Storytelling in Gamification

Storytelling. A simple concept we all know well but here’s a short piece on why storytelling is powerful and essential.

Storytelling makes life easier for everyone. Without it, every form of communication would be lost in translation. Storytelling turns the most complicated subject into something simple. It makes a boring task enjoyable. With a little exaggeration thrown in, storytelling is the conveyance of ideas into something meaningful.It is a powerful communicator that makes ideas come alive, making room for community sharing, learning and exploration!

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How is storytelling related to Gamification?

To begin with, Gamification is the application of game psychology and mechanics to non-game contexts. It is an enhancing process  that makes the most mundane a little less dull. However, in order for it to come alive, we need words and the power of stories. There are many ideas that might not see the light, hidden within our imagination. We need to speak them, write them and play them out. Stories play and stir the emotions, they are the propellers which move ideas forward and they provide purpose. Stories create caves for exploration and this is what games are made of. Great games are defined by the ideas and narratives they provide. Think Assassin’s Creed or Kingdom Hearts. The characters and story play a huge part in their popularity.

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Even better, get your users to craft their own stories. For e.g. Selfiely is a Instagram meets selfie challenges app, with challenges such as “a selfie with your food”. Complete that challenge and share that story about how your food is your best dinner companion! You may have just found a new place to hang out.

You see, stories make the world a more joyful place.The storyteller is able to get under the skin of his target audience, making them feel and participate. He creates approval and belief, attracting followers to his cause. With a little touch of game magic, stories are the added arsenal that arms one to motivate people to change. A gamified experience begins with compelling stories. Stories create motivation to play, share, learn and explore, which are the very fundamentals of gamification.

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Perils of gamification: overjustification

Gamification uses game psychology/mechanics to increase engagement, loyalty, and fun in a given (non-gaming) environment/context. Given how much hype is currently associated with gamification, it is only natural to ask the obvious question, “Can every aspect of our lives, especially those that are particularly boring/demotivating, be gamified? What would be the ultimate result of human behavior in such a case?“

Before, moving on, let’s introduce a concept in which gamification usually plays out. Usually, gamification represents a special example of the principal-agent dilemma. In its essence, this dilemma occurs when a person/entity (agent) is able to make decisions that impact, or are on behalf of, another person/entity (principal).  For example, consumers (agents) regularly make a buying decision of a brand (principal) product.

Principal_agent

While this interplay is nothing bad and has numerous instances in politics/ economy/societal life, it can become problematic if/when there is difference of interests and asymmetry of information between the principal and the agent. moralhazardIn gamification-related initiatives, the principal is the motivator and the agent is the motivatee. In offering a reward to do a task, the principal (motivator) implicitly signals to the agent (motivatee) that the task in and of itself is undesirable/demotivating. In most such cases, extrinsic motivators are used, and the more such motivators are used the more saturated the motivatee might become. If motivatees were consumers and motivator was a brand that wanted consumers to become more engaged, the brand might loose those consumers completely.

In other words, if/when extrinsic rewards/motivators can’t keep up, the resulting effect is called gamification backlash, which is often caused by the abusive use of PBLs (or other gamification mechanics), many of which are extrinsic. Used continuously, extrinsic incentives ultimately decrease a person’s intrinsic motivation for the (gamified) behavior, a phenomenon known as overjustification.

Overjustification

 Overjustification is manifested in cases where giving an external incentive to a person decreases his intrinsic motivation to perform the task. The problem is that most of platforms/tools (Bunchball, Badgeville, BigDoor, PunchTab, FanGager, etc.) around only offer extrinsic motivator services.

Let’s take an example. If an employee has an intrinsic motivation (and some skills) to do graphic design work, he/she will do it independently whether it is in his/her job description or no. If the company introduces extrinsic motivators (salary bonus, additional holidays, flexible working hours, etc.), the employee may, in short-term, show increased productivity/results in graphic design work. If however, the company continues with extrinsic motivators, the employee is bound to eventually arrive at one of following two points:

  1. Attention shift: with time, the employee  ill become attached to extrinsic motivators (if they continue to be offered), and will become mechanized and conditioned to perform (or NOT) depending on the presence and increasing value of these extrinsic motivators.
  2. Insatiable/increasing expectations: extrinsic motivators need to keep growing in order to keep the employee motivated. If their perceived value is the same or decreases over time, this will demotivate the employee. 

