Gamification Octalysis Framework

Octalysis – complete Gamification framework

This post is a high-level introduction to Octalysis, the Gamification Framework I created after more than 10 years of Gamification research and study. Within a year of publication, Octalysis was organically translated into 9 languages and became required literature in Gamfication instruction worldwide.

Click the “Continue reading –>” link below to learn about Octalysis.

Octalysis Gamification Framework

Gamification is design that places the most emphasis on human motivation in the process. In essence, it is Human-Focused Design (as opposed to “function-focused design”).

Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and engaging elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities. This process is what I call “Human-Focused Design,” as opposed to “Function-Focused Design.” It’s a design process that optimizes for human motivation in a system, as opposed to pure efficiency.

Most systems are “function-focused,” designed to get the job done quickly. This is like a factory that assumes its workers will do their jobs because they are required to. However, Human-Focused Design remembers that people in a system have feelings, insecurities, and reasons why they want or do not want to do certain 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 individual playing them. Yes, there are often “objectives” in games, such as killing a dragon or saving the princess, and sometimes saving a dragon, but those are all excuses to simply keep the player happily entertained.

Since games have spent decades (or even centuries depending on how you qualify a game) learning how to master motivation and engagement, we are now learning from games, and that is why we call it Gamification.

So in the past decade, I have been digging deep into forming a complete framework to analyze and build strategies around the various systems that make a game fun.

I saw that almost every game is fun because it appeals to certain Core Drives within us that motivate us towards certain activities. I also noticed that different types of game techniques push us forward differently: some in an inspiring and empowering way, while some in a manipulative and obsessive manner. I drilled down to find what differentiates one type of motivation to another.

The end result is a gamification framework called Octalysis, which is based on an octagon shape with 8 Core Drives representing each side.

With many years of trials and adjustments, I believe that, besides a ninth hidden Core Drive called “Sensation,” everything you do is based on one or more of these 8 Core Drives below.

The 8 Core Drives of Gamification

1) Epic Meaning & Calling

Epic Meaning & Calling is the Core Drive where a player believes that he is doing something greater than himself or he was “chosen” to do something. A symptom of this is a player that devotes a lot of his time to maintaining a forum or helping to create things for the entire community (think Wikipedia or Open Source projects). This also comes into play when someone has “Beginner’s Luck” – an effect where people believe they have some type of gift that others don’t or believe they were “lucky” to get that amazing sword at the very beginning of the game.

2) Development & Accomplishment

Development & Accomplishment is the internal drive of making progress, developing skills, and eventually overcoming challenges. The word “challenge” here is very important, as a badge or trophy without a challenge is not meaningful at all. This is also the core drive that is the easiest to design for and coincidently is where most of the PBLs: points, badges, leaderboards mostly focus on.

3) Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback

Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback is when users are engaged a creative process where they have to repeatedly figure things out and try different combinations. People not only need ways to express their creativity, but they need to be able to see the results of their creativity, receive feedback, and respond in turn. This is why playing with Legos and painting are fun in-and-of themselves and often become Evergreen Mechanics, where a game-designer no longer needs to continuously add more content to keep the activity fresh and engaging.

4) Ownership & Possession

This is the drive where users are motivated because they feel like they own something. When a player feels ownership, she innately wants to make what she owns better and own even more. Besides being the major core drive for wanting to accumulate wealth, this deals with many virtual goods or virtual currencies within systems. Also, if a person spends a lot of time to customize her profile or her avatar, she automatically feels more ownership towards it too. Finally, this is also the core drive that makes collecting stamps or puzzle pieces fun.

5) Social Influence & Relatedness

This drive incorporates all the social elements that drive people, including: mentorship, acceptance, social responses, companionship, as well as competition and envy. When you see a friend that is amazing at some skill or owns something extraordinary, you become driven to reach the same level. Also, it includes the drive we have to draw closer to people, places, or events that we can relate to. If you see a product that reminds you of your childhood, the sense of nostalgia would likely increase the odds of you buying the product. This Core Drive is relatively well-studied too, as many companies these are days are putting a lot of priority on optimizing their online social strategies.

6) Scarcity & Impatience

This is the drive of wanting something because you can’t have it. Many games have Appointment Dynamics within them (come back 2 hours later to get your reward) – the fact that people can’t get something right now motivates them to think about it all day long. This is the Core Drive utilized by Facebook when it first started: at first it was just for Harvard. Then it opened up to a few other prestigious schools, and eventually all colleges. When it finally opened up to everyone, many people wanted to join because they previously couldn’t get in it.

7) Unpredictability & Curiosity

Generally, this is a harmless drive of wanting to find out what will happen next. If you don’t know what’s going to happen, your brain is engaged and you think about it often. Many people watch movies or read novels because of this drive. However, this drive is also the primary factor behind gambling addiction. Also, this core drive is utilized whenever a company runs a sweepstake or lottery program to engage users. The very controversial Skinner Box experiments, where an animal irrationally presses a lever frequently because of unpredictable results, are exclusively referring to the core drive of Unpredictability & Curiosity, although many have misunderstood it as the driver behind points, badges, and leaderboard mechanics in general.

8) Loss & Avoidance

This core drive is based upon the avoidance of something negative happening. On a small scale, it could be to avoid losing previous work. On a larger scale, it could be to avoid admitting that everything you did up to this point was useless because you are now quitting. Also, opportunities that are fading away have a strong utilization of this Core Drive, because people feel like if they didn’t act immediately, they would lose the opportunity to act forever.

After the 8 Core Drives are determined, I graphed them into an octagon chart.

Gamification Octalysis.003

Left Brain vs Right Brain Drives

Within Octalysis, the Core Drives on the right are considered Right Brain Core Drives, being more related to creativity, self-expression, and social aspects.

The Core Drives on the left are considered Left Brain Core Drives, being more associated to logic, calculations, and ownership.

Note: the Left Brain/Right Brain Core Drives are not considered true brain science; they are merely symbolical as it makes the framework easier and effective when designing. It’s useful dividing things up between the logical and the emotional, and I just named them Left Brain/Right Brain Core Drives so people remember them easily.

