If you’ve recently hitched a ride on the gamification bandwagon, you have probably come across various definitions and controversies around the topic.
The above definition is made up of multiple pieces, forming the picture of the gamification puzzle as Engaming sees it. These pieces were taken from popular definitions by industry guru’s and well-known resources online, and are described in more detail below.
1. A Marketing Concept
- Although not always explicitly stated, experts agree in the use of gamification for driving customer engagement, which increases desired behavior like sales, website traffic and brand loyalty.
Part of the controversy around gamification is whether it’s a new or old idea. To marketers, it’s a new marking strategy, and to game experts it’s not. For them, gamification is simply proven game design elements re-purposed for marketing use.
2. Uses Game Mechanics or Design
- Game mechanics includes points, levels, badges, challenges, virtual goods, leaderboards and gifts. These features are the vehicles that deliver the benefits to the user which is based on game theory.
3. Uses Game Theory or Thinking
- Game theory speaks to meeting the customers’ core needs of reward, status, achievement, self-expression, competition and altruism.
4. For Non-Game Use
- Using game theory and design in a non-game setting differentiates gamification from serious (Halo) or social (FarmVille) games. The gaming elements enhance non-game situations found in real life, websites, and social media campaigns.
- Nike+ : Nike launched a mobile and multi-platform application that tracked customers running behavior, and used this data to create competition, a sense of achievement, and altruism through leader boards, GPS tracking and integration with social media.
5. To Drive Desired Behavior
- Gamification is in line with the new paradigm of customer loyalty. (Video: Barry Kirk )
- What Customers Want: Richer Loyalty Program, Social Recognition, and Exclusive Rewards.
- Businesses need a loyalty program that provides an experience, taps into emotions, promotes the brand, differentiates from competition, and is cost efficient.
CAUTION: Gamification has its Skeptics
- Some guru’s view gamification as a concept created by marketers who think throwing badges on a couple of websites will solve their customer engagement problems.
- Gamification is NOT about “Point-ification” or “Badge-ification”, like all business practices, a sound marketing strategy needs to be in place. A successful strategy will be one that is focused on the user experience, make sense for that industry and brand, and is linked to business objectives and goals.
- Foursquare: Has been criticized by guru’s for its shallow experience. (Video: Sebastian Deterding)
- See Ian Bogost’s post on “Gamification is Bullshit”