Millennials and Gamification: How to keep them engaged

The Millennial generation is a group of young adults who were born between 1980 and 2000. They are known to be idealistic and impulsive, but with a strong grasp on today’s technology. I myself, am a Millennial. At this point, it’s starting to feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy, where I’m magically destined to abide by the unspoken (but unofficial) rules of being a Millennial:

  1. The constant need to seek out new and exciting career opportunities at every turn! Job loyalty? What is that? Never heard of it.
  2. The hunger for self-validation and self-fulfilment. Rewards and benefits are a must-have, and the work we do… has to mean something.
  3. Mentally wired to give up when the going gets tough. Unlike our forefathers and the Baby Boomers, Millennials are allegedly unfamiliar with the term “working hard”.
  4. The short attention span of an average Millennial means shorter instructions, more action, and instant gratification.
  5. Millennials, being brought up in the “digital” era, love to have fun and enjoy life, in general.

As this generation is set to form an estimated 50% of the workforce by 2020, we need to start focusing on how to attract – and retain – them in our organisations, and also to engage them to learn on the job. Marketing for Millennials would also take into account the way they think and react to advertisements and promotions.

#1: HR for Millennials

Over the past few years, we have worked with clients in gamifying their recruitment practices, onboarding processes and training programmes. It seems to be a popular trend, and a growing concern, that the staff is disengaged and unmotivated to partake in activities within the office (e.g. staff e-learning, employee performance games). Millennial staff especially, are on a lookout for a more challenging pursuit of knowledge, coupled with technology, because… technology.

While there are many solutions to this issue of disengagement, the one that we are keen to talk about (for obvious reasons) would be the gamification solution. Gamification within HR can come in many forms and for most of our clients, engaging the younger generation of employees was their target audience.

Firstly, some large organisations have come to appreciate how gamification elements can be incorporated into the recruitment process. It helps them sieve out the qualified and interested applicants from those who are simply just trying their luck. It also allows them to engage their target audience (a.k.a the interested applicants and potential new hires) in ways that would be more interactive and detailed than a simple application form. With a fun theme, and creative copywriting in play, recruiting can be a game in itself, where applicants are expected to play the game in order to apply for the job, and in the process, learn more about the organisation and in turn, help them prepare for the interview that awaits them, should their job application be approved.

One example of such a unique practice would be DBS’ Joyful Journey recruitment programme. It invites applicants to embark on a journey around the world, understanding a bit of the culture from each country before completing a quiz that will determine which type of position are they most suited for.

Then, once the millennials are in, the onboarding programme is likely to be one of their first few exposures to the job, and HR/talent managers are keen to make a good first impression. To incorporate gamification into onboarding programmes, millennials can be encouraged to not only go through the programme in full (and meet the learning objectives of the HR manager) but also have fun while doing it! Creativity can play an important role in the way the content is introduced to the employees, and why not throw in some valuable rewards like “Coffee with the Director” as well?

#2: Learning/Training for Millennials 

After having spent a decade in the modern school system of today, with all the technology that can be offered, the millennials have adapted to a different learning style as compared to their parents’ generation. They are more responsive towards micro-learning, where information is given to them in bite-sized chunks instead of lengthy articles to be consumed over many hours of learning. They learn quickly and they can apply quickly too.

Millennials, unlike the previous generations, are more willing to learn via the latest technologies, in particular mobile technologies, thus allowing for their learning to be… well, mobile. However, instead of simply converting streams of data into a mobile app, we need to consider applying current mobile habits and user experience to maximise the efficacy of mobile learning programmes.

One way to do so would be to incorporate gamification elements into the way the learning/training programmes are conducted. Having visible milestones (e.g. progress bars, badges) for learners to achieve can appeal to learners with a shorter attention span and those who require instant gratification for completing small tasks. By splitting the content up into bite-sized pieces and rewarding them for every step they have taken will ultimately motivate them to complete the whole programme without feeling fatigued by the information. Also, games provide instant feedback, which will be useful for millennials to learn from their mistakes immediately.