Interestingly, Left Brain Core Drives have a tendency of being more based on Extrinsic Motivation – you are motivated because you want to obtain something, whether it be a goal, a good, or anything you cannot obtain; on the other hand, Right Brain Core Drives have a tendency of being based on Intrinsic Motivations: you don’t need a goal or reward to use your creativity, hangout with friends, or feel the suspense of unpredictability – the activity itself is rewarding on its own.

This is important, because many companies aim to design for motivation based on Extrinsic Motivators, such as giving users a reward at the end. However, many studies have shown that once you stop offering the extrinsic motivator, user motivation will often decrease to much lower than before the extrinsic motivator was first introduced.

It’s much better for companies to design experiences that motivate the Right Brain Core Drives, making something in of itself fun and rewarding, so users continuously engage in the activity.

Gamification Octalysis.004

White Hat vs Black Hat Gamification

Another element to note within Octalysis is that the top Core Drives in the octagon are considered very positive motivations, while the bottom Core Drives are considered more negative motivations.

I call techniques that heavily use the top drives “White Hat Gamification” while techniques that utilize the bottom Core Drives are called “Black Hat Gamification”.

If something is engaging because it lets you express your creativity, makes you feel successful through skill mastery, and gives you a higher sense of meaning, it makes users feel very good and powerful.

On the other hand, if you are always doing something because you don’t know what will happen next, you are constantly in fear of losing something, or because there are things you can’t have, even though you would still be extremely motivated to take the actions, it often can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

The problem with Zynga games, according to the Octalysis framework, is that they have figured out how to do many Black Hat Game Techniques, which drive great numbers off each user, but does not make users feel good. So when a user is finally able to leave the system, they will want to, because they don’t feel like they are in control over themselves, just like gambling addiction.

Keep in mind that just because something is Black Hat doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad – these are just motivators – and they can be used for productive and healthy results or malice and manipulative ones. Many people voluntarily submit themselves into Black Hat Gamification in order to go to the gym more often, eat healthily, or avoid hitting the snooze button every morning.

A good Gamification expert will consider all 8 Core Drives on a positive and productive activity so that everyone ends up happier and healthier.

Octalysis Score

Keep in mind that a good gamified system doesn’t need to have all of the Core Drives, but it does need to do really well with the ones it does implement. Some extremely successful products do very, very well with Social Influence, while others just utilize Scarcity.

In order to come up with an Octalysis score, you take how good the subject of analysis is in each core drive, assign a number between 0-10 based on personal judgement, data, and experience flows, and then square that number to get the Core Drive Score. Once you add up all 8 Core Drive Scores, you will get your final Octalysis Score.

Of course, the Score itself is not very useful or actionable, so I always tell my clients to focus on what Core Drive is lacking, instead of being obsessed with their “score.”

How to apply Octalysis to actual systems

Now that we have the framework laid out, the next step is to figure out how to utilize this framework.

Generally, any good and engaging product or system will have at least one of the core drives listed above.

The way to use Octalysis is to identify all the game mechanics that are used to appeal to each Core Drive and list it next to the Core Drive of the Octagon.

Afterwards, based on how strong these game mechanics are, each side of the Octagon will expand or retract.

If a side crosses the inside Octagon, then that side is extremely weak and the Gamification expert needs to improve on that area.

Of course, this is all very abstract, so lets look at a few examples.

A few Gamification examples with Octalysis

Here’s an Octalysis done for a few products online:

Farmville Gamification

Farmville: 414 and generally Left Brain Black Hat.


Diablo 3 Gamification

Diablo 3: 284 and pretty balanced


Facebook Gamification

Facebook: 448 with very strong Right Brain Drives (notice it focuses on opposite ends compared to Farmville)


Twitter Gamification

Twitter: 267 while being pretty balanced but more Right Brain.

Candy Crush Octalysis Score

Candy Crush: Fairly Balanced

And this is just Level 1 Octalysis

10 years of Gamification study and implementation results in a very robust framework that can become actionable towards driving higher user metrics. As people get more and more advanced in Octalysis, they can learn higher levels (up to 5 Levels…there are only a handful of people in the world who know what is level 4 and above), which incorporates much more advanced design principles and in-depth analysis.

Once level 1 is mastered, one can then apply it to Level 2 Octalysis, where we try to optimize experience throughout all four phases of a player’s journey: Discovery (why would people even want to start the journey), Onboarding (how do you teach users the rules and tools to play the game), Scaffolding (the regular journey of repeated actions towards a goal), and Endgame (how do you retain your veterans).

Gamification Octalysis

Factoring in the 4 Phases of a Player’s JourneyGamification Octalysis

Getting a feel about what players feel across the journey.

Once you mastered Level 2 Octalysis, you can then push it one level higher to Level 3 and factor in different player types, so you can begin to see how different types of people are motivated at different stages of the experience.

Gamification Octalysis.019

Pushing up a level further – Factoring Bartle’s Player Type

Gamification Octalysis.020

This way the Gamification Designer can feel out that there’s something for everyone at every stage.

The Octalysis Tool

A learner of Octalysis, Ron Bentata from Israel, kindly made a public Octalysis Tool for me and other Octalysis Enthusiasts. The tool is not 100% refined yet, but it has been a very useful tool for my own clients and many people practicing Octalysis non-commercially. Click here to check out the Octalysis Tool.

The Long Journey to GOOD Gamification

As you can see, creating a rich gamified experience is much more than simply slapping on various game-mechanics to existing products. It’s a craft that requires a lot of analysis, thinking, testing, and adjusting.

While there are 5 Levels in total, Level 1 is usually sufficient for the majority of companies trying to create a better-designed gamified product and experience. Higher Level Octalysis processes are really there for organizations that are truly committed to making sure that they push their metrics in the right direction, while improving longevity of a gamified system. Many games are only popular for 3-8 months, but ones that have good Endgame design can last over decades or even centuries.

If the world adopts good gamification principles and focus on what truly drives fun and motivation, then it is possible to see a day where there is no longer a divide between things people must do and the things they want to do. All people have to do is to play all day. This way, the quality of life for everyone will be significantly higher, companies will perform better because people actually want to do the work, and society overall will become more productive. This is the world that I have dedicated my life to enabling.

