bigger paragraphs.

    I look forward to future blog posts.

    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Reid,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post. Your introduction is very good and you created a brief moment of nostalgia for young audiences including myself.

    Your referencing is flawless and shows how much great research you have conducted. Furthermore, I really like your in-text citations and quotes. It shows your ability to write an interesting and engaging piece. Your conclusion demonstrates you understand there are both utopian and dystopian effects with surveillance, and was a nice way to conclude your post.

    I really look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Like

  10. Hi Reid,
    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I’m a fellow 90’s kid and you brought me back to my childhood with your opening paragraph. It made me think about the innocence of the Pokemon cards we’d play compared to the stigma surrounding the game today with data storage and it being able to find our location. It is always wonderful when articles and posts make you reflect on your own situation!
    I thought your post was well researched and you had a great ‘voice’ on the topic. It didn’t feel too overwhelmed by quotes and referencing but I trusted everything you said!
    I think sometimes we can get caught up in all the ‘media’ we add to our posts and can get nit picky about pictures/videos/tweets. I feel all your media is relevant and did not feel that things were put there for the sake of it!
    Great job, I look forward to reading more of your work.
    Veronica

    Like

  11. Hi Reid,
    I enjoyed your 1990’s introduction paragraph and the nostalgia that it evoked; this was highly engaging and encouraged me to read further. The range of sources you included to support your blog were insightful and highly relevant to the discussion surrounding them. Aesthetically your blog was well organised and was easy to read. Your choice of embedded tweets complimented the rest of your discussion and it was reassuring to see consistency with hyperlinking. However in the future, you may want to find another creative commons image to include. Before the assignment submission you may want to review the order of reference list, as it needs to be in alphabetical order. The tonal shifts from light to academic were justified in your blog, as you maintained consistency by matching the light tone in the beginning of the blog to the end. Overall your blog was very enjoyable to read.

    Like

  12. Hi Reid,
    This is a really good blog post!
    It is good to use Pokémon Go to reflect the ‘Gamification of everyday life’ and draws many concerns such as application surveillance. Indeed, some of my friends addicted to the Pokémon Go and neglected some surveillance issues such as tracking data would show their location to some companies. I really need to show this blog post to them!

    Indeed, the images, references and your tweets made this post pretty reliable! You showed the event of the three robbed teenagers in London because they were playing Pokémon Go, my only piece of advice would be to show some events related to Pokémon Go in Australia? It could be draws more people’s attention and let them pay more attention to their nearby everyday life with their mobile application surveillance.

    Overall, I cannot wait to see your future posts!

    Like

  13. Hi Reid!
    A highly informative and engaging post and very easy to read. The introduction with hyperlinked trivia of the 90’s not only showcases your humour and attempt to engage with the reader, however also sets up the discussion for Pokemon and how it has seen controversy today through the ‘Pokemon Go’ app. I thought it was smart of you to reference the Privacy Policy of the app, which does indeed state it collects location data.

    I also found it very interesting how you linked gamification with surveillance: that the public is drawn into the ‘game-like’ elements of the app at the cost of their location data being collected. Well done on referencing The Guardian’s article over the safety concerns of the app, as well as embedding a tweet referring to an article on conspiracy theories of the app.

    Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

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