To avoid the overjustification trap, start by asking the following two questions:

  • Is your brand or product already fundamentally strong enough for consumers to want to interact with it?
  • Is your product solving a problem, facilitating a process or in any other  way providing value for customers?

If so, gamification is a wonderful way to provide more avenues for your loyal and interested customers to further engage with you. If not, don’t waste your time and money – you have a much bigger problem that gamification will not be able to solve for you.

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This post was contributed by Hayk Hakobyan, guest writer
Hayk is a consulting partner at Gametize, based mostly in MENA region.
He is a consultant (marketing, innovation, gamification, social media, org dev), entrepreneur (@kartagapp, @engezni), TEDx speaker,advisor/coach (@thezimbabwean, @verdademz, @mtramadv), and volunteer (@takingitglobal).

Gamification and evolution of modern societies

By now, many have heard of the term “gamification.” Before going any further, let’s formulate what gamification boils down to. Gamification is “introducing gaming dynamics into a non-gaming context.” But why introduce gaming dynamics? Because games are addictive. In essence, each and every game is played because it combines two factors: “wanting” and “liking.” These two factors drive increased engagement and intrinsic motivation (on part of game players).

If a company or its product – from whichever industry – can offer (by means of gamifying) these two psychological justifications, it has a potential to increase engagement and loyalty to itself and its product.

Many have come to think of gamification as something that is associated with marketing and related to technology. While both cases might be true in the 21st century, gamification is becoming a significant driver for evolution of modern societies in all their aspects. 

Pushing the envelope

Since recently, gamification has been disrupting and transforming some of the fundamental pillars of society: banking, health/wellness, science, transportation, education and environment/food chain.

In banking, interest in gamification is driven by the perceived threat of new non-bank entities (Square, Mint, Google Wallet, etc) entering the market. The Infosys study asked banks what they consider their biggest threat going forward, and mass exile of customers to new (financial services offering) startups was perceived as one of the biggest threats. To tackle that threat by increasing loyalty and engagement of customers, many banks (especially in South East Asia) are now adopting gamification methodologies.

Hana Bank, one of the winners at BAI in 2013, gamified elements of its online and mobile statements so that customers could play/interact with their spending categories.

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The popular personal finance site Mint is helping its customers to become financially “fit” by allowing them to define financial goals and managing their credit cards and debts.

In health/wellness category, Fitocracy was created by two former gamer geeks turned fitness geeks. On Fitocracy, members log their workouts, earning skill points that allow them to “level up.” Each level unlocks “quests,” challenges for users to advance further or try new types of exercise outside of their comfort zone.

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As of March 2013, Fitocracy boasted 1 million actively engaged (only Facebook garnered more engagement from those) users and the support of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In science, Fold.it broke into the science field by trying to tackle a problem that baffled all attempts of solving the AIDS-enzyme-structure-related problem by the scientific community for nearly a decade. It opened up its

platform to gamers/amateurs who played a protein-folding game, unlocking the 3D structure of an AIDS-related enzyme in one week.

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In transportation industry, since beginning of 2013, Mini owners have already been using Mini Connected app. And few months back, Google and Volkswagen America launched a joint initiative called SmileDrive.

So far, it’s an Android-only app offering the ability to create a Smilecast: a dynamic travelogue filled with the captured photos, maps of the trip, status updates, etc. on a single URL. It also allows to measure distance, time and weather and share all that information with friends.

In education, one initiative, Khan Academy, stands out more than the others.  It started in 2004 with Salman Khan, an American-born Indian-Bangladeshi with degrees from MIT and Harvard, trying to teach math to his cousin, initially using Yahoo Doodle notepad and, later, YouTube for the growing number other friends/relatives. Khan Academy, largely due to being free, is now an education platform that has a personalized learning dashboard, with over 100,000 exercise problems, and 5,500 YouTube lectures on topics as varied as physics, microeconomic and computer science. kahn_stats

A significant factor, apart from being free, is that it has number of gamification elements, including skill growth trees,  problem-solving streaks and progress bars. The platform, as of 2013, had more than 6 million active monthly users and reported increase of successfully advancing students from schools.