For a video walk-through, check out: Episode 4, Gamification Framework Octalysis (The Octalysis Framework)

For a video walk-through of the 8 Core Drives, check out: Episode 3, The 8 Core Drives of a Game

262 thoughts on “Octalysis – complete Gamification framework”

  1. Looks pretty solid. Haven’t had time to really dig in.

    Not sure about the black hat / white hat thing.

    In SEO, black hat is bad. Saying twitter is using black hat gamification is a fairly negative connotation, which they probably don’t deserve.

  2. Great article. I do think its a good start and having one of those pillars can be helpful. I don’t think looking at games like farmville are good examples of gamification though. I would say most of their mechanics are “Black hat” to mostly to drive users and not fully engage with a “game system”. It makes users burnout after time, not really sustainable and more about addiction. I think you did a great job on this and would love to hear more about your findings so far.

    1. Hey James, As I wrote in my other article on Farmville, I completely agree that Farmville is very “black hat” 😛 However, Farmville is a REALLY boring game that masters game mechanics to get people addicted, so its important to learn how they incorporate those elements and so we can learn to use that to Gamify useful activities! Thanks for the comments!

  3. Hey, great approach of a structured design to monitor these 8 core principles.

    It will work pretty good for analysing an exisiting business activity ant then to compare it with different games by laying the business-activity-octalysis over your gamification-octalysis.

    Now, if we combine this with player-types/ manager-types (I use to use a similar graphik like you to analyse the player-behaviors) perhaps we achieve a more forward looking tool that will be useful for brainstorming about a gamified system and it also becomes even more human centered 🙂

    Great post. Thanks. I’m in San Jose from mid December till mid January. Would love to meet eventually to talk about this… 🙂

    1. Hey Roman, Haha, yes, there’s a lot of potential to bring this framework into usefulness. I’m surprised that you found the business-octalysis article too 😉 I would love to meet up when you are here. San Jose is right where I’m at. Lets meet!

  4. Cool framework! I have maybe 3 comments:

    1. The social pressure one is interesting, because it looks a little like it’s on the black hat side, but all the “neighbors” and “friends” and other examples seem to indicate that the drive is more about positive bonding & being part of a group/team, and less about pressure to conform (although that does, of course, play a part).
    2. I find the spiderwebs being built outside the octagon a little harder to read than necessary. Maybe if it was more like here:
    where the 100% value for a given side of the octagon means that the graph is colored just up to the edge of the shape, rather than being built outside of it? It’s hard to explain, but I think the graphic could be clearer.
    3. I would like to see a few more examples, like maybe foursquare? How about the Pepsi Challenge? Or McDonalds Monopoly? Or the Buy 10 Get One Free coupon from Yogalatte? I think you could talk about a lot of ideas here.

    Good stuff!

    1. Jay: Thanks for the insightful comments: 1. I actually had a HUGE internal debate whether Social Pressure should be more blackhat or not, and have it switch with Unpredictability. I was thinking that unpredictability (or the human mind for novel items) is not a bad force.
      However, mostly because gambling is the deadly forces that utilizes that drive (and its makes people completely irrational) so I decided to keep that as blackhat, while social pressure – at least everyone knows WHY they succumb to it and generally it is pretty positive. This is why social games (like farmville) would still have a better reputation than gambling 🙂 2. Perhaps the spiderwebs should be clearer…its generally not meant to be obvious but just a very light benchmark on where things should be at. I like your example though and will think more into it (but I think what I have so far is more visually interesting :-P) 3. Yea, I plan to pump out a bunch of these examples with my framework now that i have the foundation built. I already have a lot of these stuff planned, and even for things like Parenthood! (Most parents use Avoidance – grounding the child, no longer loving the child etc etc, and some sense of accomplishment – candy and rewards.
      The Chinese use the “Meaning & Calling” drive by teaching kids something called “Xiao” which is a philosophy that kids owe everything to their parents and should sacrifice themselves to take care of their parents…or study hard for parents…etc etc) I can also say quickly that Foursquare mainly focuses on very light social pressure (letting your friends know where you are at), Development and Accomplishment (check-in count and badges) until it turns into Ownership (Mayor). It could try to incorporate others too to make it more successful and more mainstream.

    2. i wonder if anyone has an excel script or something to make preparing octalysis charts super easy to add to documents? i am just fooling with MS office to try to make a reusable octagonal radar chart. but i am no guru.

  5. Hey James,
    As I wrote in my other article on Farmville, I completely agree that Farmville is very “black hat” 😛
    However, Farmville is a REALLY boring game that masters game mechanics to get people addicted, so its important to learn how they incorporate those elements and so we can learn to use that to Gamify useful activities!
    Thanks for the comments!

  6. Hey Roman,
    Haha, yes, there’s a lot of potential to bring this framework into usefulness. I’m surprised that you found the business-octalysis article too 😉
    I would love to meet up when you are here. San Jose is right where I’m at. Lets meet!

  7. Jay:
    Thanks for the insightful comments:
    1. I actually had a HUGE internal debate whether Social Pressure should be more blackhat or not, and have it switch with Unpredictability. I was thinking that unpredictability (or the human mind for novel items) is not a bad force. However, mostly because gambling is the deadly forces that utilizes that drive (and its makes people completely irrational) so I decided to keep that as blackhat, while social pressure – at least everyone knows WHY they succumb to it and generally it is pretty positive. This is why social games (like farmville) would still have a better reputation than gambling 🙂
    2. Perhaps the spiderwebs should be clearer…its generally not meant to be obvious but just a very light benchmark on where things should be at. I like your example though and will think more into it (but I think what I have so far is more visually interesting :-P)
    3. Yea, I plan to pump out a bunch of these examples with my framework now that i have the foundation built. I already have a lot of these stuff planned, and even for things like Parenthood! (Most parents use Avoidance – grounding the child, no longer loving the child etc etc, and some sense of accomplishment – candy and rewards. The Chinese use the “Meaning & Calling” drive by teaching kids something called “Xiao” which is a philosophy that kids owe everything to their parents and should sacrifice themselves to take care of their parents…or study hard for parents…etc etc)
    I can also say quickly that Foursquare mainly focuses on very light social pressure (letting your friends know where you are at), Development and Accomplishment (check-in count and badges) until it turns into Ownership (Mayor). It could try to incorporate others too to make it more successful and more mainstream.

