Games for Change is Gamified!


Steffen Walz

Chair and Co-Lead Curator, Games for Change, Australia-New Zealand

Steffen is a Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University as well as chair and co-lead curator of the Games for Change ANZ Festival. He is the founder--director of RMIT's Games & Experimental Entertainment Laboratory as well as the director of RMIT's GEElab Europe in Karlsruhe, Germany. Steffen is an award winning game & interaction designer, an internationally recognized scholar & book author, a business consultant & an entrepreneur with a background in computer aided architectural design, cultural anthropology, creative web direction, TV satire writing, entertainment media production as well as attempted pop music stardom. Steffen earned his doctoral degree from the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, having researched the future of games and game-like activities across spaces and media. In 2008, he went on to form the company sree, which had acquired seed funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation as well as business angel funding from Zurich investors, to create a cross-platform middleware for mobile games.

Not only has Steffen been creating several game changing projects, e.g. the first urban exploration game service for tourists or the first gamified website that can be navigated by playing arcade games at http://spw.playbe.com; or the first musician’s website to offer end customers the possibility to “pay what you like” at http://www.strom-musik.de in 2004. Steffen has also been providing strategy and design consulting with regards to game thinking and serious games to clients such as Nokia, Audi, Sony Ericsson, the United Nations Population Fund (cf. http://www.breakawaygame.com), Flims Laax Falera Tourism, the Swiss Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology, the Zurich University Clinic and the MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, the German state’s public innovation agency for IT and new media. In the fields of Online marketing as well as E-commerce, in the past 12 years, Steffen has been consulting and designing e.g. for Daimler, HypoVereinsbank, major mobile telephony provider O2, German state television ZDF, Payback–the most successful German loyalty program–as well as for the German Greens.

Steffen has been invited to lecture and keynote about his practice and writings at the MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, Parsons The New School for Design, Tsinghua University Beijing, IT University Copenhagen, Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg and many other schools, and he has spoken at numerous conferences such as the Game Developers Conference, the Serious Games Summit, DiGRA, Quo Vadis / Deutsche Gamestage, FMX, LIFT and X|Media|Lab. He is co-editor of "one of the books of the year 2007" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), "Space Time Play. Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism: The Next Level" and author of "Toward a Ludic Architecture. The Space of Play and Games", published by the ETC Press, an open source publisher affiliated with the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Steffen enjoys playing music, playing games and playing playing.