What is Gamification?

Good question!  I’ll lead into the discussion with a personal story to begin my point.

Throughout my entire life I’ve never really been a huge fan of running to stay in shape.  I knew why I was supposed to do it, obviously to stay in shape, perform better in sports, be healthy, insert long list here, but I never enjoyed it.  I was never motivated to train just to Basketball-1train or run just to run.  That said if you gave me a basketball and half court with a net, I’d run until I could barely stand.  It was fun, it had rules, you kept score, you had goals, and you could compete.

Basketball was always fun for me and it was the gamification of my cardio workout and my running.

Okay so what is gamification?  In short gamification is application of game mechanics into non-game activities for engaging, influencing and motivating people.  To be clear, gamification is not making a game out of life, although some might argue that life and everything in it is a game.

Game mechanics consist of basic actions, processes, controls, rules and rewards that contribute to game play in order to create a compelling and engaging experience.  These game mechanics are used to evoke an emotional response that motivates the player in a very compelling way towards some goal.  The basis for motivation is humanity’s need to satisfy the emotional desires created by the game environment and achieve rewards within the framework of the game.

So what are these game mechanics and how do they motivate?    I’ll be following up this post with examples of game mechanics and the under pinning emotional motivations so stay tuned.

Infograpghic from our friends at WePlay.co

Gamification has been used successfully across a wide variety of disciplines and has been shown to improve user engagement in activities ranging from physical exercise to complex multistage tasks.  In the context of a business operation, gamification integrates game mechanics and dynamics into the company’s culture internally to engage and motivate employees.  This drives productivity and loyalty and reducing turnover.  Gameification applied externally can engage target market segments, build and grow brand loyalty, and drive profits from repeat business.

A potentially powerful tool for a nearly any situation and something we all should understand on some level.

What do you think about the concept of Gamification?  Is it a valuable tool or a passing fad?  Leave your feedback here or drop me an email at [email protected] this blog’s url and let me know.  Finally (and most importantly) sign up for my mailing list to keep in contact with me and the projects I’m pursuing.  I promise no spam, just periodic updates on the projects I’m working on and topics related to them.

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