Rewards of varying values can also be used as bait to motivate them to completed even more challenges and therefore, learn more as a result, especially those who are already highly engaged by the programme. From Starbucks vouchers or invitations to closed-door networking sessions, the rewards must be those of value to the target audience, so do have a chat with your potential players before creating them.

 

#3: Marketing for Millennials

Forget about hard selling to the average millennial. They don’t respond well to sales people who will only boast about their products. A Forbes article mentions the use of social influencers as the new way of gaining trust among millennials today, where validity is based not on how well a sales person sells the product but by how many people are using it. Influence and authenticity is key. In fact, 84 percent of Millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy, and many say it’s important to read others’ opinions before purchasing.

Thus, marketing strategies that are in line with gamification can include challenges related mostly to social-related tasks, so as to allow user-generated content to go viral on social media – and have the players be rewarded for it! According to AdAge, millennials spend an average of 25 hours per week online, thus it would seem appropriate to focus our marketing efforts towards online social media platforms where they consume content. Through gamification, marketing efforts will be made more “personal” and will not have the “mass-produced” feel which, in a way, will make the receiver feel more special.

Thoughts, anyone? Let us know what YOU think of millennials (and if you have any useful strategies to appeal to them using gamification) by commenting below! 🙂

 

Life is a (Gametize) Game

Welcome to the Game(tize) of Life!

You know how it goes… Life is a game, and we are all players. And just like a game, life is complex, with many levels to unlock, points to earn, and other players to compete with.

So to compare life with a typical, plain vanilla Gametize game (now updated with some really cool new features, by the way), I guess it’s not as far-fetched as it may seem!

Let’s have a go at this, shall we?

#1: In the beginning…

A higher power, namely the Admin, creates an account on the Gametize platform… and breathes life into all the possibilities that it can offer!

The Admin will have the power to create individual projects for various types of games. Within each project, there will be topics and challenges/flashcards.

Much like real life, your “game” is divided into topics like “education”, “family”, “relationship”, “health”, and so on. Each topic, like your life, will contain unique challenges and life lessons (in our case, they’re Flashcards), some of which you would undergo once, and others… multiple times.

For going through these challenges, you will, of course, be duly rewarded in points. Those who reigh supreme will be recognised and revered when their names are displayed on the Leaderboard.

The Admin also has the power to oversee all its players, and would know the progress of each player. Which brings us to the next part…

#2: The Humble Mortals a.k.a Players

For every game played, there are players slogging it out and trying to make a living. Players in life vary; most are “socialisers” playing the social game, some are “achievers” craving purpose in life and fulfilment, some are “explorers” seeking new discoveries, and there is a handful of competitors called “killers” plotting world domination.

There’s a bit of everything here at Gametize. For mortals seeking glory and fame, completing every challenge is likely to be at the top of their to-do list. For those who are more concerned about socialising and popularity, they will either focus on capturing really impressive selfies (and praying for multiple likes) or thinking of quirky answers to open-ended questions.

Also, it’s human nature to compete and/or collaborate, especially in the work setting. Similarly, in a Gametize game, players can either compete or collaborate as individuals. Teams are offered to players who wish to collaborate and work together, or one could do without it if they are flying solo all the way.

#3: The Daily Grind a.k.a Challenges

Ah, what’s life if there’s no labour?  Here’s to the daily grind! *clinks glasses*

Much like in real life, some challenges are designed to test us. Some are simply meant to entertain us, or perhaps, give us some meaning in our lives. In school, we would have exams to grade our academic progress. We do the same here, but with quiz challenges and the occasional standard challenge.

Taking surveys is 10x more fun on the Gametize platform though (via the Poll challenge), because you can at least earn points that you can later on exchange for that sweet reward up for grabs.

At Gametize, we daresay it’s not as difficult as slogging it out at work in real life. We would complete challenges in exchange for points (our form of moolah) and our efforts would be recorded by the system for the Admin to observe. If we do good, the Admin may just reward us with extra points! Thank you God Admin!

