Gamification means using digital game design techniques in non-game context, such as education, business or social. For example, a business can take techniques used by game designers and apply it to a non-gaming website to improve customer engagement and loyalty.
Taking popular elements of games and applying it to non-game actions is not a new idea. Gamification has been used for many years in the form of traditional hotel loyalty clubs and credit card or retail store reward programs. Gamification is a buzzword today because it is popular with younger, tech-savvy consumers who tend to look for engaging experiences.
Gamification Is Not Games For Business
Gamification is not about creating games for business or creating something new -- the techniques are applied to an existing experience or product to help a business improve high value interactions with customers and partners.
One of the most commonly used gamification techniques is rewarding the customer. In a game, the player is rewarded by accomplishing specific tasks. In business context, a reward program is used to encourage customers to accomplish specific tasks that will improve the overall loyalty and interactions with the company or brand.
The Future of Gamification
According to research firm Gartner, the current success of gamification is largely driven by novelty and hype but analysts say gamification is positioned to become a highly significant trend with 70 Percent of organizations having at least one gamified application by 2014.
A number of gamification solutions are available to business and enterprise users. Many of these platforms strive to help the organization improve customer loyalty and brand confidence. Platforms tend to be highly customizable and offer features that integrate game mechanics to drive the desired customer behavior. This typically includes reward systems based on points, badges and special offers for customers who take the desired actions.
The 3 Ms of Gamification (Gartner)
According to Gartner there are three key elements to engage its audience: motivation, momentum and meaning (collectively known as "M3"). Here is how Gartner defines M3:
Motivation is inspired by most of today's gamified applications primarily by offering extrinsic rewards and/or weak intrinsic rewards to direct behavioral changes. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside an individual and is inspired by rewards such as money and grades. Intrinsic motivation exists within an individual and derives from that person's interest in, or enjoyment of, the task.
Momentum depends on sustained engagement. In gaming, momentum is achieved by balancing the difficulty of the challenges presented with the skill levels of the players. If players find challenges too easy, they will soon get bored. On the other hand, if challenges are too difficult, players will become frustrated. Gamified applications need to engage players quickly and maintain their engagement through deft use of game mechanics such as challenges, rules, chance, rewards and levels.
Meaning is about serving a larger purpose. Gamified applications must provide rewards that are meaningful to the participants. Different people will find different rewards and incentives meaningful, but many will value opportunities to help charities through donations, lose weight, master a specific skill or achieve a significant task. (source: Gartner)
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