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Gamification concepts and applications


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Some thoughts on Gamification as a process that can be applied across many sectors going beyond simply adding game mechanics.

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Gamification concepts and applications

  1. 1. IMMERSIVE TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIESGamificationConcepts and ApplicationsIntroductionGamification is becoming a hot topic without, I believe, any real common understandingof what it is or how it can be applied. The word itself implies the use of gamestechnologies and/or methodologies to solve some of the challenges we face in todaysbusiness and society. This article seeks to explore why gamification has become such ahot topic and how it might be practically applied in real world situations.What is Gamification ?In a blog to be found at, Linda King of G2G3 differentiates betweengamification, simulations and serious games. A summary of her definition of gamificationis here:Gamification is all about applying game elements (the ‘DNA’ of games) to non-gameactivities. It’s about making ‘normal’, day-to-day activities more compelling. Gamificationleverages ‘game mechanics’ such as points, levels, badges and achievements to createengagement and interest. !1
  2. 2. Like Linda, I find the term "Gamification" inadequate and misleading because it over-simplifies the true importance and significance of what really lies behind the role of"Gamification" - simply incorporating game mechanics into day to day activities is notenough. I would define gamification as "the application of the characteristics and benefitsof games to real world processes and problems". The key point is that the focus is not ongame mechanics but characteristics and benefits. Gamification is ultimately aboutbuilding relationships through sustainable engagement.It is about "relationshipification", "engagification" and "experiencification".Characteristics of Games and GamificationGamification is not a new idea and every human being on the planet has been apractitioner at some time in their lives. From the time we are born, we constantly seek tounderstand and shape the world around us, we test ourselves, explore and interact withother human beings and objects.Life itself is a game in which we are all players and spectators. Life has rules, challenges,risks, rewards, levels, points, badges and achievements embedded into it and weinstinctively use "Gamification" to establish our place in the world. Watching children atplay is a master class in Gamification. Very young children introduced to each other forthe first time will soon develop their own "games" with rules, challenges and goals theyestablish between themselves. The more "fun" they have, the more engaged theybecome, the stronger are their relationships and the faster they develop.The characteristics of Gamification include :-• Challenges• Rules• Risks and Rewards• Taste of success• Fear of failure• Competition• Emotion and passion• Collaboration• Relationships• Symbiosis and balance• Importance• Learning, Development and Growth• Chance• Dreams and ambitions !2
  3. 3. • Control and influence• Addiction• Connections• Choices• Exploration• Discovery• Stories and Narratives• ExperiencesBenefits of Games and GamificationProperly applied, Gamification establishes symbiotic, balanced and sustainablerelationships which bring :-• "Win-win" scenarios• "Intrinsic" positive experiences• Achieved purposes• Desire for repetition and enhancement• Growth and development• Shared commitment• LoyaltyThe Importance of Relationships and PsychologySymbiotic Relationships are critical to the success of Gamification. The ability to attractand engage the dreams, passions, ambitions and emotions of other human beings anddeliver rewarding experiences that can endure and grow for all involved is the "holy grail".In todays society, where there are so many demands on our time and attention and wherethere is so much choice, it is more difficult than ever not only to attract and engage butalso to sustain and develop lasting relationships whether personal, social or commercial.If Gamification were simply embedding points, levels, badges and achievements linkedto rewards, then loyalty cards would be a classic success story that could be universallyapplied, but loyalty cards only generate "extrinsic" rewards such as discounts or specialoffers that apply to everyone on the scheme. !3
  4. 4. Loyalty cards, by themselves, do not deliver "intrinsic" rewards that tap into ourpsychology and bring positive emotions and pleasures based on our personal wants,needs and desires. Really effective Gamification can engage us, excite our passions andbuild commitment to the relationship.The Role of Technology in GamificationTechnology is hugely influential in Gamification. It both creates the demand forGamification and provides some solutions.Technology as a Demand CreatorTodays digital technologies provide unprecedented access to not only accessinformation and entertainment but also to create and publish rich media content to aglobal audience. This is the age of the "Prosumer". We are all no longer content toconsume experiences, we want to create and share them. Technology has given us morechoice than ever before and as choice grows, loyalty and commitment to existingrelationships diminish.It is this eroding of loyalty, commitment and motivation that fuels the demand forGamification as a solution to building and sustaining relationships.Technology as a Solution ProviderThe Video Games Industry and those working with "Immersive Technologies" are at thecutting edge of the use of technology to engage and develop relationships. By providingthe tools which are finely tuned to our basic human personalities, they use a variety oftechniques to build on initial engagement that not only delivers the game mechanicrewards etc., but provides with access to new experiences that tap into our dreamspassions and emotions.The two key factors for me are accessibility and personalisation. Technology makes thepreviously inaccessible accessible. A classic example of this is Golf which is a highlyabsorbing physical game for both spectator and player. By its nature, without technology !4
  5. 5. it is only accessible to those with the time, money, location and ability to enjoy it. Moderntechnologies make the golf experience accessible to millions and Gamificationtechnologies like the Nintendo Wii have been able to turn spectators into players who canexperience the intrinsic rewards of golf on demand.Personalisation will be critical to "next generation" Gamification technologies which willhave the ability to intelligently adjust the behaviour of the application to the individualbased on developing a personal profile. The use of cloud computing and crowd sourcingtechniques will be used to achieve relationship bonding and commitment that mirror theway we build human to human relationships.The Play with Purpose WorkshopThe "Play with Purpose" workshop is designed to help individuals and organisations notonly understand why and how to apply Gamification to solve problems and/or improveeffectiveness, but also to equip them with a set of tools they can use to brainstorm andevaluate innovative solutions.The workshop uses the principles outlined in this document to develop "Play withPurpose" canvas models that can be personalised to any circumstance in any sector. For more details or to discuss the workshop, contact David Wortley by email at or mobile on +447896659695 !5