#4: Judgement Day

For all the good deads we have done, Judgement Day is upon us, and we are ready to consolidate our points and redeem our rewards. The Rewards Store in Gametize, within a specific project, can offer a wide range of rewards, and the best part is, it can be anything, really. From coffee chats with the CEO to cute plush toys, the two-step redemption process we got going on is simple and intuitive enough for both players and admins to access and use almost immediately.

Want to know who’s the best of them all? Want to know where you stand? We take ranking seriously. The Leaderboard is visible for all to see, and if you’re a registered player, you can see the players that are right above you and right below you. Nothing better than to know who your immediate competitors – and how many points you need to beat them.

#5: Endgame

All good things must come to an end, eventually.

When all is said and done, it’s time to review the success of your game. That’s when the game analytics will come in handy. It will lead to all the data you will need to assess the success of your game. Like God, you will be able to keep track of how well your mortals, I mean, players, have done in your game (e.g. how many topics/challenges they have completed, who redeemed what rewards, who are the top players, etc.). Best of all, unlike God (I think, but hey, who knows, right?), you can download all this data in Excel format for your own safekeeping and recording!

And there you have it, the 5 stages of life at Gametize. Have fun! 🙂

Gamification of Health

Running is tough.

Oops, I meant to say that it’s tough if you’re unmotivated and unfit, like me.

With cases of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity on the rise in developing and developed countries, gamification companies have decided to take matters into their hands. ‘Nike Run,’ ‘Zombie, Run!’, ‘Sworkit,’ and ‘Superhero Workout,’ are all examples of gamified applications that promote exercise amongst users. Through the inculcation of fun storylines, reward systems and set goals, these exercise applications seek to motivate people to engage in more physical activity and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

‘Zombie, Run!’ and “Nike+” are two apps designed to carry out the same function. Yet, they utilise different aspects of gamification to motivate people. ‘Zombie, Run!’ has an intriguing storyline, in which the user is immersed into a post-apocalyptic world in which zombies roam about. The user has to run to escape from zombies, and the pre-set downloaded zombie run sequences are designed such that the user has to run faster at specific time intervals. The exciting storyline keeps the user actively engaged and allows for the user to keep playing the game. Whereas “Nike+’ utilised challenges and leaderboards to engage runners, before Nike decided to revamp the application and remove these functions, that is.

Nexercise, on the other hand, incentivises users by dangling extrinsic rewards such as gift cards at places like Home Depot/Sephora in their application NexTrack. Through completing their exercises, users gain points which are then exchanged for the material rewards. However, this proved to be ineffective in the long run as people started to gravitate towards other applications, and Nexercise shut down NexTrack in 2016. Clearly, extrinsic rewards alone are insufficient in keeping the users around. A good balance and mix of both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards is required to make sure that the game is effective in accomplishing its task in the long run. However, it can be safely said that many people are climbing onboard with the whole notion of gamified health applications, as seen from the growing popularity of it.

Written by: Wong Shu Ning (TJC Intern)

Thoughts from a Millennial: Gamification of learning

Gamification will probably sound like a foreign word to you, if you’ve never touched a gaming console in your life. Yet, gamification is pervasive, and lies right under most of our noses—‘our’ referring to our generation of millennials.

“What? I don’t even game!” You might cry out in protest, but the truth is that you don’t need to know how to work a Wii Remote to experience the effects of gametization.

MConline is a company that branches across various platforms such as hardcopy books, directories, magazines, and also technology to reach out to students. Its online website—Mconline is extremely popular amongst primary schools in Singapore. Due to the standardized curriculum by the Ministry of Education in Singapore, MConline is an extremely efficient platform in which students from different schools are all able to access and utilise to make learning more fun. Through completing challenges and quizzes with interesting and well-designed graphics in the form of a game or storyline, students are more incentivized to engage in learning via other routes aside from the traditional pen and paper method. Recently, they’ve even developed the MCeMath and the MCLMS phone application for students to access on their phones while on-the-go. Most students would have had some form of experience to MConline in their primary school days, implying that the students of today would’ve been exposed to some form of gamification when they were as young as seven years old!

