6 rules of gamification

Gamification means using gaming elements in non-gaming environment to make the processes more interesting and resilient.

In this post we present the 6 rules of gamification.

Reading time: 5 minutes

Gamification techniques exploit and utilize people’s desires of rivalry, achievements, status, self-expression, and altruism.

Gamification’s key strategy lies in providing rewards after implementing the desired tasks.

Rewards can be varied:

  • points,
  • badges,
  • go to the next level,
  • filling of the process status bar,
  • virtual currency
  • and lot more

The other cornerstone of gamified solutions is competition. Presenting virtual prizes in a user profile as well as appearing on rankings will also help increase the competitive spirit of players.

Where did this all begin?

Although the phrase gamification was created by Nick Pelling in 2002, it became only really popular in 2010. Even before the term became known, the rental of gaming items in various fields was popular. Among others, scientific visualization has taken many elements of video games.

Charles Coonrad deserved that a Forbes blogger repeatedly call him as the father of gamification. In 1973 Coonradt founded the consulting firm called The Game of Work and in 1984 he wrote a book entitled The Game of Work: How to Enjoy Work As Much As Play.

The gamification phrase gained wide-ranging popularity and use in 2010, in a much more specific sense compared to how we use it nowadays: combining the game’s social and rewarding character into software.

Main applications

  • enterprise development – communication and marketing tool,
  • human resource,
  • sales,
  • education,
  • health,
  • research and development,
  • competitions,
  • tenders,
  • market research.

The HR, trainer, coach profession recognized long time ago that putting workplace situations into gamful environment, with the help of training games, skills development and problem solving are much more successful.

Gamification can also be a great success in the field of education. It can be used to motivate students, to promote the learning process, to overcome learning difficulties, and to recruit candidates.

The critics

Sebastian Deterding (Researcher at the University of Hamburg): Current popular gamification strategies are not entertaining at all and they are not generating meanings to the accomplished achievements. Gamification encourages short-sighted decisions.

Jon Radoff and Margaret Robertson (game designers): Gamification excludes elements such as story telling or experiences, or uses very simple reward systems instead of real gaming mechanisms.

Kevin Salvin (Professor of MIT): Gamification is misleading to those who are unusual to gaming.

Ian Bogost: The phrase of gamification is a marketing trick. Rather, exploitationware should be used, which is an expression for games that are used in marketing areas. Gamification is just an extension of existing ideas in marketing – such as loyalty programs

One of the most prominent advocates of gaming approaches, Jane McGonigal, distances his work from being labeled with  gamification tag: rewards can be collected out of the gameplay is the central idea of gamification. He distinguishes gaming applications where gameplay or gaming experience is the reward in itself with the phrase of ‘gameful design’.

Some of the criticisms come from the fact that the concept is unnecessarily simplified to purposeless badge and score rewarding. In Maximulation, we do not believe we have to put our services into a sharp conceptual framework, but to create value. Besides, in our business simulations, the gaming experience in itself is a reward, we do not regret the use of classic gamification elements, for example in evaluating users.

The 6 rules of gamification

  1. Set goals
    Do not start gamification just because it sounds good! Know what additional value you expect from gamification and know what benefits this will give you!
  2. Give value
    Use gamification to make users feel special! They should feel that they are experiencing something really unique.
  3. Fit to a higher level environment
    Make gamification unnoticeable, but irreplaceable! Gamification is good when it is hard to recognized that it is gamification.
  4. Stay simple
    Gamification must give you extra motivation. A complex and complicated system can even scare users. Strive for a user-friendly approach to the simplest solution!
  5. Let them spread the word
    It’s possible that you expect from gamification to make your product / service more popular or you want more loyal users. If they love what you’re doing, why not let know about it? Focus on the power of social media and let them share their positive experiences with others.
  6. Reward quickly
    A single big reward in the end or lot of small rewards for the entire user life cycle? Instant reward (dopamine!) and feedback is much more effective than rare, but bigger rewarding. Many small rewards help keep the user experience at a high level, so users in the long run are more committed.

How we gamify in Maximulation?

  1. We use gamification to enhance user experience, instead of using gamification as the only source of user experience.
  2. In Maximulation the assignment of badges is not an empty motivational step to use the program further. There are learning points in it. We use it as an incentive for professional development.
  3. We do not bring games to the training, but place the learning points in the game, and doing it unnoticed.
  4. We generate competition, which in itself stimulate higher performance.
  5. We give weight to the game, so we can avoid the risk of scrupulous decisions.
  6. Problems are not edited. They are produced by the users how they interact with each other. Thus, the problems remain unique and challenging. We do not show patterns of behavior that can be used routinely, we develop skills and mindset.