Gamification of Cooking

Posted on January 22, 2012

A lot has been said about gamification and the process of using game mechanics to engage customers and audiences. Seth Priebatsch’s TED talk titled “The game layer on top of the world” provides a excitable overview of the idea.

One of the core components of many games, especially RPGs, is the idea of progressive skill enhancement. For example, in the popular RPG title Skyrim, there are a wide variety of skills that can be incrementally improved as you progress through the game. Below is an example of the Shield skill tree from Skyrim in which each node represents an enhancement that can be “purchased” using a finite set of skill points acquired in the game.

The process of learning to cook in the real world seems like an excellent candidate for gamification. Imagine a mobile game that presents a series of “quests” that are targeted to help you learn cooking. As you complete cooking tasks you progress to more complex recipes. As you progress through quests, you could specialize in certain areas such as Desserts, Vegetarian, etc.

There are wide range of great mobile cooking apps but they are mostly search-based. They have a searchable index of recipes with user-contributed comments and rating but little higher-level organization. I think there is an opportunity to provide a more structured learning process for cooking and to expand the social aspects of cooking. For example, when you finish your recipe why not provide a simple mechanisms to take photos and share your progress in the cooking game with friends and family.