Note: The Game Layers concept originally discussed in this article no longer exists, but you can read about it in a book that documents the history of online social games.
Merci Hammon and Justin Hall are talking about surveillance gaming at Etech 2008. If you’ve played Xbox 360 games, one component of this is being able to see what games your friends are playing, comparing your achievement points to friends, and contact friends who you know are currently online. I know that I’m more motivated to complete a game I’m not really into if my friends currently have a higher gamer score as a result of the game. There’s something about “leveling up” by getting more achievement points than your friends. But what if you could get points for things in your daily life. 10 points for cleaning the toilet. 5 points for paying the power bill. Would you be more inclined to do things you don’t enjoy if there was a leveling up involved in doing it?
Justin and Merci are taking this concept to the Web with their PMOG game, rewarding you for visiting sites, offering interesting surprises for finding things on sites (kinda like geocaching for the Web without knowing the cache is there) combined with the randomness of StumbleUpon.