An Intro to Gamification

Creating video games is a process that involves way more than simply hiring designers to bring ideas to the screen. Beyond the coding, design, testing, voice over work, and all of the other layers that make a video game a success, the most important aspect is that of driving users to play. This is no easy task. Getting someone to play a game is one thing, but getting a player to want to continue playing – almost to the point of addiction – involves strategies and techniques that will make players coming back for more. Some of these strategies can be applied to the real world using a method known as gamification. 

A game doesn’t necessarily need to have mind-blowing visuals or even the most original idea to hook users. There are certain techniques that can be applied to the game to encourage players to play longer and more frequently.

What is gamification?

These techniques can be applied to the real world as well. Welcome to the world of gamification. According to renowned gamification expert Yu-kai Chou, “gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and engaging elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities.”

Gamification applies different video game techniques to other parts of your life. Gamification can help you become a more productive person by turning something ordinary into something fun and exciting. But gamification can also make an enormous difference in the workplace. This doesn’t just mean that gaming techniques can make work more fun or engaging, but it can make businesses more profitable as well.

A lot of people hear about gamification and think that it is about games, period. But the fact of the matter is that it is deeply rooted in psychology, and the understanding of humans wants and desires.

Gamifying a business is no easy task and takes a lot of time and effort. There is no magic spell that can engage a company’s client base, boost customer retention, or increase profits. What might work well for one company might not work with another. The same goes at the individual level when it comes to applying these strategies to one’s personal lifestyle.

Real world applications of gamification

In a recent post entitled 4 Dominant Applications of Gamification in 2016, Chou outlines product gamification, workplace gamification, marketing gamification, and lifestyle gamification. The first three are geared toward helping businesses while lifestyle gamification is meant to help people on their own personal quests to better their lives.

The idea of lifestyle gamification has become more widespread in recent years with the advent of new technologies – especially wearable hardware that stores data. Exercise products like watches and sensors – even apps – that track each and every move throughout the day to give people a better understanding of calories burned, steps taken, distance covered and beyond. These are extremely popular among folks who are keen to see real results and track their progress. Also, the ability to share this information across social media is an effective way for people to stay on target. Knowing that others are following their progress can keep motivation high and the chances to slip out of routine relatively low.

Learn more about gamification

Yu-kai has found tremendous success working with businesses using the techniques outlined in his Octalysis Gamification Framework – the basis for his book Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. 

For those looking to achieve a better understanding of how gamification works and how it can make a real difference in your life, head over to Yu-kai’s site to read some of his in-depth blog posts.