Generally speaking, there's an assumption that casual games are a waste of time. What can playing a "meaningless" Facebook game for a few minutes really accomplish, anyways? Do I really need to "rescue" another "sheep"? Another point of view is that they're a little bit sinister, manipulating you into emptying your wallet, or giving up personal information. But perhaps both positions are missing the point. This new genre we call "Casual Social Games" represents a fascinating opportunity to better understand our own behavior, and to direct it, intentionally, for our own benefit, and for the greater good of society.
Not too long ago, we got Zipcar, eBay, and Netflix. We got Prosper and Kiva and Kickstarter. What do they have in common? They ask people to share in one way or another. These days, sharing is an industry thanks largely to new technology. And it's critical to the environment, the economy, and the way we live together as a society.
It's also an industry that we don't know much about yet. In 2010, Latitude Research and Shareable Magazine conducted the first-ever comprehensive sharing industry to establish benchmarks for awareness and adoption of existing sharing services, as well as sharing attitudes and behaviors relating to everything from information to food to transportation to workspace to travel accommodations.
The study also sought to understand the new "psychology of sharing". What are the perceived benefits of sharing? What motivates someone to try sharing initially? What are the barriers to sharing, and how do we overcome them? Looking to the future, the study was able to answer what user demands exist, but aren't yet being met, in this new economy of sharing?
11th–15th March 2011