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Gamification Defined

The term “gamification” has made a big splash over the last few years; actually, the term itself was officially coined back in 2002 but didn’t really reach critical mass until 2010 (according to Wikipedia’s article on gamification). These days there are classes on gamification (like this one offered by the University of Pennsylvania via Coursera which offers insights into Game Thinking, Psychology and Motivation and Enterprise Gamification while also providing a Gamification Design Framework). A company called Gigya provides a gamification platform that claims to be able to build user loyalty through incentivization (I may have just coined a new word there myself). If you’re wondering what all the noise is about or if you have never heard of gamification before but are intrigued by the sound of it, check out what four gamification experts have to say on the subject all this week here on DailyTekk. Today is just the tip of the iceberg as we explore the ins and outs of gamification, beginning with the definitions below.

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Gabe Zichermann: “Gamification is the process of engaging people and changing behavior with game design, loyalty, and behavioral economics. It’s taking what’s fun about games and applying it to situations that maybe aren’t so fun. It’s about applying that feeling of flow to everything from employee motivation to research studies to marketing campaigns.”

Sebastian Deterding: “Gamification is the use of game design in non-game contexts—and part of the larger shift in user experience design from reducing friction (usability) to increasing motion (motivation), to use an image designer Joshua Porter made popular. Done well, gamification expands the designer’s palette from the worn tools of “customer engagement” to motivate specific user activities—granting rewards, sweepstakes, promotions, etc. in exchange—towards ways of making the desired activitiy enjoyable for their own sake, like they are in a well-designed video game.”

Jesse Schell: “Gamification is a word people use when they are trying to figure out how to make boring things more interesting. It’s a kind of naive word that I hope will go away soon. When people say “gamify” they really mean something more like improve motivational design And, improving design is always cool.”

Scott Dodson: “Specifically, Gamification is the application in non-game domains (health & wellness, education, finance, etc.) of mechanics and dynamics evolved from games. It’s uber cool (when successful) because it creates a completely different and highly motivating context for a user’s experience. Rather than feeling like they have “to jump through hoops,” the user discovers compelling challenges, and reaps psychological rewards when those challenges are completed. The net result is the holy grail of interactive product design: sustained engagement.”

Meet The Experts

  • Sebastian Deterding is a researcher and designer working on persuasive and gameful design, head of the Gamification Research Network and co-editor of “The Gameful World” (MIT Press, 2013). He lives online at codingconduct.cc.
  • Scott Dodson (@gamebiz) is a serial entrepreneur, UX consultant, and gamification guru. He is a Founder and CPO of Bobber Interactive, and a Professor of Game Design at Digipen.
  • Jesse Schell is the founder of Schell Games and has been developing games for more than 10 years.
  • Gabe Zichermann is an author, highly rated public speaker, entrepreneur and the chair of GSummit (SF, April 16-18, 2013) where top gamification experts across industries gather to share knowledge and insight about customer & employee engagement and loyalty.

Featured image via Playbasis; Gamification in 2013 and Beyond

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