The aim of gamification is to encourage and engage users using a combination of many techniques to meet business targets. Game mechanics are rules and rewards that keep players wanting to move forward. These techniques include immediate responses to actions and frequent notifications. These methods are then applied to real-world activities. It should be noted that in a productive business setting, gamification complements existing systems rather than replacing them.
The origins of gamification sprang from the desire to build skill and precision. There are real-world applications of gamification in Windows apps and in the Windows operating system itself. For example, Solitaire and other Windows games were designed to get users to better manipulate the mouse, rather than just playing a game.
Gamification in today’s context is consistent with a great deal of interaction with the user. Some techniques that are used to maintain interest are congratulating users for achievement, encouraging users to get to the next level, and promoting new prizes. The use of leaderboards is another mechanism that subtly encourages the user to continue playing to get to the top of that list.
The interaction is built on the existence of challenges, and through these missions, users get to learn what they need to by playing the game. From gaming apps to online universities, badges are visual indicia of success; by identifying the gurus on the team, badges can impress a community that can appreciate their value. Another way to impress your cohorts is by attaining levels that can unlock fresh challenges and rewards. Competition has always been proven to engage users, by showing them how they compare to others or by putting them in a race against the clock.
A player’s powers can generally be activated by playing a power during their turn, which is similar to the methods used in many games like Cityville, Power Up, or the ever-popular Spiderman. Cityville went from zero users to 6 million users in just 8 days in 2010, proving that gamification is a wonderful way to engage customers.
Gamification provides an absorbing way for people to “learn by doing” in a corporate setting. Often users are flummoxed by a new app or a cumbersome company manual that has to be read; a game “mission” has the completely opposite effect by immediately engaging users and encouraging them to become proficient at basic tasks.
There are some gamification examples that have been touted as having saved the world. It is also a great vehicle for encouraging team dynamics, collaboration and knowledge sharing. Team members have tangible proof of the impact they have on the team and how beneficial it is to work towards a common goal. That community spirit energizes the team and further motivates them to try and achieve more goals, more rewards and more points. These points can even be used to buy tangible or virtual goods.
Gamification applies these ideas towards inspiring real-life actions. It’s an attempt to make these real-life activities as habit-forming as games. If it feels like fun, and its effectiveness is proven when business goals are achieved in the process.