Gamification is simply applying game mechanics to something which is not usually considered a game. The reason why this is important as it allows the task to become engaging and ‘fun’ rather than boring and difficult. Gamification can be used to help people cope with difficult parts of their lives such as coping with depression or quitting smoking, to other things such as making the wait to cross a busy street less boring or finish reading a book which is hard to enjoy. Websites tend to use aspects of gamification to promote the websites usage and loyalty to that site.
One example of how gamification can work effectively within a website is how it worked for KIDS WB. They wanted to engage a new generation of children interested in the Scooby Doo show in order to give life to a really old cartoon. To do this they set up a way for the child to collect points in order to purchase digital rewards. The children would collect the points by purchasing some kind of merchandise which related to Scooby Doo such as a DVD or a plush and then use the points to purchase digital rewards such as interactive storybooks and other additional games. The reason why this was so effective is that they were able to bring Scooby Doo to a generation which tended to use the internet and other interactive devices and because of this managed to increase sales and market the show to a new audience.
Another website which uses gamification within its business model is the well-known website Facebook, so yes; the website is indeed a game. For example, a user can collect likes which in turn acts as a ‘reward’ despite not actually getting a reward as such you are appreciated and recognized for something you have said. You are able to play games on Facebook in which you can share your achievements within this game on your wall. The amount of friends you have on Facebook to some show your players ‘status’, the more friends you have, the more interesting and ‘famous’ you are seen. You have real-time feedback through seeing what you have been doing on Facebook that day by viewing your activity log and also anything that your friends have posted on your wall. The reason why this is effective is that as Pavlov noted, we are wired to respond to being rewarded so applying gamification within a business model could only be effective.
In order to apply gamification we need to understand the breakdown of gamification, these are;
- Real-time feedback – Allowing the user to see their progress
- Transparency – Being able to see a visual comparison between themselves and others
- Goal setting – allows drive towards particular tasks in which the user is rewarded
- Competition – creates competition between players giving motivation for improvement
- Badges – To show other players how well you have done something
- Levelling up – Shows progression and gives access to additional rewards
- Teams – Allows the player to team up with another to double up their effort
- On boarding and mastery – Allows the player to learn as they are using something rather than having to read up before ‘Playing’
A final example of gamification which I have personally experienced is with the retailer GAME. The first thing I saw when observing the website is right at the top of the screen you are able to ‘earn reward points today’. This is adding a reward mechanic as the ‘Player’ would purchase a game and in return for doing this they would collect points which they can accumulate and spend later on.
Another aspect of gamification seen within this retailer is you are able to collect points and rewards by trading in a game within 14 days of having it, or purchasing a game which is preowned. The reason why the retailer chooses to do this is to again promote loyalty to that retailer. There are other aspects too such as during the Christmas period there is an advent calendar in which you have a chance to purchase a game on offer as long as it’s within the 24 hour time period, if this is missed then another offer will appear for the next day and you will lose your chance at purchasing the game cheaper and gaining those points.
GAME even have an app in which the ‘Player’ is able to see how many points they have gained and the cash value of those points which only entices the player to continue earning and spending money with that particular retailer to have those points. The app even allows the player to see if they have earned any accolades with them.