Some time ago, The New York Times Magazine had an article about Singularity University, the brainchild of Ray Kurzweil. The article is called “Merely Human. That’s so Yesterday.” While I don’t fully agree with some of the tenants of the movement, such as supporting human immortality through technology, also called Transcendent Man, I do think that the university taps into a few visions of the future that are gaining foothold, specifically around the convergence of human behavior/experience and technology.
Do you remember the promise of virtual reality? It’s been around in film and text since the ’70s. Its foundation helped bring Second Life and other virtual worlds to life but for now it hasn’t really lived up to its promise (think Matrix). Virtual reality is being used to treat war veterans of PTSD and other post-traumatic stress disorders. But the concept has brought us the convergence of gaming and reality.
The gaming industry will take virtual reality and other experiential technologies into the next realm. Gaming theory has already been invading our lives. At an L2 conference in New York last year, Adam Walden talked about the evolution of gaming and identified real-time social gaming and the notion of monetization of gaming through virtual currency as a big trend.
What it has also given birth to is the augmented reality phenomenon that is no longer on the fringe but used in product marketing, branding and influencing audience behavior. A great example is GE’s use of augmented reality for its Smart Grid campaign. Another view into the future is convergence of augmented reality and eyewear for goggles (featured at CES 2011) a concept that has been use to help Parkinson’s patients or for Alzheimer patients to help them recognize their surroundings.
And lastly, virtual goods. Virtual goods are hugely popular and revenue from online games reached $1 billon in 2009 with the expectation that they could reach $2.1 billion in 2011. These goods provide a new way to approach product marketing and branding. Good examples of use are H&M and Volvo.
Take this a step forward, and you begin to realize that gaming is just another way of influencing human behavior. BJ Fogg, professor and innovator, coined this concept as Captology. Look for more on this topic soon.
Where do you see the convergence of the virtual and digital marketing?
Image by WebWizard.