What is Gamification

A few years ago, Big Data was all the rouse and still is. However, Gamification has now joined “Big Data”, “AI” and “Machine Learning” as one of the hottest topics in the world of iGaming. But what is Gamification actually, and does everyone understand it the same way?

From our studies, we have found that there is a large difference between the definition of Gamification, What people think when they hear the word Gamification and what CEOs actually believe Gamification can (and will) do for their companies. Hopefully, this article can help clear up a few misconceptions.

What do people think when they hear Gamification?

When we talk to people in the iGaming industry, people have quite varied ideas and thoughts of what Gamification means. Some believe Gamification means complex Achievement systems, Intricate Missions and Avatars with Collection mechanics. Some believe that it is as simple as “Do this, Get that”-mechanics. The truth is that people are often deterred by the perceived complexity of Gamification. It needn’t be complex, nor all-encompassing.

Gamifying your product can be done with a small, “test-the-waters” approach of adding game design elements one by one to test the response from your Customers. It can also be the all-in, leave no stone unturned, approach where everything is centered around Game elements. We’re talking Avatars, Trophy Collections, Races and much more, all tied together with a consistent Narrative. Lets not forget that the Narrative is a very important Game design element. Without the Narrative, a Gamer is often lost along the way.

So, what is Gamification, by definition?

Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.

Wikipedia

Whilst this is a very straightforward definition from Wikipedia, it misses one key thing, which is Why. Why would you want to add Game design elements and game principles? The answer is in most cases to make the task at hand more enjoyable and to get the “Player” more engaged.

When it comes to Gamification, we rather agree with the following definition instead: “Gamification is the process of taking something that already exists – a website, an enterprise application, an online community – and integrating game mechanics into it to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty. “

We have in our research found a framework for attacking Gamification with a structured approach. Yu-kai Chou is one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject of Gamification. Through his Octalysis Framework, he has defined game elements and categorized them from a Psychological perspective. These categories are:

  • Meaning (The Game Narrative, Beginners Luck)
  • Empowerment (Mile stones, Boosters)
  • Accomplishment (Badges, Trophies, Quests, Leaderboards)
  • Social Influence (Friending, Group Quests)
  • Unpredictability (Randomness, The bread and butter of the iGaming industry)
  • Avoidance (Fear of losing that which has been built. Called Sunk cost Prison)
  • Scarcity (Prize dangling, Count down timers, Fear of missing the chance)
  • Ownership (Avatars, Collection Sets, Loyalty Points)

These areas will effect the Customer differently. Some build on Positive Feelings (Meaning, Empowerment, etc) whilst others pray on Fear (Scarcity, Avoidance, Unpredictability). Some focuses on Extrinsic Motivation, “Do this, Get that”, and some on Intrinsic Motivation, when you are doing something because the activity is rewarding by itself.

Identifying in which of these areas your product speaks to your customers, and in which areas it doesn’t, can help in determining what direction your development should take.

How should Gamification be used in iGaming?

As you may have understood by now, there is no magic formula of which game design elements should be used, and where to use them.

In our studies of Gamification and Loyalty tools, we have come across one key learnings, specifically on when Gamification Efforts fail. Here are our Do’s and Don’ts of Gamification:

  • Do think of what you are trying to achieve. If you want players to play for a longer time or bet higher, tailor the campaign accordingly.
  • Don’t make it all about the Gamification Element. The added gamification should never be the central focus. It works best when it is an additive to the Slot or Casino Game in Question.
  • Do not focus on Extrinsic Motivators too much, it will burn out your customers.
  • If possible, Do try to envelop Intrisic Motivators in your product. However, Don’t try to bend your product to fit the Intrinsic Motivators.

Lastly, we would like to add that Gamification can be a lot and it can be a little. In the end, gamification elements are used to improve the experience your customers have when using your product. If the game mechanics becomes the center, you should reevaluate why customers are coming to your Brand.

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