In environment/food chain, a number of initiatives are pushing boundaries of status-quo by innovating and introducing more sustainable practices. Award-winning RecycleBank rewards people for taking everyday green (and e-green) actions with discounts and deals from more than 3,000 local and national businesses in the UK, the US and Canada. Users earn points for answering quizzes, performing energy-saving tasks, recycling garbage, etc. which then become eGifts, coupons and discounts and can be redeemed for over 20 categories of goods at Wal-Mart, Starbucks and other retailers. RecycleBank also allows donating points to charities, non-profits, etc.

mPaani, a water-related initiative, offers a loyalty program that gives users points towards water-related infrastructure or sanitization projects for purchasing mobile credits from sponsoring companies, as many of these communities have no clean water but many mobile phones.freerice

FreeRice, a food initiative, prompts its users (students) to answer simple trivia questions. Getting each question right earned a user ten grains of rice for WFP and was funded by ads. Users end up learning new skills, while helping to feed hungry people elsewhere in the world.

Vision

Each of these companies is the vanguard adapting and promoting the new approach in each of their respective industries and domains.  They push the envelope of what is possible by embracing 21st century technology and benefiting from wealth of research and analysis of behavioral economics, human psychology and motivational theories, all of which are incorporated in gamification and its varied applications.

As each of these companies defines new standards in their industries,  each helps, in one way or another, our societies to either solve a hitherto unsolved problem, do things more efficiently than before or invent new technologies and methodologies that would offer a bigger benefit or value to the society as a whole.

P.S.

While it can be debated for long time whether gamification is a fad or is here to stay, two things are becoming increasingly clear: its universal adaptation outside of its original realm, technology, and its impact, assessed on short- and perceived on long-term for those industries and domains.

Gartner, Inc. predicted in 2011 that by 2015, 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes, and that by 2014 more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application. In 2012, it also warned that 80% of then gamified applications will fail by 2014 mostly due to poor design. Thus, gamification, while obviously gaining ground, champions and adopters across industries, is not without its own pitfalls and mirages.

Just like Google and Xerox before, the term “gamification” now bears a certain connotation and was added to the Oxford Dictionary 2011 Word of the Year Short List.

P.P.S. Evolution

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There is a word “evolution” in the title of this article, and it isn’t by chance. Few years ago, there was an article on BBC News predicting that humans will, in few thousand years, split into two separate species.

The world, in all its multiple facets and forms, is evolving and so do modern societies. Gamification, while an important presence throughout human history, is taking a fresh and significantly more powerful role in shaping this evolution of modern societies.

The question is whether you and your company would be on the right or wrong side of this evolution in the long-run. Decide for yourself. Decide today.

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This post was contributed by Hayk Hakobyan, guest writer
Hayk is a consulting partner at Gametize, based mostly in MENA region.
He is a consultant (marketing, innovation, gamification, social media, org dev), entrepreneur (@kartagapp, @engezni), TEDx speaker,advisor/coach (@thezimbabwean, @verdademz, @mtramadv), and volunteer (@takingitglobal).

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (3rd and final episode)

Welcome the third installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in learning, and how to improve the problem of focus.

Welcome the third installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in learning, and how to improve the problem of focus. 

This week, we’ll be giving you the scoop on our final 2 smart ways through which you can make learning more engaging and fun with gamification. If you’ve missed out on our earlier tips, don’t fret! Keep up to speed here with our first and second posts respectively.

Tip number 6: Focus

urlFocus on the content, design, process, and pedagogy. Technology is just an enabler here. Gamification channels focus by automating important functions of the learning agenda. For e.g. A self-serve gamification platform like Gametize lets you manage the game flow, point system, levels, and rewards for the benefit of user engagement. It also manages the platform technology for learners to act upon (quizzes, passcodes, taking photos), freeing up your time and expertise to focus on delivering quality learning content.

The user analytics and metrics provided allow you to narrow down and focus on what problem areas you’d like to improve on specifically. The issue of engagement in learning, for instance, is linked to the problem of knowledge acquisition. Gamification can work to solve either of these issues, but starting small with what area you’d exactly like to improve would be of great benefit to you in the long run.

Tip number 7: Repetition 

motivation-feedback-action-loop“Practice makes perfect”. The wisdom underlying this adage is that repetition allows learners to apply or test what they’ve learnt, gain feedback on their performance, and re-apply their newfound knowledge.

The intrinsic human need for self-improvement will encourage the learner to measure proficiency and iterated improvement by completing the same quiz, questions and practical tasks. Here, repeated tasks can be made less monotonous by exercising some creative license with wordplay, or a simple change in context. Another way is to introduce varied feedback, e.g. in the form of badges, to reward the user for repeating the same activity.