  8. Hey there!

    Great framework. Love the thoughts and will use it on a couple of our services. A small flaw I found which you might want to fix: The facebook image shows bulletpoints from the twitter image (in Scarcity and Accomplishment).

    Cheers from Germany!

    1. Thank you sir! And good catch! I was making the Facebook one with a Twitter template, and I think I exported it before hitting the “save” button. I will update soon 😉

  9. Thank you sir! And good catch!
    I was making the Facebook one with a Twitter template, and I think I exported it before hitting the “save” button.
    I will update soon 😉

    1. Haha, gotta hustle on the internet! Also, if you want to find out how to run a full Octalysis, I’d be happy to work that through with you (including the second layers etc.) Its seriously been helping me with a lot of things, and my goal is to get as many people to use this frame work as possible. Let me know if you would like that 😉

  10. Haha, gotta hustle on the internet!
    Also, if you want to find out how to run a full Octalysis, I’d be happy to work that through with you (including the second layers etc.)
    Its seriously been helping me with a lot of things, and my goal is to get as many people to use this frame work as possible. Let me know if you would like that 😉

  11. We will check it out in a few hours and also will go one step further and try to model a design process derived from product goals through octalysis to conception.
    Pretty confident this will work out well.

    1. Thanks! I’ve seen Kevin Webach’s course and its great. I think what would be even more helpful for his course is to go through examples of how to gamify something from scratch.

  12. Thanks! I’ve seen Kevin Webach’s course and its great. I think what would be even more helpful for his course is to go through examples of how to gamify something from scratch.

  13. Still yet I have heard only one thing that  Black hat means bad and it definitely gives good results but on the other hand it may effect your work in negative terms too. So I think it’s better to avoid black hat to focus on white hat techniques.

    1. @Troy Smith Thanks for the comment Troy. White Hat and Black Hat Gamification is basically what everyone out there is debating in terms of whether gamification is inspiring users to become more engaged, or just manipulating them to achieve results. White Hat Gamification gives users a “good feel” at the end of it, while Black Hat Gamification achieve results but could result in a bad taste in the mouth. If someone was to utilize Black Hat Gamification, they need to let the user know about that. The user voluntarily signs up because both the Game Designer and the Gamer wants to achieve the same results at the end (staying fit, being on time, doing work/homework). Black Hat in SEO is bad because Google doesn’t like it because it’s trying to trick their search engine, so they penalizeheavily on behaviors like that. For Gamification, the “Google” is simply the users, and AS LONG AS they voluntarily agree to be “tricked” (same principals as hypnosis), it is fine.

  14. Hello, first, I want to say, that I like this work; it compartmentalizes discern aspects of gamification theory understandably. I’ve got a question. This semester, in my University (studying Informatics) I would like to focus my Bachelor thesis on Gamification and I’ll be implementing a gamified app on Android. I would like to ask, if you have some tips for me, on what should I focus in my thesis. The problem I have is, that gamification is, I think, for the most part, a psychological topic. I like that, however I need to fit the gamification concept and the thesis into the informatics context as much as possible, in order to vindicate, that the thesis will be instructive and from my field. What do you think?

    1. Hey Mimkorn!

      Thanks for the comment! It’s awesome that you are learning more about Gamification as part of your studies – I wish I had that in school. As for advice, I think it is a bit too vague for me to provide anything useful, but feel free to use Octalysis as part or main of your thesis. I’ll be a resource to you if you choose to do that.


    2. @mimkorn That’s interesting. The good thing about gamification is that most implementations are still done in software, and games are software too, and also it’s about analytics, big data, optimization, so most people feel like it is relevant to technology and informatics. You still have to figure out how to spin it though.

  15. I really like this article in that it does a good job of compartmentalizing the various aspects of gamification. Although any of the 8 aspects can be used, it seems that if you know your audience and what will work best for them, specifically the left vs right brain segmentation, using these as a guide will help to build out a pretty functional and robust system.
    My challenge with game mechanics is how to implement (as in defining the system, not the actual code) a well rounded system within an existing platform. Specifically in user driven ecommerce platform, where purchases are the ultimate end game, but things like sharing, shop / buyer recruitment and feedback are very important.

    1. @LeviRosol Thanks for the comment LeviRosol. The good thing about Octalysis is that it is not a cookie cutter solution for websites, but it helps you figure out what works best for your site and your customers.All the things you stated are what I call “Desired Actions,” and you need to create “Win-States” for your users to accomplish the desired actions. I’m not able to go into too much detail here, but hope this helps a tiny bit!

  16. Pingback: Hello World | Examples of Gamification
  17. i used an older article of yours which mentioned foldit, now i have come back to see what else you have to offer… and WOW! this octalysis (nice name) is a perfect tool to use to compare and contrast projects. but i have only read a small amount of what you offer, i will be spending a lot of time here (this month at least)
    so… thank you!
    i like to learn

  18. i don’t see your discussion on bartle’s types but i searched it out and took a quick look (i’ll read it carefully later) it is slightly similar to Jung’s archetypes which Joseph Campbell worked with for ‘hero with a thousand faces’ these ideas are important when creating npc that will be believably real, not like the one-liner type dialogues from everquest. i want to gamify textbooks to make the data fun, the lessons meaningful, and memorable.
    a large amount of work has to be done to convert knowledge into an interesting read
    but it is very exciting!  (i will try and stop adrenaline fueled posting on your blogs, sorry!)

  19. IanEdwards2 Hey Ian! Thanks for commenting 🙂 It’s not a problem commenting on my blog. It’s very welcomed as I love engagement!
    Richard Bartle’s theory is one of the more established concepts in Gamification. A lot of people have modified that to make it more sophisticated, but I so far haven’t seen the need.

