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Gamification

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Gamification techniques strive to leverage people's natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure. Early gamification strategies use rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks or competition to engage players. Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar, or providing the user with virtual currency. Making the rewards for accomplishing tasks visible to other players or providing leader boards are ways of encouraging players to compete.[26] Due to potentially problematic consequences of competition, which can result in unethical behavior, low cooperation and collaboration, or disadvantaging certain player demographics such as women,[27] best-practice gamification designs try to refrain from using this element.

Applications

  • Marketing
    Gamification has been widely applied in marketing. Over 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies surveyed in 2013 said they planned to use gamification for the purposes of marketing and customer retention. For example, in November 2011 Australian broadcast and online media partnership Yahoo!7 launched its Fango mobile app/SAP, which TV viewers use to interact with shows via techniques like check-ins and badges. As of February 2012, the app had been downloaded more than 200,000 times since its launch. Gamification has also been used in customer loyalty programmes. In 2010, Starbucks gave custom Foursquare badges to people who checked in at multiple locations and offered discounts to people who checked in most frequently at an individual store. There have also been proposals to use gamification for competitive intelligence, encouraging people to fill out surveys, and to do market research on brand recognition. Gamification has also been integrated into Help Desk software. In 2012, Freshdesk, a SaaS-based customer support product, integrated gamification features, allowing agents to earn badges based on performance.
  • Customer Engagement
    Gamification has also been used as a tool for customer engagement,[37] and for encouraging desirable website usage behavior. Additionally, gamification is readily applicable to increasing engagement on sites built on social network services. For example, in August 2010, one site, DevHub, announced that they have increased the number of users who completed their online tasks from 10% to 80% after adding gamification elements. On the programming question-and-answer site Stack Overflow users receive points and/or badges for performing a variety of actions, including spreading links to questions and answers via Facebook and Twitter. A large number of different badges are available, and when a user's reputation points exceed various thresholds, he or she gains additional privileges, including at the higher end, the privilege of helping to moderate the site.
  • Inspiration
    Gamification can be used for ideation, the structured brainstorming to produce new ideas. A study at MIT Sloan found that ideation games helped participants generate more and better ideas, and compared it to gauging the influence of academic papers by the numbers of citations received in subsequent research.
  • Health
    Applications like Fitocracy and QUENTIQ use gamification to encourage their users to exercise more effectively and improve their overall health. Users are awarded varying numbers of points for activities they perform in their workouts and gain levels based on points collected. Users can also complete quests (sets of related activities) and gain achievement badges for fitness milestones. Health Month adds aspects of social gaming by allowing successful users to restore points to users who have failed to meet certain goals. A review of health apps over 100 apps in the apple app store showed a positive correlation between gamification elements used and high user ratings. Naming myfitnesspal as an app that used the highest amount of gamification elements.
  • Work
    Employee productivity is another problem that gamification has been used to tackle. RedCritter Tracker, Playcall, and Arcaris are examples of management tools that use gamification to improve productivity. Digital Brand Group is the first company in India to fully gamify their work process to make their work style more engaging and encouraging. Experts anticipate that the technique would also be applied to health care, financial services, transportation, government, employee training, and other activities. Indeed, a growing area is in the development of game-based assessments for use in recruitment.
  • Education
    Education and training are areas where there has been interest in gamification. Microsoft released the game Ribbon Hero 2 as an add-on to their Office productivity suite to help train people to use it effectively, which was described by Microsoft as one of the most popular projects its Office Labs division ever released. The New York City Department of Education with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has set up a school called Quest to Learn centred around game-based learning, with the intent to make education more engaging and relevant to modern kids. SAP has used games to educate their employees on sustainability. The US military and Unilever have also used gamification in their training. The Khan Academy is an example of the use of gamification techniques in online education. In August 2009, Gbanga launched the educational location-based game Gbanga Zooh for Zurich Zoo that asked participants to actively save endangered animals and physically bring them back to a zoo. Players maintained virtual habitats across the Canton of Zurich to attract and collect endangered species of animals. In 2014, the True Life Game project was initiated, with the main purpose of researching the best ways to apply concepts of gamification and crowdsourcing into lifelong learning. In 2015, Arizona State University added five interactive story based games to its environmental science curriculum. Within the game, students are placed in leadership roles and given the task of solving complicated environmental and sustainability issues.

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