Another extremely common example of gamified learning is ‘Kahoot!’. Kahoot! is a free, game-based learning platform accessible to students and tutors by the web. Teachers are able to customize quizzes and add in graphics or videos of their own, and students are expected to take part in the quiz using their mobile phones. The quicker students click on the right answer, the more points the students obtain. The student with the highest points at the end of the quiz will usually be given a small item by the tutor as a reward for obtaining the most points. These extrinsic rewards further motivate students to continue with engaging in such games in the future. Through the competitive elements and the reward-point system of the gamified learning experience, students are more incentivized to engage in the game. Kahoot! is commonly used across secondary schools and colleges to make the lessons more interactive and fun.

At this point, you might be stunned. Or surprised. Or neither of the above. The main point being, gamification is practically everywhere, and it’s become increasingly popular. According to Technavio, the global digital education content market is currently valued at $36 billion dollars, and is estimated to be worth $54 billion in 2020. We don’t tend to think about gamification while we’re actually in the midst of playing the game, but gamification is becoming increasingly pervasive, and it has become a powerful tool for people all across different groups to make a traditionally boring task into something that is interactive, engaging, and fun.

Given the fact that it is still a relatively new concept in the world of technology, gamification still receives flak from critiques saying that the original intentions of the motivation to do tasks are lost in the pursuit of extrinsic reward. However, that is exactly why effective gamification needs to be carried out. It is a vital design-thinking process that will ultimately result in the creation of novel, exciting, and fun experiences that can re-design and re-invent traditional experiences, providing new meaning into various aspects of our lives, and it is something that we should all at the very least, be aware of, and understand.

Written by: Wong Shu Ning (TJC Intern)

Confessions of a Gametize Intern: The truth about gamification

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)

Gamification of product advertising: M&Ms

What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘marketing’? Perhaps you’d envision an enthusiastic promoter, someone who’s good with words, trying to convince customers of a product’s value. Well, in light of technological advancements and the introduction of gamification into the field of marketing, we realize that the traditional promotional methods are not the only ways to advertise products. Gamification is something that plenty of companies have turned to to do the marketing for them.

Elements of a good advertisement/marketing strategy would include audience engagement, memorable, gets the message across succinctly, is easy to understand, and calls the viewer to action. We can see how gamification easily meets the mark for audience engagement and the call for action, with it being an interactive game and all. As such, gamification has been a tool that people turn to for adding the element of fun into their advertisements.

m_ms_facebook_gamification Continue reading “Gamification of product advertising: M&Ms”

4 ways gamification has redefined today’s workplace

If you’re like me, a newbie to the whole concept of gamification and what it’s about, you’d probably be confused as to what the applications of gaming are. To be succinct, gamification has been used in various industries and sectors to facilitate processes and to make the experience more fun for employees—especially in the corporate workplace and the education sectors. However, if you’re still not convinced on the impact gamification can have on the workplace, here are 4 ways gamification has redefined experiences and processes in the workplace.

#1 Job Matching

You’re a graduate from university applying for a job at a company. However, you aren’t very sure about which department in the company you’re best suited for. How do you get to explore the various departments to find out what you have a knack for without wasting time or pigeonholing yourself into a job in the long term? Ian Mitchell was one of such people when he first applied to L’Oreal after his internship, and through a gamified application called ‘Reveal’, he was able to discover and ascertain which department he was suited for via fixed challenges that comprise of scenarios and challenges which span across the various departments in the company.

After players finish the game, personalized feedback is given, and the high-achieving players are then asked for an interview at the headquarters. In Mitchell’s case, he’d just finished his internship in the PR department and he was considering switching to marketing. ‘Reveal’ played a big part in this as the feedback is catered to each individual, and the level of detail is insightful and very useful to participants. Results are generated swiftly and accurately, such that no time is wasted.

In today’s world, where many people have difficulty finding a job that suits them, efficient job matching is vital, and ‘Reveal’ is one of the many ways companies have revolutionized job matching such that they are able to hire the best-fit graduates for the job.

#2 Leadership Training

Negotiation, communication, time management, change management, and problem solving. These are 5 key traits in which all leaders should have. Five key traits in which Imran Sayeed, Chief Technology Officer of NTT Data, thinks these traits can’t be taught, but rather, experienced. Hence, the Ignite Leadership game was created, to allow for aspiring leaders in the company to learn more about the various roles in the company that they can take on, along with the different management sectors within the company.

