On the Topic of Gamification

Gamification

I briefly touched on Gamification in my Gaming in Education post, however I feel that I did not quite give enough information on just what gamification is and how it is affecting our world and daily life.

So what exactly is Gamification anyway? Well according to Badgeville.com (a site which literally has it’s own gamification wiki), gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

It works due to the human psyche wanting status, achievements and other works we have created to represent ourselves. Our natural drives for competition, achievement, status, altruism and community collaboration are exploited in a way by companies as we are naturally drawn to these times of games in our products. [1]

Gamification comes in many forms, from Subway cards (yes, you’re scoring a point every time you use a card and when you have enough points you get a free sandwich, sounds like a game to me at any rate) to Tesco clubcards (again every purchase you gain imaginary credits that you can later use) it’s evident that games aren’t just “Call of Duty” or “Halo” anymore, they’re everywhere. While mechanics of these games are a lot simpler than that of a modern video game, there is no doubting that both entities are entertaining and fun to use, classifying both as games.

It all started from the Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP) that airlines give out. Where again, the more you traveled, the more rewards you received varying from gifts to free flights. These were the earliest “games” that came to the real world and have since been adapted and used by companies everywhere to encourage more consumers to use their products.

Some more examples of gamification used by companies include Starbucks’ mobile loyalty app, “MyStarbucksRewards”. Besides Starbucks, Nike released the Nike+ app to encourage consumers to be active while also using Nike products. In a way, this gives Nike free advertising when people see a consumer doing sporting activity using their products.

But it’s not just these few companies that use gamification, in fact, Gamification can be applied to many facets of technology and has evolved in the recent years. Over 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies surveyed in 2013 said they planned to use gamification for the purposes of marketing and customer retention [2].

I feel I might be scrutinizing gamification a little too much, while it is true that it is a ploy by some companies to enrich their businesses, it does have it’s benefits. If the games the companies such as Tesco, Subway, Aer Lingus, etc. were not fun to play we would have stopped long, long ago. Companies are genuinely trying to keep there “players” happy. If this is achieved, the customer is more likely to remain loyal, purchase from the same company and perhaps bring more eager “players” to the market.

I really do hope that this post was a little more in-depth and brought gamification in today’s world a little more into light than my last post. Thank you for reading! Until next time, this stream is going offline.

References:

[1] – Gamification Definition : https://badgeville.com/wiki/Gamification#garterere
[2] – Fitz-Walter, Z. A Brief History of Gamification. http://zefcan.com/2013/01/a-brief-history-of-gamification/

 

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On the Topic of Gamification

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