Voila, and bearing in mind I just advocated for “repetition”, here is a quick recap of all seven deadly tips to make a killing with engagement in learning with gamification!

1. Applying gamification is not the same as making a game. The former fulfills the problem of engagement without distracting the learner from his/her true learning objectives.

2. Give timely feedback to let learners know where they are in their learning journey, and the next steps they should take moving forward.

3. Empower your learnersTheir involvement in their own learning process ensures that learning becomes proactive.

4. Capitalize on social dynamics to add weight to a learner’s personal achievements

5. User experience trumps everything. Always keep the motivations of the learner in mind.

6. Focus your energy on creating a comprehensive and effective learning program for your class or audience, through use of technology.

7. Encourage repetition to reinforce learning by encouraging your learners to constantly reapply their knowledge, and gain feedback.

If there’s only one lesson that you can take away from this series, gamification is a strategy to bring fun, engagement and clever design back into otherwise tedious activities in life, not a means to escape from them. At the heart of the matter, you’d want create a truly meaningful learning experience for your audience or class, one that expands beyond the classroom and into the larger experience of learning. Cheerios, and have fun making fun!

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This blog post is the third and final installation of our weekly 3-part series,  7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification. We’ve based this series on our whitepaper, Corporate Learning: Making it work with Gamification. If you’d like to receive a copy of our white paper, please go to http://gametize.com/game/secretlibrary.

Missed out on our first 2 posts of this series? No worries! Read more about our first and second posts respectively.

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This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (Part 2)

Welcome the second installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! This week, you’ll learn about the benefits of user empowerment, how to leverage on social networks, and the fundamental importance of user experience. 

If you have seen my previous post sharing two tips on improving learning with gamification, welcome back! Else, hello there, its not too late! I’ll be discussing three more smart ways that you could use gamification to simplify any learning agenda, and boost engagement with your class.

Tip number 3: Empower your target audience

Can you recall some of the *worst* learning experiences you’ve ever had to sit through? Such experiences were probably  felt mechanical, rigid, and offered absolutely no room for growth. To summarize: they were downright b-o-r-i-n-g.

Boring

Bringing empowerment back with gamification ensures that learning doesn’t fall into the trap of being a one-way street. This can be introduced through simple but effective means such as allowing your students to gain access to learning material when they wish, respecting different viewpoints offered and truly listening to their feedback. You should also look to integrate methods such as these into existing learning systems for greater engagement in the long-run.
By valuing your students’ contributions, learning becomes a proactive endeavor that’s much, much more enjoyable for everyone.


Tip number 4: Capitalize on social dynamics

Social networks lend considerable weight to the feedback we receive. For instance, badges earned by employees through Deloitte’s Online Leadership Academy act as both a sign of personal achievement, and of an earned business credential. For this reason, the badges earned proved very useful to showcase on professional networks such as Linkedin.

badgeville-behavior-platform_SCREENSHOT_Thu Feb 28 00-16-35 MST 2013

The figure illustrates a user’s profile, showcasing their progress levels, points and achievements. 

To weigh in on the power of social dynamics, make sure to draw clear parallels between your learning material/ agenda and a greater collective culture and its aims. This could be to meet a certain business objective, or helping your students achieve a particular social goal.

Tip number 5: User experience trumps everything

Creating a winning user experience requires a keen understanding of your target audience, and an acknowledgment of the fact that not everyone is motivated by the same things, and that everyone learns things in a different way, and at a different pace.

Optimize your learning agenda by introducing a measure of flexibility into activities and procedures. Do this by catering to multiple motivations and suppling your learners with a range of rewards so that they always feel included. For some, the value of gamification could be as simple as giving them a clearer picture of their learning progress. Others may derive enjoyment from social features that lets them discuss their views with their peers and mentors.

Well, dear reader, that’s all for this week! Do tune in for our final installation next week, where i’ll be telling you more about our last 2 tips to gamify learning: creating focus in the classroom, and the importance of repetition.

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This blog post is the second installation of our weekly 3-part series,  7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification. Next week, we’ll be sharing our final 2 tips that you could use to gamify learning: the importance of repetition in game-play, and how to improve the problem of focus. Seeya then! 

Missed out on our first post? Read more about it here!

