Gamification is one of the latest buzzwords to sweep Silicon Valley and inspire websites and businesses to change how they offer their services and interact with customers. The idea behind Gamification is quite simple: the application of video game mechanics and thinking to real world scenarios. Whether it be transforming social activities with competitive leaderboards or transforming mundane, everyday activities into quests, Gamification is an exciting and innovative way to engage customers.
Breaking Down Gamification
Regardless of the business or website, Gamification typically features the following dynamics, all lifted from video games.
Implementing leaderboards or a high score list is an easy way for players to see how they fare against other people using the website. It persuades players to compete harder to rise through the ranks, and they must use the website more to do so.
Setting quests can encourage players to perhaps work a little bit harder, or do something that they wouldn’t normally do, in order to complete a challenge and be rewarded with XP (experience points) points or even just a congratulatory message. The player benefits from the reward, and the website can create more dedicated and loyal players with challenges.
Whether it be Mayor or Hero, titles reward dedicated players for their actions and hard work.
Points and XP
Players can be rewarded with points or XP each time they use the service. Tracking activities or accomplishing goals allows players to level-up, and it encourages and rewards players for their participation and dedication.
Social Activity Successes
FourSquare and Epic Win transform social activities into video games. Users of FourSquare check-in to places that they frequent regularly. The more times they check-in, the more points they receive and the more they level-up at that location.
It enables players to share where they are, and what they like doing with friends. Epic Win transforms normal day-to-day activities into an RPG setting. Players track chores like washing the dishes or called their Mother on the app, and it transforms the activities into an epic adventure game.
Making Fitness Fun
Fitocracy, Nike Plus and Zombies Run are just some of the many examples of encouraging users to exercise by implementing video game mechanics. Nike Plus offers on-the-go tracking to players such as current speed, distance ran and pace, but the real appeal is the lifetime statistics. Users can progress to different levels with as their overall running progresses. Fitocracy takes this dynamic one step further and rewards users with XP for different exercises. The more difficult the exercise, the more XP earned. Users can even compete exercise Quests which reward a large boost of XP. Zombies Run is an audio adventure and gives users instructions whilst running, describing the fictional threat of a zombie horde giving chase. Fitness Gamification gives users more motivation as they are being rewarded and congratulated for exercising and, especially in the case of Zombies Run, makes it more fun.
Reaping the Profits
Gamification can subtly encourage users to pay for premium services by rewarding them with promotions like those found in video games. For example, a website offers a service that is free to use but paying members get perks like no advertisements. If the service is already based upon Gamification and it has a social dynamic, such as message boards, then paying members can be offered unique flairs or emblems on their account. This distinguishes them from non-paying members, but the actual benefit is negligible. Such features can be implemented at little cost to the website, but the user feels like they have been distinguished from other members. It is very similar to gamers who are willing to pay for unique items for their avatar.
With mobile devices and social networks enjoying mass popularity, Gamification neatly appeals to the sharing and social culture of today. It has transformed the way businesses and websites offer their services and it subtly encourages users to become dedicated players, while also adding a fun dynamic to what are usually day-to-day activities.
This article was created on behalf of Feelgood Games, the free online games site.