Gamification, or ludification, is actually the extension of a durable tendency, that started during the 1980s, and that has been developing exponentially ever since internet’s democratization.
Gamification, what is it?
Gamification is the application of mechanisms that originally belong to games to other domains. It is for example the distribution of incentives according to the interaction created with the enterprise. Nonetheless, when creating a gamification strategy, an incentive isn’t mandatory.
In order to have a better understanding of gamification, having a closer look at its history is necessary: in the 1980s, flight companies developed a system of points, in order to reward frequent flyers, with miles. Rapidly adopted by other industries, this system of points reached its limit during the digital era: the consumer’s implication wasn’t strong enough, and besides a niche of users racing between each other for miles, the incentive was quite abstract.
During the digital era, appeared online platform games: the game wasn’t an extra part of the service, but was the essence of the user-enterprise interaction, finally reaching the status gamification has today.
Gamification, what for?
Gamification has many objectives, the first one being to imply the user through a stimulation. Gamification uses mechanisms that are not those of work, or obligations in a more general sense. Thus, not only working, but also learning, can be made more pleasant, thanks to those mechanisms. One of the other major objectives of gamification is the reflection of a positive and sympathetic brand image, whether it be to the public, or to the employees of a said enterprise. Lastly, gamification allows virality, and at the end, engaging a community.
What forms exist?
Actually, gamification is everywhere. Let’s take the following example: a quizz allows you to test your knowledge. Often quick, short and simple to fill, it gives us a grade that we can often share. The interaction with the brand happens quite simply: if the user has a nice experience and gets a good grade, it lifts them up. The sympathy capital towards the creators of the quizz grows. Another example: we all have seen that forums give a status to their members according to their participation: this reward is an incentive, that transforms the participation into a race. Thus, who will have the best status?
One has to note that these two examples are part of a communitarian and social logic. But another form of gamification exists, that engages the user on many platforms: online gaming. Facebook has more than 200.000 game applications, and is one of the biggest gaming platforms, cross-devices: mobile and web. Candy Crush and Farmvill are the best examples of gamification: sharing your scores, inviting other players to your game, whatever your device is. It is possible to compare scores, to export them and to communicate around the game, creating at the end infatuation.
For B2E too
Nonetheless, gamification can also be considered in a B2E context: an enterprise willing to reinforce its team spirit and communication between employees can develop a platform on which they could “play”. The french postal service La Poste lead the way and developed a strategy that has paid: 15% of their employees play regularly, reinforcing the bond between employees. In order to train them, gamification can also be a good solution: sensitizing employees to some practices or reflexes through gaming can distance this work from the negative connotation linked to working and formation.
Motivation and UX are primordial
Gamification can offer different kinds of incentives: virtual, or monetary. Virtual incentives and rewards can be statuses, badges or progression bars. They can also be monetary, thus virtual currencies, or points. It is also important to note that a successful gamification strategy is indissociable from an optimal UX: is it only though it that the user will really enjoy what has been offered to them, and will fully take advantage of it. Moreover, more and more enterprises have recourse to game designers, in order to have an added-value, that combined with a real expertise, will promise a different experience.