  20. Brilliant, again, Yu-Kai. In your  “comments,” you referenced a business article and the octalysis. Can you send a link to that article? I would like to explore this further and look forward to reconnecting with you.  And Ian, I’d love to learn more about your vision for gamifying text books. I’m on the same page and interested in comparing notes.

  21. my vision of schools in the future involves rewritten textbooks that leverage game mechanics and literary skills to produce books that students both want to read and may not be able to put down. Envision the child under the blanket with a flashlight and a well written text ( on a device they wouldn’t need the flashlight ). Engaged in making the best or most original solution to the question posed by the teacher ( could be through distance learning or in the classroom ). 
    What needs to be done is an octalysis of curricula along with creative text writing or a flexible teacher able to research materials in preparation for a live presentation possibly utilizing web 2.0 information technology

  22. I’m in the last week of Kevin Werbach’s course on gamification at
    I posted a link to this article on the forum and I hope a lot of those people come here. Kevin has a great course but I would have liked to see Octalysis mentioned (though i have a dozen videos left to watch) when i stumbled here (kind of a lie, your ideas are the only ones i found that didn’t use babblegab) it was a breath of fresh air! Octalysis uses all the terminology that could be considered babblegab but for readers attuned to gamification the terms are known. In my area of gamification (EFL) it is essential that i use plain English and simplify complex terms.

    1. IanEdwards2 Haha, no I don’t think Werbach’s course covers my framework. Can’t blame him – Octalysis was mainly for my internal use and I didn’t publish it until he has completed his first course. Now that he is going through the second course, I’m guessing he likely wouldn’t update too much of the core content – we’ll see.
      Thanks for the mention! 😉

  23. This is very interesting and quite fresh, I am a game designer myself and got introduced to gamification by choice. the difference is that I knock out technology and try a very hands on approach. I also present and talk a lot about gamification, is it OK for me to use your framework as reference in my talks and presentations, is there any more material that you can share to help me out here.

    1. Edward L Hey Edward. Sure you can use Octalysis for your talks and presentations! The reason why I created Octalysis was to get the world to do gamification better, so nothing makes me happier than this 😀

  24. I have been very intrigued by online media and social interaction for a long time and have been looking for information that can outline the dynamics of various human emotions and interactions. You have literally hit the nail on the head in the manner you isolate, identify, and define those dynamics in your analysis as well as the conclusion you draw from it! BTW, like another commentator I just concluded a MOOC on Gamification by Prof.Kevin Werbach, while his course was good in the manner it discussed the concept, your elaboration is just fantastic beyond any words I could use to describe the information you present! I am thrilled beyond words that I came across your site which has helped remove any misconceptions I or doubts I may have had about the concept of Gamification!

    1. Ravi Deva Hey Ravi! Thanks for the comment. It actually means a whole lot to me when you say, “your site which has helped remove any misconceptions I or doubts I may have had about the concept of Gamification!” 
      That has been my agenda all along, and I am saddened by the proliferation of “badly implemented gamification.” Hopefully more people will use Octalysis and design things that are truly engaging.

  25. Found your site last night, I  really enjoy your way of structuring the gamification space.  Thanks for an awesome resource

  26. Very interesting framework, and a rare breed these day; the majority of ‘gamification’ gurus are focussed on the tools, and you are dealing with human motivations behind our actions. For me as a psychologist and social scientist it’s a given, but it’s always great to see similar people-focussed ideas from the practitioners, too.  
    I just found your site, and anticipate many interesting discoveries in the near future! As a company we actively apply gamification methods to research and innovation, and I believe we can learn from you!  
    In case of your interest, I have recently completed a slideshow describing the evolution of gamification through human history (and also some predictions for its future development, using (albeit, loosely) the Spiral Dynamics as a guiding tool. It’s not in an open domain yet, but I can send you a copy.
    Thanks again, and look forward to future postings!

    1. Playing_Futures Thanks for the compliment – means a lot to me. 
      Yea…most people who talk about gamification talks about the shell, but not good game design itself. It’s like debating, “how can we use a good graphics engine” instead of “how do we create a game that is fun. 
      I would love to check out the slide deck!

  27. hey Yu-kai,
    can you create a webpage of Octalysis that would help me calculate the score and analyze a product, or a solution I invent?
    meaning, have an empty Octalysis that when i choose a feature of the product (or the gamified system i suggest), it would fill out the score of the correct region, and build an automatic profile of this (i.e. white hat ; left brain, etc).
    maybe this system could also be used to suggest possible extensions and solutions to the system.

    1. shacharoz Thanks Shacharoz for the comment. I don’t have such a tool yet (all requires my time), but I think someone out there is building an iOS app to do that. We’ll wait and see 😉

  28. I’ve really enjoyed your gamification articles. I grew up in an arcade; my mom had one from the time I was two until I was twelve. I’ve had lots of different game consoles. Games have always been a big part of my life. I was introduced to gamification by Jane McGonigal through her keynote speech at PaxEast a couple of years ago. 
    I did a career change and am now teaching high school Spanish. Last year was my first year. I *really* want to make my class a gamified class. Due to big changes in personal life, I’ve not been able to devote a lot of time to research on gamification in the classroom, even though I know there is information out there. Since this is not prevalent in the classroom (a lot of fellow teachers look at me and just give me an “uh-huh..” when I talk about a gamified room) I don’t know quite where to start. Other than your Octalysis, what would you suggest as a good starting point? Or do you have any ideas about the best place to get information on beginning gamification in the classroom?

    1. rachieblue hi,
      i use gamification in my ESL classroom. but a low tech version. the most important thing is to tweak your curriculum to follow a storyline, then using octalysis build interest where the class is not motivated. Tweak your storyline to add mystery if the class has a low discovery rating in octalysis or if they find a lesson too hard then scaffold further. I use octalysis to analyze the class’ motivators, then tweak the lesson for each group. then repeat! apply octalysis, adjust re-analyze the effects you have introduced and re-tweak.

