What is Gamification?
For those who been following my blog regularly, its pretty apparent that I have been writing heavily into the topic of Gamification. This may be an unfamiliar word for many of you. What is Gamification?
This post is a quick overview to explain what is Gamification about and clear up a great deal of misconceptions in the industry.
Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities. This is what I call “Human-Focused Design” as opposed to the “Function-Focused Design.” It’s a design process that optimizes for the human in the system, as opposed to pure efficiency of the system.
Most systems are “function-focused” designed to get the job done quickly. This is like a factory that assumes that the workers within WILL do their jobs. However, Human-Focused Design remembers that people in the system have feelings, insecurities, and reasons why they want or do not want to do things, and therefore optimizes for their feelings, motivations, and engagement.
The reason we call it gamification is because the gaming industry was the first to master human-focused design. Games have no other purpose than to please the human inside. There are “objectives” in the games, such as killing the dragon or saving the princess, but those are all excuses to simply keep the player happily entertained inside. Since games have spent decades learning how to master motivation and engagement, we are now learning from games, and that is why we call it Gamification.
Games have the amazing ability to keep people engaged for a long time, build relationships and trust between people, and develop their creative potentials.
Unfortunately, most games these days are simply focused on escapism – wasting your life away on something that doesn’t improve your own life nor the life of others (besides the game makers of course).
Imagine if there is a truly addicting game, where the more time you spend on it, the more productive you would be. You would be playing all day, enjoying it, and your career would be growing, you would be making more income, having better relationships with your family, creating value for your community, and solving the hardest problems in the world.
That is the goal I strive for and the potential I see that Gamification could fulfill.
What Is Gamification in relationship to the Gaming Industry?
Many people think Gamification is a branch of gaming. Upon hearing the term, some people respond with, “Oh I don’t play games.”
That’s a complete misconception on what is gamification all about.
So what is Gamification really? Gamification does not involve games. It is simply absorbing the fun elements in a game (what we call Game Mechanics or Game Techniques) into real-world applications. When you see the progress bar on LinkedIn, or when you Tumblr listing out a Leaderboard on the best content, do you think, “Oh I don’t play games. This is not for me.”? Of course not! Continue reading What is Gamification