As a sixteen-year-old going on seventeen who hadn’t the first clue as to what gaming was about, you could say that when I first signed up to spend four weeks of my life at Gametize (a local startup that specializes in gamification), I was overwhelmed. Mainly, it was because a part of me immediately related the concept of gamification to buzzwords like ‘Blackshot,’ or ‘League of Legends.’ (Both of which, I also had no prior experience in) However, after a week of exposure, I discovered that I was grossly mistaken about gamification.
Let’s begin by addressing a really common misconception—gamification isn’t the same as gaming.
I know, real shocker.
Many people tend to misunderstand gamification and what it aims to achieve. For example, when Gametize was announced to be one of the partnering companies with my school for the exposure project, many of the students dismissed the idea of it as merely gaming. When I told my parents that I was going to be attached to Gametize for a month, my dad raised an eyebrow and remarked that I didn’t exactly strike him as the ‘gaming type.’ Heck, even I thought I was going to be gaming for a month.
At this point, you’re probably wondering: Okay, so what is the difference then?
The differences between gaming and gamification can be concisely explained in two points—what it is and its purpose.
Firstly, let’s address what the two concepts are. Gaming is the action of partaking in a game, whereas gamification is a series of steps involving design-thinking. Gaming is an action, whereas gamification is a process by which elements of gaming—such as rewards, point systems and challenges are inculcated into carrying out day-to-day tasks.
Secondly, let’s look at the purposes of gaming and gamification. The main purpose of gaming is for the consumer’s fun, amusement, and leisure. The objective of gaming, in most cases, is to entertain. The objective of gamification, however, is to effectively translate real-life tasks into the form of a game, with a game interface and gaming elements.
Applications of gamification frequently tend to include sectors such as education and health & fitness. Through the intertwining of gaming elements such as obstacles, challenges, intriguing storylines and a point reward system, consumers are able to effectively learn/accomplish real life tasks which would traditionally be laborious to do. Hence, there is the implementation of a gaming interface to motivate and incentivize people to better carry out tasks.
So the next time you happen to come across the word, ‘gamification,’ remember, that although it includes elements of gaming, it is still not ‘Flappy Bird,’ or ‘Super Mario,’ or ‘Halo.’ It’s something much larger and much more complicated, and it’s also pretty darn cool.
Written by: Wong Shu Ning (TJC Intern)