      Octalysis is a very clear structured analysis tool for assessing motivators. After you do the above a few times it becomes intuitive, and the tweaks become obvious. I was working on a universal application in an attempt to publish a ESL storyline that could work for everybody, but… it can’t work! The beauty of this system is the ease that a teacher can bring the class back to the material through slight adjustments to the content.
      I strongly believe that old school curricula set in stone will not engage students today, teachers need to adjust – analyze – apply , this should become a modern standard for education.

      1. IanEdwards2 rachieblue Haha, I can’t describe how happy I am when I saw this comment! I’m really excited to see people not only using Octalysis in their endeavors, but also being able to teach others how to use it! Keep up the awesomeness!

    2. rachieblue Hey Rachie! Thanks for reaching out! Besides what Ian mentioned, you can also check out this blogpost Top 10 Gamification Education Examples that will Change our Future especially Number 7.
      Also, the best game that teaches about Spanish I’ve seen is the one by Mindsnacks. It’s on iOS and I recommend you check it out!

  29. Wow. I should have to keep this in my favorite links. I feel like I can apply this in many dynamics in my life. Thanks for the awesome frame work!

    1. No problem! This is the purpose for me to publish Octalysis – that it can help improve people’s lives in multiple aspects!

    1. Haha, why don’t you guest blog about WOW using the 8 Core Drives, and I can create the chart and post it here 😉

  30. Yu-kai, any chance of getting your graphic of the Octalysis chart blown up bigger and higher quality.  This would make a nice wall piece to stare at and think of my crazy next ideas.

    1. kensavage i have created an excel version of octalysis, if anyone want to work on that with me. i’ve started a project to describe the different ways to measure and test each element in the categories.

  31. kensavage Hey Ken! Unless you need a really large version (I can provide that to you), the best way is to click on the image, and “save as” onto your desk top. Then you can easily zoom in a print out a large copy of the picture. I’m updating that one soon though (also note that it is not a complete list of all the game elements/techniques out there).

  32. shacharoz kensavage I’ve been working on this stuff too. Would love to collaborate and see what you have done! 😉

  33. Yu-kai Chou i’ve already sent that document to your mail. if you didnt get anything – contact me : shachar . oz in gmail

  34. @Marcelo Usually you’ll get a pretty good resolution picture if you click on it and “save as” onto your computer. Let me know if that’s not enough…

  35. Yu-kai, really interesting analysis. I was curious though about your brief remark about Google (under #2 of the core driver list). Surely Google is an example of function-focused design, not human-focused design (at least when thinking about their search engine), and therefore it would be a bit misplaced to apply a gamification framework to it?
    I think Google’s search engine success came from providing quick and relevant listings/answers for their queries, rather than anything to do with making people feel smart.

  36. OscarFord Thanks for the comment Oscar, and good observations. Google’s backend engine is not related to Human-Focused Design – true, but when it comes to WHY users want to return and use Google, it is very relevant.
    First of all, Google made the choice of just having a search bar on the screen and almost nothing else. Therefore, the user knows EXACTLY what to do when they are on the site. There is no, “Hmm, where can I find…?” moments. You see the search bar, you searched.
    Once you searched, because the backend engine does a good job, you quickly and immediately find what you want. You feel smart.
    This is why you return back to Google.
    Other search engines either make your browse and search through a bunch of stuff on the landing page, or make you frustrated with the search results. They might appeal to Core Drive #7 a little bit, but more often than not, users don’t want to feel confused.
    Hope that answers your question.

  37. Yu-kai Chou OscarFord Thanks Yu-kai, I hadn’t thought of that; great points.
    It’s interesting to note that in this example, gamification helps to explain particularly why users go back to Google and not competitors. As you say, it makes them feel smart. If you looked at Google (as I did originally) without thinking of the competition, it’s a different story, I think- if Google was the only search engine available, your choice to use it would be much more function-based (I need a pizza restaurant, I found one, I’ll use it next time).

    However, for other products/services, gamification not only explains the choice between competitors, but also the choice to use it at all (e.g. is a gamified language learning site. The main reason I use it isn’t a function decision (it helps me learn Spanish, so I will return) but the gamification element (I’m competing with friends). 

    I just think it’s interesting how the influence of gamification can perhaps be subtly different when considering a user’s choice between firms offering the service, and between the service in the first place.

  38. Is there any post where we can get to know about the details of different methods like Moats, touting etc. At top level, I got some sense about methods corresponding to each edge of the octagon.

  39. Playing_Futures 
    I would also love to see your spiral dynamics evolution of ramification. would you send to me at: ecppage@gmail dot com . Thanks.

  40. Hey Yukai! Love the octalysis concept! I have a question though. I don’t quite understand where you got your numbers for the actual octalysis scoring, is there any way you can break that down? All it says is to square how good the subject of analysis is….but how do we figure out numerically how good the subject is? I think that’s where I’m confused. Thanks!

  41. ripple4it Haha, I’m slowly writing them (a lot of content!). A good amount of it will be included in my book Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards too 😉

  42. @Mo Thanks! The number of each core drive is a result of personal evaluation – 0 being non-existence, and 10 is max. In almost all frameworks (SWOT analysis, BCG Matrix) there always needs to be a point where human judgement are in the system “So…what are the strengths?” Usually it’s hard to determine the score without personally experiencing through it.

  43. @Toni Haha, careful not to leave your email address (at least use a smart variation) here or else you become target for spamming crawlers. Also, you might want to “reply” to the comment below, or else they might not see it.

  44. shacharoz kensavage Would really appreciate it if you could grant me access / share a copy with me too: paul.klingelhuber [ at ]

  45. Hey, great work on the article. I am building a software right now for a gamified social network that i’d like to discuss with you, and possibly hire you as a consultant. Whats the best way to reach you>

  46. @davidicus No, I square the value of each core drive (so 5 becomes 25 and 6 becomes 36). But yes, perfect score is 800 😉

  47. Yu-Kai or anyone,
    Help me understand the scoring, each area is worth 10, and we square this to get up to 800.  Is the ten subjective to what ever analysis you are basing each of the core areas on.  So my perception of a game may score different then another persons.  For example you give Farmville 414, where does that come from.

