Gamification capitalizes on the theory that we thrive on the thrill of competition.
So if you’ve been hearing this buzzword being knocked around lately, you may be part of the 70% of organizations that plan to have at least one gamification application by year-end 2014. This trendy application of game design to business environments has been spreading like wildfire, and corporate decision makers are quick to pick it up with lucid dreams of boosting revenues, increasing employee retention, and broadening customer engagement.
Let’s face it though, not all games are really that interesting.
For most gamification programs, after the initial novelty wears off, the risk of disengagement is very likely. “The challenge facing project managers and sponsors responsible for gamification initiatives is the lack of game design talent to apply to gamification projects,” said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner. “Poor game design is one of the key failings of many gamified applications today.”
What makes some games more appealing to people than others? It’s because people seek different avenues of entertainment within games. Richard Bartle, a pioneer in the development of multiplayer online gaming, helps explain this theory of gamer psychology that depicts the different extrinsic motivations of player types. He details these 4 core game-player characteristics:
- Killers : are motivated by the joy they experience as the “hurt” other players (in the context of the game.) They enjoy competition and prefer social game environments to games where they play a computer or themselves.
- Socializers : play games in order to interact with others and create social connections. They want to connect with others to increase their social profile and the rewards that may bring.
- Explorers : are for more apt to prize random puzzles, side stories, and the environment of the game above winning points or badges.
- Achievers : are principally driven by a desire to get points, achieve goals, and hit their mark. They will do quizzes, join loyalty schemes and learn but only if it gives them something in return.
The changing landscape of business brings cause to see these groups not just from a gamer’s perspective but from that of an employer, and it’s crucial to realize just how important all four of them are to building a successful gamification initiative. By shifting the focus to the player rather than the functional details (badges, points, and leaderboards), your game’s design will generate more desired long-term results. Easier said than done, right? Here are some tips that I discovered while designing a gamification plan for our company:
- Show Status : If a tree falls, and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Likewise, if there isn’t anyone to witness a player’s achievement, is there really a point? Create a “feed” that announces players’ achievements in a very public view.
- Reward in Real Time : With the influx of technology, the attention span now averages a mere 8 seconds . Which means that if you don’t reward the player immediately, there will be a disconnect between the action and reward, leading to disengagement.
- Spur One-off Events : By changing up the game with challenges, you will drive renewed interest back to the game.
- Create Absolute & Relative Leaderboards : The key difference is that an absolute leaderboard shows your overall standing and a relative leaderboard shows people who are around the same level as you. The absolute leaderboard is great for if you are an achiever, but can be de-motivational if you are ranked in 1,000 th place. Relative leaderboards are great to get an idea of who else is playing and can be a good social tool as well.
- Be Social : incorporate that added level of interaction between players by putting in a social share for points or badges earned and have a community hub that people can interact. This may be the most important suggestion to factor in- results show that social influence is a strong predictors for attitude formation.
How have you used gamification in the past? We would love to hear about any experiences that you have had or any success tips that you want to share!