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This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification (Part 1)

professor

Welcome to the first installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With Gamification! In this post, you’ll learn about the fundamental differences between gamification and games, and the importance of giving timely feedback to your audience. 

Learning anything can feel like a bitch of an uphill battle, for anyone. Lucky for you, we’ve got the perfect solution! That’s because it’s simple, and most elegant in its delivery. See, that’s the beauty of gamification. Simply put, gamification works because it gets straight to the heart of what motivates people, finds out what sticks, and uses it to mould a fun and effective experience. So if you’ve ever had a tough time learning anything, or need to create an effective learning experience for an audience… Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Over the next couple of posts, I’ll be sharing with you 7 smart ways for you to apply gamification for learning for your student audience. Feel free to apply them however you see fit, but remember this: the gems of gamification shine brightest if applied correctly, and intelligently.

 

Tip no. 1:  Applying gamification is not the same as making a game.

The key thing with gamification is to understand what motivates your audience, and to correctly apply elements found in games (points, challenges and levels) to pique interest and keep them on their toes. On the other hand, games (read: Candy Crush/ Flappy Bird) simply aren’t optimized for the learning agenda. In the virtual worlds that they create, it’s easy for users to get distracted by all that flashy, gimmicky jazz that technology has to offer. Sooner than you’d expect, users have been led far off the learning trail and into a dizzying pursuit for special powers and extra lives.

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For an effective learning experience, an intelligent application of gamification will work to keep your campaign fresh and fun, while staying true to the aim of acquiring knowledge.

Tip no. 2: Give (timely) feedback

Feedback acts as the fundamental navigational tool that tells us where we currently are, and what we’d need to do to get to our desired goal. Acting on timely feedback also provides users with a sense of moving forward, and some mastery over their learning journey.

An effective gamified learning experience should offer your learners immediate feedback on whatever actions they’ve just accomplished, be it answering a question or offering a suggestion or two. Points-based interfaces can also be used to reward your learning audience for their effort as well as performance.

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Well dear reader, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about our first 2 tips for gamifying learning. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this fun and highly informative video detailing the benefits of gamifying education, courtesy of the Extra Credits team, after the footnotes below.

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This post is the first installation of our weekly 3-part series, 7 Smart Ways To Improve Learning With GamificationNext week, I’ll be giving you 3 other tips; the low-down on the benefits of user empowerment, leveraging on social networks, and the fundamental importance of user experience. Stay tuned! 

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This post was contributed by Erika Tuason, Business Director @ Gametize
Edited by Keith Ng

Gamifying Game Tutorials

If you are a hardcore gamer dating 15-20 years back, you would probably scoff at today’s mainstream titles. In the Super Mario era, one would have to figure out all the how-tos, from jumping obstacles, crush hollow blocks, or throwing those fireballs. Fair enough, these 16-bit games simply required a controller that contained 4 directional arrow movements and 2 buttons, with simple enough gameplays.

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Today, most console buttons have 4 directional arrows, 4 round buttons, 4 shoulder buttons, and two joysticks at the front. Since most games are created to fully maximize the controllers’ use, titles today can be quite difficult to control without tutorials, which appears the moment you hit the start button, and in some cases, even before you hit it! The problem with most gaming tutorials is nobody understands them, especially in casino gamimg. Casino gaming tutorials are kind of like the End User License Agreement (EULA) in software installations that most people ignore.

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Gamification can get the most boring and monotonous rules to be learned easily. An example of a difficult-to-learn casino game is poker. To effectively play it, one must learn its myriad of jargons such as rainbow, big blind, spread limit, river, and hundreds of others. Those, along with different forms of playing styles, can make learning poker a hassle. Even playing simple casino slots and virtual betting sports today can be quite difficult to navigate for the first time because their rules have changed over time. The Leet Games Blog have enumerated some casino games online using Betfair Arcade’s titles as model and each game has a unique instruction from the rest. While their text-based game play directions can be informative, learning them through built-in game tutorials makes for a much better experience.

Gamifying the tutorials can be as simple as asking simple quizzes, providing a sense of progression, and lots of feedback that makes the players feel he isn’t alone, and it can be fun on its on. We will share in the next post how learning can be made a lot more fun and engaging.

Gamification Doesn’t Need Game Designers

As a novelist I grew up with a disdain for advertising copywriters. They were selling out; they weren’t real writers. And many copywriters bought into this idea as well. They were English majors, like my father’s best friend, who aspired to be novelists, but ended up as Mad Men, with that half-finished masterpiece in their bottom drawer.