  48. hb_jacobs hi jacob,
    i had the same question and since the whole concept is still open for changes (unless yukai says otherwise, of course), i’ve started to build my own rubric.
    i can share it if you’d like. but please send me an email shachar . oz at gmail . com

  49. hb_jacobs Yes – since this is based on feelings and motivation, it is very difficult to exactly quantify. You can just make sure your methodologies are consistent – same person evaluating all 8 Core Drives, or user test group of each player type going through it etc.

  50. Hi Yu-kai, I enjoyed your Bitcoin overview as well as your Octalysis We are organizing something that includes our core strength of physical gold trading, a layer on top of BITCOIN and gamification. Would love to explore synergies and see how we can help each other. brad at realgoldx dot com

  51. Hi @ashutosh nigam I’d love to as well, the reality is just that it’s nowhere to be found yet as the guide is a great work in progress 😉
    So stay tuned and be among the first to complete the “course”.

  52. Yu-kai Chou hb_jacobs 
    In short, you rank the completeness and use of each core drive from a number between 0 and 10. 0 is non existent and 10 is perfect use.
    You then take the number and square it, for example 5^2=25 and 9^2=81.
    As Yu-kai Chou replies, it’s hard to exactly quantify because of the personal judgement.
    However this assessment method is similar to many used in coaching to specify different often personal things, like skills, importance, personal value and so on.
    These kinds of methods is never intended to be used to rank people, games or products against each other, it’s an assessment of the completions of the individuals maximum potential.
    So something perfect gamified is 800 points, then something scoring 150 points must have a bit of room to improve it’s use of gamification.
    Again as people does not usually go for the score applied for “the perfect human”, they go for something that fits to what they need.
    So a gamification example scoring only 250 might actually be better gamified then a product scoring 350 points, as it depends on the context.
    However if for example to competing products gets evaluated by the same person and one scores higher than the other, it IS better gamified 😉

  53. FrederikAggeRonex Yu-kai Chou hb_jacobs Yu-kai Chou
    Hi all, since i’m coming from an instructional design approaches, i will suggest the method that are widely used for evaluating a successful product or method.

    – you define a scale (mostly 1 to 5). you use words to describe each of the numbers, e.g. (agree to total rejection).
    – now you need to define what does it mean to be a “1” or a “5”? what does it mean to reject that idea or full agree with it? you need to describe it a way that any person evaluates would understand the same and give similar scoring.
    – its best if you define this for each level on the scale, but its only mandatory to define the radicals and the neutral. 

    a good example to this is the Human Computer Interaction Coursera by Scott Klemmer. i took that course and he used this method to evaluate the given assignments there.

    this is what i hope we can achieve with Octalysis as well.

  54. @ashutosh nigam Haha, Frederik is right. I did not expect how busy I would be when I started the video series, so it’s going a bit slow. I just got some new help to pump them out faster though 😉

  55. This is so helpful as I’m implementing gamification at work… we have been struggling to separate game design from gamification… in our discussion, we often end up designing a game rather than incorporating the gamification value into our process…

  56. JorgeBorunda Haha, just because you made something fun doesn’t mean it’s a game. But love your efforts and hard work and study!

  57. Playing_Futures I would also love to see your evolution of gamification … please email to me at sparkercan at gmail .com  thanks.

  58. Hey Yu-kai, i write my bachelor thesis about Gamification. And i search for an article or paper about the awesome Octalysis? Is there such a thing ?
    Thank you for this great work!

  59. KevinJanen Thanks – I think there are things published here and there, but I’m not keeping track of them. I am publishing a book early next year but may be late for you. As of now, the most complete info is on my blog.
    And for some reason, my old calculator thinks that 4×4 is 16….

  60. aristofanioga Hey, that would be cool to see the portuguese version! What is a SVG or CDR file? I’ve not dealt with these files before ;-(
    Look forward to seeing another Octalysis I don’t understand! 😀

  61. Hi Yu-kai Chou!
    SVG and CDR were file extensions for Inkscape and CorelDraw programs. 😉
    I did an translated Graphic Octalysis. Link:

  62. Alfredo Prieto Hmm, I don’t think so, but I know people in Barcelona hosted a conference based on my Octalysis. Not sure if it is public online though…

  63. Dear Yukai,
    Just watched your interview in GCO and loved your comment on people saying: “well user can do this, users can do that”, “yeah but why would users want that?”? In the end it’s all about the motivational right?
    Where can I learn more about the deeper levels of Octalysis? 
    By the way, are you visiting Europe any time soon?

  64. Hi Yu-Kai,
    Thanks for the inspiration on the Octalysis model, I think it is well structured and easy to use and comprehend. I have tried to write a blogpost on your model – actually it is more like a blogquest since you have to play your way through it 🙂

    Please have a look, and let me know what you think, thanks.


  65. Yu-kai Chou Alfredo Prieto  Dear both, this is one of the hosts that Yu-Kai might be talking about. This is Oscar Garcia-Panella, PhD from We are a Gamification & Transmedia Storytelling based Consultancy that tackles with complex transformational changes within all sorts of organizations. I lead the Gamification area while I direct the first Videogame Degree of Barcelona and this master program (

    Yu-Kai might be talking about the Gamification Workshop that we offered within the event where we presented well-known metrics and platforms available. And the Octalysis was among them! in fact we decided to build the Octalysis by hand, believe me the different “avatars and guilds” got really engaged about that. And therefore we did not use the web but some wool, pushpins and cork!. And we tweeted it all! images included!.

    Where you talking about us Yu-Kai, when you mentioned Barcelona?…

    Unfortunately we did not translate the framework and therefore Alfredo it could be really interesting to get it from your side!.

    Best, Oscar.

  66. Jonathan_BB I’ll be doing a Tedx talk in Switerland beginning of February and still planning my trip.
    Deeper Octalysis has not been published yet….just laying out the foundation everywhere first, so when I go deeper there is enough people that can understand.

  67. @Oscar Garcia Panyella Yu-kai Chou Alfredo Prieto Haha, yes I was! It definitely caught my attention 😉
    Sometimes I also see like Russian conferences talking about Octalysis with languages I don’t understand…but I see my Octagon sitting there ;-D

  68. The very top image – the octagon with all of the different examples of each drive – do you have distinct definitions of each of those terms? I’ve noticed some are self-explanatory, while others are sometimes general or hardcore gamer terms. There are a few where I can’t figure out what you mean – for instance, free lunch, general’s carrot, glowing choice, weep tune, and aura effect to name a few. Do you have this documented somewhere?