Through specified role-play scenario challenges, participants are exposed to situations in which leadership qualities have to be exercised. Out of the 70 participants that were a part of the NTT Ignite Leadership game, 50 moved on to undertake leadership roles, which was 50% higher than those that had been trained using conventional methods. From this, we see how the gamification of training methods appears to be highly effective. Furthermore, the rising numbers of companies engaging in gamified training do seem to reflect the programs to be effective as well. It is a method that saves time, manpower, and energy.

#3 Customer Engagement

Keeping customers and clients engaged and willing to come back to patronize your company’s services is one of the top priorities of businesses, and Coca Cola reworked their loyalty model in 2014 to appeal to the millennials and teenagers to do exactly that.

Through gamification of the process, members of the ‘My Coke Rewards’ system can scan codes on products to redeem points which in turn, can be exchanged for rewards, such as gift cards or trinkets like fridge magnets. These extrinsic rewards serve to be great motivators and incentives for the customers to continue patronizing. In the case of Coca-Cola, they partnered with various large establishments such as Wal-Mart and Sephora to obtain the extrinisic rewards for customers.

Badges are also awarded as the user completes certain tasks. This is a form of intrinsic motivator which enhances the gaming experience that encourages customers to continue purchasing products/returning to the company, while keeping them actively engaged due to the ‘fun’ experience. The point-reward system and the element of competition are examples that keep the customers coming back, and clearly, it has been working well. 

#4 Workplace Engagement

Doing mundane, day-to-day tasks are now seen as a chore by us 21st Century people. We dread it, we abhor the thought of having to do the little tasks for the day due to our shortened attention span and our increasingly fast-paced lives. Well, guess what? Chore Wars is an online web game that that is essentially a gamified experience of doing chores—AKA the really boring things that you hate to do, but have to do.

Players get to claim experience points by carrying out tasks. In this case, people would be able to utilise this game in a working environment to carry out their tasks. All you have to do is sign up with a couple of friends. Experience points are tracked, and players are able to level up every time they score 200 experience points. Quests, challenges, and combat are all elements to Chore Wars that make the experience fun for players. The element of competitiveness also makes the day-to-day experience less mundane, and it motivates and encourages people to carry out the tasks. Such gamified experiences increase worker engagement, and also participation levels.

Gamification of the workplace has transformed plenty of traditional experiences and has allowed for people in the workspace to gain new insights and learn while playing, and this could prove to have many far-reaching benefits for many companies in the future.

Written by: Wong Shu Ning (TJC Intern)

Gamification of ‘Zombies, Run!’

Only a few have survived the zombie epidemic. You are a Runner en-route to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. They need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home.

This may sound like an excerpt from a typical post-apocalypse novel but it is actually the setting for the application, “Zombies, Run!” The application throws players into a new world where zombies have taken over the world and they have to run for their survival. The application is split into different seasons and further broken down into chapters which lasts for typically 18-30mins (depending on the runners’ preference for their run duration). Each chapter has a different setting and story that links up the story for the entire season.

It incorporates different aspects of gamification to provide incentives for people to get off the couch and put on their running shoes.

Isn’t it just a run? How is that fun?

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Over the course of the run, runners are rewarded with virtual items they pick up along the way such as “A mobile phone”, “First aid kit” and “Batteries”. These random rewards keep runners on their feet, rewarding them for every few hundreds of metres that they have ran.

Runners are also awarded with achievement badges and artefacts which they can view in their profile. While this may not seem much for most runners, achievements do serve as one of the biggest incentives for gamers of the ‘achievers’ persona. (Yes, that’s me)

Wow. This seems real.

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The plot of the game may seem to be something out of the world, but the verbal narratives keep such thoughts away from runners. Efficient usage of voice and music elements keep runners immersed in the world of “Zombie Runs!” Each chapter ends off with a preview of the next, teasing and tempting runners to continue their run just to unravel the next part of the plot (Been there, done that).

