Definition and application
The term ‘Gamification’ was coined back in 2002 by Nick Pelling, a British-born computer programmer and inventor, and hit the mainstream thanks to Foursquare in 2009. By 2011, it officially became a buzzword when Gartner added it to its ‘Hype Cycle’ list. Gamification makes it possible to present complex content in a playful and simple way. Thanks to gamification, users can internalize contexts more quickly and easily. At the same time, it increases the connection to the product and enables intensive customer loyalty. However, different types of players require a high level of expertise. Our agency develops applications, games, apps, and web tools to interactively introduce users to various topics. You can find out how we do this here.
Explanation of Terms Gamification
Gamification has been around for many years, both in business and in science. Various companies specifically rely on an empathy-based cornerstone to convince especially young people of brands or campaigns. This form of customer relationship has various forms. Game designers use this strategy, for example, to present difficult decisions simply with the help of game-typical elements. In other cases, gamification is used to bridge less entertaining content or to convey learning content simply (e-learning). Advertising also uses gamification to increase motivation for rather price-intensive products. In this way, the monetary equivalent value is often pushed into the background.
The accusation of manipulation in gamification is mostly unfounded. The mechanisms of the human brain recognize such attempts quite reliably. A full-scale change in behavior cannot be brought about by this form of customer approach either.
This field also offers many facets on a broad scale. It is not just about storytelling, collecting experience points or immersing oneself in a foreign game world. Rather, this discipline offers exciting approaches in edutainment and the communication of learning content. Game manufacturers are increasingly embracing this trend.
The focus is also on people who are not familiar with games. In other words, those users who do not normally consume games and are not very familiar with the game principles. Various experts (such as Nora S. Stampfl, Sebastian Deterding, Gabe Zichermann, Michael Koch or Roman Rackwitz) have written interesting articles on the topics of player types and psychological factors. However, various elements can be found in almost every gamification application:
- Status & progress of a game: Here, a status bar or progress indicator symbolizes to the user how far he has advanced in the game. The user should not lose sight of the goal and thus commit to the game in the long term. It is important to keep the user motivation alive in the long term.
- Rankings & titles: With the help of rankings, players should be motivated to explore the content of the game intensively. The player should deal with as many game elements as possible and thus become an expert. The goal of the game developers is that the users consume certain content more often or more conscientiously due to the user table, to subsequently anchor this data in the player’s consciousness. A kind of independent and inner motivation is supposed to develop in the player. The ranking serves however also for the exchange with other players within from the video game. However, the gamification industry does not attach as much importance to this element.
- Tasks: Small tests and tasks (English quests) lead to game fun and joy – not only in strategy games. Combined with a reward system (stars, badges, vouchers, etc.), gamification designers motivate players to switch to certain storylines. This allows specific information to be distributed in a targeted manner within the game. These game mechanics allow the developers to specifically influence the course of the game. Sometimes even after the fact.
- Feedback and Meaningfulness: Every game life from a story or a deeper meaning (Epic Meaning). The player must have a goal in mind, which he would like to achieve. At the same time, the application must also have feedback functions to interact with the users at selected points. This results in a certain motivation to learn on the part of the users.
- Focus: Applications differ significantly from classic games, especially in the focus of the game. The game identification always serves a specific purpose. Be it the product launch of a new car, e-learning, serious games, or career orientation. Distractions by other content or side shows are not common.
Current scientific background or literature references are easily prepared via corresponding books or a serious business encyclopedia (such as Gabler) on the web and offer first basics. Here, readers can also obtain background information on important basic terms such as game mechanics, serious games, or game-based learning. In 2011, there was an extensive study. The PDF on “Using Game Design Elements in Non-Game Contexts” can be downloaded here. The article also deals with the complex of Health Data, which is especially interesting for the healthcare industry. An exciting book is certainly “The Effect of Gamification on Motivation and Performance” (ISBN: 978-3-658-14308-4, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden) by Michael Sailer.
The feature pages of various newspapers such as the SPIEGEL Group with Einestages Manager Magazine or Harvard Business Manager have also already taken up the topic as an art form, among others. This approach shows how versatile the interpretation is and how far it has been taken out of the digital world. One successful example is certainly the foldit project, which has achieved remarkable notoriety beyond the scene.
Something Different for Sure
The term gamification is not synonymous with our customers being presented with colorful avatars with even more colorful leaderboards. That train has sailed for at least 10 years. Really good gamification ideas come from knowledge of the target group and a distinct creativity. So, the question must be: How do we ensure that the user enjoys the program for as long as possible (keyword: motivation to use) and still receives the right stimuli? How do we motivate even those who are unfamiliar with the game?
The answer is Enkronos.