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Seth Priebatsch: Life is a game, and tech can make it better

John D. Sutter
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Why you should be having more fun
  • Seth Priebatsch is the founder of an app called SCVNGR
  • The app presents mobile challenges to get people to try and learn new things
  • Priebatsch says game mechanics can improve learning in schools, make life more fun

(CNN) -- Seth Priebatsch is the kind of hyper-bright person who can make you feel guilty for not starting a tech company when you were in middle school.

He did that, of course. At age 12. And he had software developers coding for him from Russia.

Now, as the founder of an app called SCVNGR, which is like geek code for "scavenger" hunt, Priebatsch is trying to turn the real world into more of a video game by prompting people with mobile challenges.

Priebatsch sat down with CNN recently to talk about how game mechanics can make us better people -- by improving schools and promoting fun.

"Failing is baked into the core concept of the mechanic" of our A-B-C grading system in schools, he said at a tech conference this year in Austin, Texas. "Why not create a grading dynamic that is based much more on progressions?"

The last decade of tech, he says, was all about social apps and websites, like Facebook and MySpace. Now, he says, we're in the decade of games -- a time in which technologists are working to build a "game layer" on top of the real world.

"The game layer is coming," he told an audience at South by Southwest. "It's going to be fun, it's going to be powerful. I hope you all play it."


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