Gamification is the incorporation of gaming interfaces in non-gaming concepts. In simple words, gamification is the process of presenting a concept through games. The benefits of gamification are as clear as they can be. Gamification increases engagement with the concept, it stimulates creativity and amplifies knowledge acquisitions. The bigger question here is,
- How gamification has changed online user interaction with websites and applications?
- Which sectors are currently using Gamification?
- What type of information are they sending through Gamification?
- What benefits does it hold for a business?
Gamification started with the arrival of icons and desktop metaphors in the early ’80s. The desktop metaphor was the representation of a desktop screen with icons represented as objects from an actual tabletop. The desktop screen had all the components which could have been on a table. Files, folders, computer, notepad, printer, and all the things that could have been on a person’s table were now on a desktop screen, with almost the same functionality.
Use of graphics and icons instead of code to carry out a function in an operating system made desktops more engaging and interesting.
This engagement gave rise to WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) logic. People were now able to interact and understand the computer environment in an easy, engaging, and intuitive way.
With this logic, the operations on the desktop screen were carried out in the same way as they would have been carried out in the real world. For example, typing a letter on the computer was now represented in an interface that resembled the real world.
This simpler gamification of a desktop into an actual tabletop made computers more engaging.
The current use of gamification is more complex and is in connection with a major part of human interaction psychology.
Gamification in today’s world-
In today’s world, gamification is seen as a learning technique. Many companies and online platforms are using gamification to send out their product or service details out in the world more interestingly and engagingly. It has become a way to induce and enhance individual creativity and productivity. It can even influence human behavior and change social interactions.
Let’s discuss this briefly on how and why we are attracted to gamification.
Why do we prefer gamification?
We have treated our minds to capture visual data and interesting content over the years. With an ocean of contents out there, interestingly our mind remembers the data by the level of engagement and interaction with it.
The research, conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and the University of Minnesota, provides a deep understanding of our behavior. The study shows that a more deliberate and interactive connection was seen between a human and a computer under gameful experiences. Gameful experience is the state of a person engaged in an activity that is meaningful, fun, and achievable. This state of a person is defined as an interactive state.
According to the research, our interactive state arises under three basic situation:
- When the presented goal is significant and achievable. When our mind is capable of pathing out the journey to achieve the goal, it excites a feeling to go further.
- A motivation to reach the goal. Easy and valuable rewards such as virtual coins create a sense of motivation and engagement.
- Freedom of limitation. The freedom to opt-out of the game and no real-life commitments make these games interesting and easy-going. The sense of freedom and ease makes us abide by the limitations making them a menial cost to pay concerning reward.
Gamification triggers all the three points of our mind’s interactive state making us more engaged and attentive towards the content.
Current applications of Gamification-
Our interactive state attracted the ones who wanted us to be attentive towards them or their products. Different aspects or categories of enterprises started using gamification in their own way to produce specific results, to attract customers, to have attention, and finally to leave an impact on us, on our mind.
Let’s discuss them briefly and try to understand the deep meaning behind a platform’s gamification.
Certain e-commerce platforms or online shopping platforms use gamification to make the user’s shopping experience more entertaining and use motivator factors for customers to visit their site often. One such example of a shopping platform is Flipkart, who introduced the “Super Coin” system. The super coins acting here acting as motivators led to a 33% increment in Flipkart’s user engagement after their arrival. A 1k plus user registration was also witnessed as Flipkart announced free plus membership for students.
Other gamification factors used by shopping platforms are-
- Spin the wheel to earn discounts. With discounts acting here as motivators, spin the wheel is the most common gamification of shopping platforms. It is fun, engaging, and rewarding.
- Reviews to earn points. The points after giving a product review compel customers to give feedback.
- Earning style points with each purchase. Style points are an interactive way to engage customers and promote personal fashion choices among them.
- Badges at each level of the shopping platform. The sense of accomplishment badges give has been found very popular among competing individuals. A benefit with the accomplishment of each badge as a motivating factor here.
- Guess that piece. It is a very interactive way of marketing a product through gamification. The user is introduced to the benefits and features of the product engagingly. This approach seems to give a long-lasting effect on the product. Gamification of fitness and health tracking apps are a fun and interactive way to keep users engaged and provide valuable health-related information at the same time. Gamification in this sector has been seen to resolve issues and help people stay committed to their health and fitness goals.
Health and Wellness Sector-
Gamification of fitness and health tracking apps are a fun and interactive way to keep users engaged and provide valuable health-related information at the same time. Gamification in this sector has been seen to resolve issues and help people stay committed to their health and fitness goals.
The rewarding and competitive nature brought upon by the features like calorie counts, rewards after crossing each health barrier, other people’s health achievements, and many more acted as a motivational and guilt factor. Features like a calorie counter and water reminding added an extra gaining factor for the customers.
