Simply put, gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.
This is certainly not a completely new idea – think about how parents make mealtimes into a game simply to get kids to eat things they don’t really like all that much. Gamification is pretty much the same thing, except that the parents and kids are companies and consumers.
The statistics in terms of Facebook gaming speak volumes: 53% of Facebook users play games and 19% say they are addicted; 56 million people play daily. In terms of gamification, some companies report staggering increases in engagement due to the application of the technology – a 300% increase in user-generated content, 500% increase in social sharing and 100% increase in time on site.
Marketers have taken notice of this extreme activity. Audiences have a psychological predisposition to engage in gaming and it’s a useful way to either inform or educate on a topic that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
In a recent report, California-based media and entertainment research firm M2 Research estimates that spending on gamification projects will grow to as much as $2.8 billion by 2016 from $100 million in 2010.
“We know anecdotally that engagement increases substantially when game mechanics are applied. How that affects customer loyalty and translates in terms of increased revenue is still being worked out,” said M2 Research’s Wanda Meloni.
Many companies are getting involved in gamification now and many think it will entirely change the way we consume information. J.P. Rangaswami, chief scientist of Salesforce.com, says, “Gamification is the future of work.”
There are obviously varying degrees of gamification and adopters should apply the correct measure for their business. There is no sense in turning an investment website into a computer game. However, there is sense in rewarding regular visitors with discounts or special benefits.
If you look around, you will see that gamification has already altered our lives. We win points for flying, for buying healthy groceries and for giving up smoking. We are rewarded for noticing when a certain song is played on the radio or hearing when the station plays the same song twice. The new Ford hybrid car has a digital tree on its dashboard that grows leaves as you contribute to saving the environment.
Whatever the future holds, it is certain that we are heading towards more applications of these gaming mechanics. As Al Gore, former Vice-President of the United States, says: “Games are the new normal.”
Head: Digital Publishing