My feelings have since changed on the subject, but imagine my surprise when I became involved in the startup world and recognized the same snobbish disdain from game designers toward the new field of gamification. Popular designers blogged about the superficiality of gamification, as if ZombiU were Hamlet. And not only game designers, but gamification companies and consultants bought into this theory as well and displayed a surprisingly over-sensitive defensiveness for a field that had rigorous research to justify its ambitions.

Game designers have become snobs.

Game designers put themselves in the powerful position of not only being gamification’s biggest critics, but also picking up the paychecks when they decided to sell out on lucrative gamification contracts. Everyone in this small but rapidly expanding non-virtual world bought into the idea that gamification was not only a bastardization of game design, but that game designers were the logical choice to create and implement these platforms.

Yet I’ve worked with several gamification startups, including Gametize, who do not have game designers on their teams, and their implementations are among the best I’ve seen. A game designer might even be counter-productive to a gamification effort if, say, his passion for leader boards and competition is detrimental to the objectives of the program.

We keep stressing that “gamification” is not synonymous with “game,” that it only employs game mechanics and dynamics, but can have very different objectives. And yet our blogs and white papers are full of quotes from game designers.

It’s time to stop assuming game designers are ground zero for gamification and start asking what exactly is the skill set required for a gamification designer or master? Because this is a new field, as TV advertising was in the 60s, I don’t claim to to know the answer. But I do know Hemingway and Faulkner would not have been good ad men. And I see no reason why game designers, a priori, are qualified to do gamification.

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This post was contributed by Mark Schreiber, guest writer
Mark Schreiber is a full time novelist since graduating high school at the age of 15. He also engineered his sister’s bestselling writing career and started and run several businesses, including a solo medical practice. He’s currently interested in technological entrepreneurship in Singapore and Silicon Valley.

Why Orcs Don’t Need Gamification

So you’re an orc foreman in the Mines of Moria. And one day a hip young marketing rep from a gamification startup shines her flashlight in your eyes and says:

“Our platform can increase employee motivation by using points and badges to reinforce more productive behavioral feedback loops.”

And you tell her:

“Lady, I’ve got dwarves in chains. That’s my feedback loop.”

The main criticism of gamification, from game designers, researchers and journalists is that it can be used to manipulate and exploit its subjects. A recent piece in the Economist echoes this concern.

They compare many of the games beloved by the gamifiers, such as “World of Warcraft”, to slot machines, with rewards carefully doled out in order to keep players hooked.

Gamification advocates acknowledge this hazard and offer strategies to avoid its misappropriation. But I don’t think they make our case forcefully enough. So I’ll state for the record that on the scale of dangerous things, gamification ranks somewhere around TV remote controls. I mean, you could probably bash someone to death with a remote control, but if you’re in the throes of a homicidal rage is that really the blunt instrument you’re going to reach for?

By the same token, rewards and leader boards are never going to be the first choice of repressive methods for enterprises out to oppress their workforce. Can you say Feudalism, Industrial Revolution, robber barons, blood diamonds, human trafficking…? Employers, whether a single scrooge or a state-run economy, whether a legitimate business or criminal gang, have pretty much perfected the stick part of carrot-and-stick.

What’s needed are ways for enlightened employers to motivate and engage their employees, to make their work more productive by making their tasks meaningful and even fun.

Gamification fills this need and may even be the best solution, especially as digital technology and social media continue to expand and transform our lives.

Our orc, on the other hand, hardly needs another hammer in his exploitation toolbox.

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This post was contributed by Mark Schreiber, guest writer
Mark Schreiber is a full time novelist since graduating high school at the age of 15. He also engineered his sister’s bestselling writing career and started and run several businesses, including a solo medical practice. He’s currently interested in technological entrepreneurship in Singapore and Silicon Valley.

Gamification is Not Dangerous

As a novelist I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that art and entertainment can effect changes in behavior. It’s a belief that’s been around for centuries. For example, the Puritans opposed dancing because they believed it would cause fornication. The latest incarnations include rap music, violent video games and online porn.

With the rapid grown of gamification it too, no doubt, will soon come under attack. Critics and lawyers and government officials will claim a teen’s suicide was caused by a lowering of his status level, or a homicide resulted from a dispute over virtual rewards.

Continue reading “Gamification is Not Dangerous”