As I reported in a previous post, Ian Bogost is one of the main opponent to the theory of gamification, claiming that this practice is an impoverishment of games, which are actually a powerful tool to influence and to persuade people. In his book Persuasive Games he talks about videogames completely in a new and enlightening way. He describes why as much as books, movies, pictures games are a persuasive technology.
Definition from Wikipedia of a persuasive technology:
Persuasive technology is broadly defined as technology that is designed to change attitudes or behaviours of the users through persuasion and social influence, but not through coercion. Such technologies are regularly used in sales, diplomacy, politics, religion, military training, public health, and management, and may potentially be used in any area of human-human or human-computer interaction. Most self-identified persuasive technology research focuses on interactive, computational technologies, including desktop computers, Internet services, video games, and mobile devices, but this incorporates and builds on the results, theories, and methods of experimental psychology, rhetoric, and human-computer interaction. The design of persuasive technologies can be seen as a particular case of design with intent.
Bogost states that the ability of games to persuade is due to the procedural rethoric: “the art of persuasion through rule-based representations and interactions rather than the spoken word, writing, images or moving pictures.”
He furthermore says that the power of this medium stands in the structure of it, in the way how a person is involved playing (coming back to the Flow theory)
“The power is not the content of videogames as is usually claimed by the serious games community, but in the very way videogames mount claims through procedural rhetorics.”
Eventually, he also describes the difference between a real persuasion and a deception often taken as a persuasion.
Advertisers don’t want to persuade people to buy their products, because persuasion implies that the audience has given the issues some thought and come to a conscious decision. Instead, advertisers want to…compel people to buy a product without even knowing why they’re buying it – as visceral response to a stimulus, not as a conscious decision..