This compels the user to follow a healthy lifestyle. This leads to ease of adjustment. Many users of the Health Month application stated their experience and how the application helped them overcome their mental barriers.
Social Media Platforms-
Social media gamification is a mechanism used by merchandise and brands as a marketing strategy to increase user engagement and excite customers about new products. One such marketing example through social media gamification in Madbury. Madbury is an initiative started by Cadbury that allows customers to personalize chocolate flavor and packaging. The competition resulted in the 1M+ website’s visit.
One such outstanding example is eye-spy pretzel by m&m’s, who went viral with their Facebook game of finding pretzels among m&ms. 26,000 likes, 6200 shares, and 11,000 comments, not bad for something this simple. The campaign also received praise from all over.
I.P. Pavlov in 1927 put forth a study that highlighted controlled and constructed human and animal behavior through greed. The stimulation or response, a reward mechanism produces can be seen to tuck some sincere feelings towards the duty. Similarly, if a civil service like separating different types of trash is gamified in a rewarding way, the chances are that people will learn and adapt to the rules and regulations until it becomes an unnoticed habit.
One such example is Korea’s gamified waste management system, which helps citizens earn points every time with each proper waste disposal. Those points can then be used to get discounts on public transportation services like metros and public busses.
There have been many approaches to increase student interaction and better student engagement with the topic. Teachers have approached and introduced many ways over the years to make a certain topic interesting. We all remember and have experienced that the topics presented to us in the form of a story or some content had a long-lasting impact on our minds. So what made this difference, why do we remember these contents or particular topics specifically?
Psychologist William James explains this phenomenon as selective memory. In layman’s terms, selective memory is the process in which our mind discards information or memories it considers useless or not so effective. The selection process is based on our level of interaction with that particular memory. So if a certain topic was so interactive that we understood its every aspect without a doubt, our brain selected it, making it long-lasting.
So for education to be fruitful and impactful, it should be highly interactive. Edutainment is an interactive approach that combines entertainment and educational value. Gamification of a certain topic helps in better communicating the knowledge. Children interact with the topic and are under a state of excitement and attentiveness. Gamification here plays an important role as an interactive medium for the transfer of knowledge. Apps like Duolingo use rewards and picturization to make the learning experience fun and interactive.
Gamification and Business can go a long way together as gamification in each part of a business will tend to produce different results. Let’s discuss gamification in two important aspects of business, that is internal communication and external communication.
- Internal Communication– Gamification can help create creative interactions between teammates. It enables them to compete internally regarding task submission and goal achievement. It enhances team spirit. One such interactive game for office employees is TaskVille is an interactive platform that uses gaming elements to create awareness of the work going on in the workplace.
- External Communication– Research shows that people/users tend to escape from providing feedback, but they are comfortable in facing a questionnaire. Many business websites use Multiple Choice Questions quizzes, addressing the problems generally faced by the customers as questions. The response which user/customer gives helps in creating a more stable and simplified user feedback mechanism. The MCQ mechanism helps in creating a system that is comfortable for both customers as well as the business.
With the help of the latest virtual reality and augmented reality techniques, gamification can be used in learning weapon controls and can be prepared for any sudden attack. With technologies like VR, 3D, animation, and computer graphics the US Army has created successful gamification of weapon control systems and soldier training.
The simulator creates a parallel reality where the user tests and improves his skills and gets familiar with the weapons.
Gamification of applications and platforms is indeed an interactive way to approach or present certain things, but what next?
What is the future of Gamification?
Although gamification is an interesting approach, it has limited known uses. Though these approaches are going to be there for more than two to three years, the future of gamification after that is somewhat unclear and static.
“Gamification is popular now but this is nowhere near the level of popularity the future holds.”- Craig Mills.
Craig Mills was the learning manager at GAME, UK’s largest video game retailer. During his work experience in GAME, he aced in providing gamified training to thousands of employees.
In his article with Growth Engineering, Craig described the need to shift the curve of gamification from learning to behavior and practice in business. He witnessed a demand for gamification in Human Resources to tie together HR components such as values, personal development, coaching, and recognition with the competitive and engaging nature of gamification.
According to Craig’s beliefs, this can lead to open a new gate for gamification as well as business interaction and management. This can give rise to a whole new business sector working on making business operations more interactive and approachable in an easier way.
Gamification is a way of presenting an idea in a way that triggers the human brain’s interactive state, making the idea long-lasting and impactful. It triggers the user’s interactive state. It makes us more attentive towards the information. Through gamification, people hold the power to change and train their as well as other’s conscience. The future of gamification in employee management and public relation can revolutionize this sector for the enterprise world.