Zombies! What else did you expect?

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The application cleverly employs the use of zombies throughout the entire gameplay, in the narrative and even during the runs themselves. The groaning voices of zombies can be heard while they chase after runners during the runs; triggered based on the storyline or simply a random event. Runners are expected to increase their pace or face losing the items that have collected thus far. The extra danger incentive pushes runners that bit further during their runs.

(Too bad though, this game doesn’t allow us to actually kill the zombies like other zombie games. I would love to shoot their heads off instead so I can take a break instead of sprinting.)

Farmville? Try zombie-ville!

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The application adds on a ‘town-building’ feature using the items collected. Instead of building farming plots and stables, runners build infrastructure necessary for survival, much like the buildings we see in Sims.

However, this feature is a stand-alone feature that does not value add to the original running experience. But it still goes in line with the game, allowing players to feel as though they are indeed defending against the hordes of zombies in the game.

Jog, sprint, find the airdrop!

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The application has undergone many changes and upgrades since its early days, with up to 5 seasons worth of stories and different gameplay modes, such as airdrop, supply, radio and training runs. It combines running with game features, giving real objectives to runners on airdrop modes, casual runs on supply and radio modes and lastly for the hardcore runners, the training modes.

Radio mode stands as one of my favourite, with the 2 Radio DJs talking about anything under the sun such as survival tips and punny jokes. The radio mode operates just like a real radio station, allowing runners to listen to their own music playlist, injecting with stories in between songs. The quirky comments and interaction between the 2 Radio DJs never fail to amuse me while I complete my runs.

But, I just want to know how much I ran.

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With GPS functions incorporated, “Zombies, Run!” is also a run tracker, allowing fervent runners to track their distance completed, running speed and their running routes. The running performance of runners are presented (in voice) to runners at the end of every run in the game. This timely feedback keep runners on track on their training plan or simply just makes them feel good for sweating it off for the past 30minutes.

“Zombies, Run!” is a perfect illustration of gamification, employing game-like features that transform mundane daily tasks into something more interesting, in this case, making your runs a more exciting journeys filled with rewards and zombies.

“Zombies, Run!” has managed to drag me out of the house and make me continue my run for that few more minutes. The Zombie storyline is a great fit for me as I have always loved sci-fi and apocalypse themed plots. I would highly recommend the Radio Mode for anyone who isn’t that much of a fan of stories but would like that extra jab in between your songs.

What are you waiting for, put on your running gear and run away from zombies!

By Ser Ming

The Hunger Games and Gamification

In 2012, one of the must-see films of the year was The Hunger Games, which was also one of the first few films in the “dystopia” genre, which is still immensely popular even now (The Maze Runner, Divergent, Elysium, Ender’s Game, Snowpiercer… There is quite an extensive list.).

In The Hunger Games, the Games were created to punish the twelve districts, who’d previously rebelled against the powerful and rich Capitol. In simpler terms, it’s a control mechanism that balances fear and hope.

While The Hunger Games is a dark and often depressing story, there are many good lessons to learn from it. It’s not just about the game, or the killing, or who Katniss will end up with. It is a story that explores deeper issues such as corruption, society and class, the power of the media…

And, as its name implies, it also teaches us a lot about games.

Or, rather, gamification.

Gamification is the act of putting game elements into non-game contexts to increase engagement.

For example, game elements are placed into the murdering of innocent people in The Hunger Games! Let’s take a deeper look at the gamification within the Games.

Rewards

Rewards, in the form of gifts, are heavily relied upon in the Games, and they motivate the tributes to do their best, before they even step foot into the arena.

hungergames2

While making public appearances prior to the Games (.gif above), the tributes show themselves off to television audiences to obtain ‘sponsors’, who will send gifts such as food, medicine, and tools to their favourite tributes during the Games

hungergames1

These gifts can be critical to survival and, thus, are highly sought after.

In gamification, achievements and rewards can come in the form of virtual badges to earn, or physical assets one can redeem with accumulated points. These achievements and rewards are meant to motivate players to play their best, the same way sponsors’ gifts motivate the tributes to leave a lasting impression in The Hunger Games.

