Gamification

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 5.48.47 PMGamification takes the concept of rewards in games and applies it elsewhere, often to non-game websites. It relies on our natural desire for achievement and our competitiveness.

Yu-kai Chou, an expert in gamification developed an Octalysis framework which identifies 8 possible motivations for people to stay in a game.

  1. Epic Meaning & Calling
  2. Development & Accomplishment
  3. Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback
  4. Ownership & Possession
  5. Social Influence & Relatedness
  6. Scarcity & Impatience
  7. Curiosity & Unpredictability
  8. Loss & Avoidance

Game makers will ideally include all motivations in the course of the game to maximise engagement, but marketers will choose to focus on the motivations that align with their brand. For example Nike’s brand is based on the famous “just do it” mentality and their Nike+ uses aspects of gamification associated with accomplishment, by allowing successful users to unlock motivation talks from elite athletes.

Social Networks also use gamification to encourage activity, the most famous example is probably 4square with over one hundred and fifty active badges, some related to activity on 4square but others, such as the Met Lover’s Badge, connect to the marketing campaigns of companies and organisations. Enterprise social networks, including ours, also use badges to reward activity and connections.

Educators and health professionals try to use gamification principles to increase people’s motivation for positive change. However it can be challenging to integrate this external purpose setting with the user-centred design principles of a game. Or, as discussed on the Psyche’s Circuitry blog; The game doesn’t care.

Not everyone responds well to gamification techniques, when we introduced them to our enterprise social network a small group of people thought them horribly childish. The result being that we’ll allow you to switch off display of badges on your own profile – although you’ll still be awarded the badges.

Badge Galore /What What/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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