This is the first report in a series on game “impact types.” We begin with the problem. Our field needs a better way to talk about impact — a deeper conversation that is more fundamentally inclusive and multi-disciplinary, yet still evidence-based. This report is a first step, revealing the basic fragmentation and documenting its harm.
Not just beginners, but our best journals and public awards can inadvertently overlook full categories of impact, and disagree on what evidence looks like. Creativity is too easily and unhealthily pitted against impact design. Even the language of “double-blind trials” can ironically blind our field to certain types of impact.
Success may require new umbrella language to enable meaningful comparison and improve coherence and efficacy — especially across stakeholders. Power may need to be shared, rather than giving preference to either researchers or designers.
The primary contribution of this first report is to make five basic claims about how the field is currently fragmented, establishing a foundation for more systematic solutions. Along the way we reveal why we are talking past one another, in public and private. Our second report (forthcoming) will dive deeper into proactive solutions, as hinted in the pages that follow.