Continue reading “The Hunger Games and Gamification”

What has Gamification got to do with Politics?

Gamification – the concept of incorporating game-design elements into distribution channels or activities to drive engagement – has been adopted in recruitment, marketing, learning and development, and even HR practices. Politics is also no stranger to the concept, as gamification has been predominant for driving advocacy and engagement…but let us first begin with the basics.

What are game-design elements again?
gamification-1Trying to top a leaderboard or accumulating sufficient points to redeem a reward? If you identify with either of these symptoms, then you’re already familiar with game-design elements! Achievements, rewards or a sense of belonging and camaraderie are a prevalent aspect in the traditional sense of gaming. Unlocking a new level in Angry Birds, redeeming a shopping voucher or joining a guild in World of Warcraft; participating in activities that offer intrinsic or extrinsic rewards and accomplishments may very well be the reason users stay engaged.

Characteristics of competition, rewards and redemption, or even a sense of belonging can increase engagement of your audience, depending on their motivations. Game-design elements resonate with our fundamental instincts to participate in activities with such characteristics.

Ok, back to the title of this article…
Now that we recognize game-design elements, let us examine it in politics. There is inherent competition in campaigning and rallying. There is belonging in throngs of like-minded supporters. Despite the change in context, the fundamentals remain the same. Politicians compete, they mobilize supporters, and they offer perks ranging from free tortillas to free wristbands.

GOT Parody

Image source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/26/julia-gillard-game-of-thrones

From 2001 to 2012, Joe Simitian’s annual “There Oughta Be a Law” contest engaged citizens by encouraging them to propose new ideas that may be passed into law. Since then, there have been 18 proposed bills that were successfully passed into law. Gamifying the process by introducing the notion of competition into a contest, driving growth and involvement by putting up attractive rewards allowed for this concept to run well past a decade.

Growth of Gamification in Politics and its possibilities
So how has gamification evolved in politics, and how can it continue growing from here? The 2012 presidential elections in the U.S. saw the conventional form of online games: “iCivics” and “Election Special”. According to Hamari et al., 2014 in their research paper: “Does Gamification Work? – A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification”, the effects of gamification are subject to caveats that may impact desired outcomes, but the general observation is that gamification can bring about positive results. Coupled with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to understand what motivates an audience, many processes in politics could be gamified to achieve larger objectives:

  • Awareness and education of political issues: Imagine a repository of resources and information that voters can access to learn about a politician’s proposed policies and understand his vision. Now imagine that vast amount of information being developed into an interactive game in the form of bite-sized quests or trivia. Encouraging well-informed decisions through gamification of information dissemination could possibly become a motivation.
  • Engagement of users and advocacy: For the audience that is motivated by extrinsic incentives, gamification could appear in the form of perks and rewards for completing challenges related to political understanding or support. Alternatively, free snacks at campaigns may quite possibly translate into higher attendances and in turn, better odds in a numbers game.

Perhaps even ideas that are slightly more out there such as looking to recruit and groom your “top players” into potential politicians could be accomplished through gamification. The possibilities are endless and the continued growth of gamification can only bring us more surprises for the future of politics.

We have witnessed a gamut of strategies in the Singapore General Elections (GE) 2015, and we think that gamification could have taken it further. The Gametize team decided to design a quick gamified demo to simulate how politicians can use gamification for their campaigns. Check it out at http://www.gametize.com/game/ge or search for “ge” on the Gametize appOr, you can just see the screenshots below:

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Several challenges available!

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Selfie your support!

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How about attending a rally?

1.4 Mobile version!

Also, in the name of fun, give our GE2015 Prediction Game a spin! Find it at http://www.gametize.com/game/gepredictions or on the Gametize app by searching “gepredictions”. May the luck be with you!

//Edited by Keith Ng.

This post was contributed by Wena Goh, Project Management @Gametize
Wena Goh has just joined Gametize; she seeks to entertain us with her dark (and sometimes ironic) humour. She’s got canine companions she loves dearly and when she’s off duty, you’ll find her either buried in books or enthusiastically farming her BKB (she’s not very good though).