Unlock the Quest!-Gamification

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 1892 , Published on 15 May 2013

After social media, next buzz word in the market is Gamification. Although the concept is in its nascent stage in India, but it will grow into a full-fledged talk of town in immediate future.

Now, what is this new term, gamification? Technically defining, Gamification is using game mechanics and dynamics in non-game applications to make them more interesting and fun engaging.

Or in other words, gamification is extension of game like thinking and design outside of entertainment in private homes.

Imagine the traffic on site or the level of customer engagement, if brands offer something as innovative and engaging as angry birds or Farmville. In fact nobody ever thought, managing a farm could be that interesting before Zynga came up with Farmville.

So what is that is actually needed? The first is to think like a game designer. It’s not always required to give users a 3-D or an out of world environment, but an intelligent amalgamation of both easy and difficult options, providing a fun element for both unskilled and skilled gamers, so that nobody gets bored out of it.

There are three steps required for gamification, and they are: Onboarding, scaffolding, mastery. Visualise these as the three checkpoints through which one has to cross. But the trick is that this journey from onboarding via scaffolding to mastery should take the player at some level of achievement. It should not be a random path, where the player does not know where to reach and what he/she will achieve.  So much so, that these three checkpoints should be easy for starters but the level of difficulty must increase at different levels, otherwise the game would be way too much simpler or too complicated, which in both cases, does not fulfils the mission to engage more customers (or players). Ergo, first get the players onboard, provide them with easy tasks and support them throughout the journey to mastery or in other words, the highest level of achievement.

Apart from these three steps, there are other armour also.

In order to keep the players engaged, you have to inject something in the game, continuously, so that the level of interest and curiosity of “What’s next” is maintained always. Almost no player, at any time should feel bored out of the game.

Next ‘Shoryuken of gamification is experience. This comes from definition of marketing per se. In this techno world, marketing is all about offering not only a quality product and service but experience also. Same goes with the game design. Offer them something unique of an experience and their return is bound to happen.

As an example, a popular TV show, psych created a game, “club psych”, where in there is quest for players and they get rewards and badges in the form of achievement. These badges and rewards can be shared online through Facebook and twitter. Thus a leaderboard is also present. With the increase in number of levels, new challenges are thrown, this ensures players’ curiosity and engagement.

This strategy resulted in 30% increase in online traffic on the website of the show, 50% increase in sales of merchandise, page reviews increased to 130% and if this was jaw dropping, then here comes the bonanza, psych content was shared 300,000 times on Facebook reaching 40 million users. This is new marketing trick, which if designed and formulated intelligently, can lead customer engagement to new heights.

Another example is of turntable.fm which is online site to tune into FM. They created an altogether club like experience for their users. Their site not only provides music but also there are pictures drawn depicting DJs picking music, real time. Also, audience is also shown in there, thus a user is exposed to a club like experience. Also, you can rate the music being played on meter provided on the page, on a scale, as whether it’s lame or nice. This is what we can call an experience for the users.

What not to forget is the fun element, which is like the ‘Ammo’ of gamification. Should the game have serious fun, people fun or something else? The answer to this is that the game should have all these types of fun. What one finds fun to do might not be same for the other. At times, people do some tasks in games as they are very serious about it in the gaming world, not in the real world. Also, fun comes with socialising with other players also. When you have a leaderboard, or your new score as status update, socialising is on the cards. And people love socialising, both in real and gaming world.

But is it always necessary to include quest, badges etc. in your games? Does the game has to be online only for maximum engagement?

The answer to this question is NO. Coke made it happen in a real game, not online. When Skyfall was released, the world was going gaga over 007, no doubt! But only social media and advertising were not to which James Bond was restricted to.

Exclusive tickets to the movie, skyfall were sold to people, but not regular people, but only those who could unleash the ‘007 BOND’ in them.

This happened on Antwerp central station, Belgium .People had to complete a mission, of reaching a particular destination in 70 seconds. But this wasn’t as easy as it seemed. People were to unlock the bond in them and surpass all the disturbances, added intentionally, but seemed unsuspicious, to reach the point to get free tickets to Bond movie. This happened on Antwerp central station, Belgium. No badges, no leaderboard, no online game. But this fantabulous idea got maximum accolades.

Concluding, it can be said that ‘gamification ‘ can be next ‘IT’ thing in the market, provided the game designers keep this in mind that the game has to be ‘INTERESTING’ as it unfolds different levels. Otherwise, playing the same game over and over again will turn players to eventually get bored out of it. One more thing to look at is that you need to keep a good eye on the whole gaming process, because cheaters are always there as you have cheat codes and cracks in your games like ‘Need for Speed’ or ‘Halo’, same is with gamification.

But then avoiding loopholes, gamification can surely be a success.

So, game is ON!  Are you ready?

Article has been authored by Neha Khanna from LBSIM, Delhi



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