Gamifying our world

Research suggests that “gamification,” an emerging business and societal trend that uses game mechanics to influence human behavior in non-game contexts, will be a multibillion dollar industry by 2016.

So what is gamification?

It isn’t gaming. But it uses game mechanics that are proven to help engage and motivate users.  Gamification takes more mundane and routine activities and attempts to make them entertaining and fun using some of the following techniques:

  • Achievements – Achievements provide feedback to the user in order to influence behavior, giving the user both short- and long-term goals to accomplish.   
  • Progression – Progression helps the user see their accomplishments – for instance, showing how the user has “leveled up” to the next status.  Badges are often used as visual markers of the progression.  
  • Competition – Competition gives users the ability to compare their progression against others, including people they know and those they don’t. 

While games often model the real world, real-world activities are increasingly starting to look like a game. 

For example, one application called AchieveMint awards points for doing healthy activities.  Those points can then be converted to cash or merchandise.  The Wall Street Journal covered a story about appslike You Rule Chores and Chore Monsterthat help families keep the house clean by getting kids to compete over who can do more housework.

Gamification isn’t found just in applications like these but integrated into products and websites, too.  For example, Dropbox rewards users with more space every time they share with a friend- -- the more you share, the more space you get. LinkedIn shows your profile progress as an attempt to motivate you into completing your profile. And websites like dailymile use competition to motivate users by comparing their miles tracked with those of their friends and others.  

Where do you see gamification in your everyday life? Do you find it motivates you or others?  Are you a fan of a gamified world?

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dolores47's picture

I use dropbox and like the extra space I've been given by sharing with friends. Anything to make my life easier as well as my friends are welcome.