  69. shacharoz FrederikAggeRonex Yu-kai Chou hb_jacobs Yu-kai Chou 

    Anchoring your scale with descriptors would be beneficial, but is probably impossible. For example, how can you objectively rate how meaningful (Drive 1) a game is? What’s meaningful for one person may be useless to another. 

    Even if you tried to objectify something like opportunities for accomplishment (Drive 2), what could you say? “Give this game a 0 or 1 if it offers no potential for accomplishment, give it a 2 if it gives you little, 3-4 for some, 5-6 for moderate accomplishment, 7-9 a lot of accomplishment, and a 10 if it offers the perfect amount of accomplishment opportunities”? For one, how much is a little, moderate amount, or a lot? It will be different from user to user and game to game. The same goes for the perfect level of a given drive. 

    The scores don’t mean much, but do help identify where you could be lacking, at least in a person or group’s opinion.

  70. Bo Armstrong shacharoz FrederikAggeRonex Yu-kai Chou hb_jacobs Yu-kai Chou That’s right – it’s really a framework to think through an experience and optimize it, rather than some type of objective scale to make comparisons. I focus more on how to make it usable like, “Ah! They are weak on this core drive. Ah, that’s why longevity is low – it’s Left Brain Black Hat!”

  71. Bo Armstrongyou just need to spend more time on the blog, all the terms you are looking for are there, and in sufficient detail for a lay man to understand. Click through the drives, to enter their individual pages, a you will have some 70 page stuff, to read about.

  72. Hi Yukai, great stuff sir, thanks for sharing your work! I couldn’t help asking what there is to say on the case of those drives that fall right on the borderline between left/right brain (meaning & avoidance), and white/black hat gamification analysis (ownership & social pressure)? Would each one be seen on either side of the fence kind’a thing?..

    Cheers, Andres S.

  73. ASA506 Haha, great question Andres. Yes, the ones that are in the middle can go both ways. For examples, in Ownership & Possession, it feels great and empowering when you own stuff or feel ownership, but sometimes your stuff can end up owning you and you become a slave to get more, which does not feel good. Hanging out with friends can be fun and inspiring, but social pressure can also cause a person to want to commit suicide.

    Epic Meaning & Calling + Loss & Avoidance also don’t have a clear standing in left/right brain or intrinsic/extrinsic, but I would say Core Drive 1 trends to the right, and Core Drive 8 trends to the left.

  74. Hey Yukai,
    I am writing a research paper on the ‘Scope of Gamification in E-retail’ tuned to Indian context. So I plan to review top US and UK e-retail sites with the Octalysis for gamification and later see how the best gamified sites experiences can be captured in India. But i am a little confused on how to score the individual drivers and more importantly like you said that higher score does not mean it’s the best so what do i do?

  75. Kanav Bakshi  Hey Kanav! From my perspective it’s best to assign a 1-10 point score for each of the drivers by looking at the best industry example of, say, empowerment of creativity and feedback. Then score your example based on that benchmark. Square that number to get the final drive score. Follow this process with each of the drives to get a score out of a total possible 800. 

    And based on my understanding of Yu-kai’s work, higher score is relative because the design of the product/service must fit the application and outcomes desired. If a product is really good at using black hat gamification mechanisms but the intended outcome is to elicit strong creativity and epic meaning and calling, then the product design wasn’t good to start with. 

    I suggest looking at the pros and cons of each e-retail example using the octalysis framework. I would argue that there is no true best as each situations has very different needs and therefore requires different mechanisms to elicit the outcome you want. I think your study can benefit from this nuanced approach.

    I hope this helps!

  76. Kanav Bakshi  Firstly you should understand all the drives in detail. Then the website you are trying to evaluate should be first matched with all the drives. By doing this you will yourself see the website is strong or heavily using a certain core drive as compared to others.
    I use this technique and also along side think if the a particular drive can be made better by some activity. If the drive is already very good and uses most of the things I give it a high score, but if I can pin point something that will make a drive excellent, then I give something like 7 or 8.
    For poor drives, i..e the site is not using these elements, I see if white hat gamification is used, or black hat is less. Though Black hat is not good for short run but in the long run you would like to have more of white hat..!

  77. Kanav Bakshi achintngm  Cool.. made a slightly small reply, as I was unsure of your reply, if you have more doubts just post it below, I will be happy to explain in detail.

  78. Hi, I’m writing my Master Thesis about Gamification in Learning Management Systems and want to review and compare some Systems with Octalysis. I’m from Germany so I wonder if there is already a German translation for the Core Drives. Thank’s for your help and great framework by the way! 😉 Fabi

  79. drive 5 name needs to be corrected.. to “social pressure and envy” from “influence and relatedness”

  80. achintngm  Well noticed.
    Actually Yu-kai Chouchanged it to Social influence and relatedness, as it much better described the behavioral psychology behind the core drive.
    I do however guess that he needs to change it a few other places as well, so thanks for pointing this out! 😀

  81. FrederikAggeRonex yup..Yu-kai Chou  clarified as well.. have been playing with drives past 16 hours since morning.. hence cannot recall.. which one is new..  #IamExhausted.. 😛

  82. achintngm FrederikAggeRonex Yu-kai Chou  Seems you’re doing one hell of a study! Keep up the good work and remember the sleep to transferee what you’ve learned from the short term memory to the long term memory 😉
    See you around 😀

  83. Great work!
    I am looking to cite your work in my research paper, is this working included in an academic paper or is it only available here? 
    Thanks, Phil.

  84. philparker21  Hey, there are a few academics who reached out to me and asked if they could include it in their scholarly work, but I have never followed up to that so not sure…

  85. JorisBeerda  Haha, no, but I do run a full day virtual workshop on Octalysis:

  86. achintngm  And now it’s available! 😀

  87. This is simply brilliant! I find going through the framework is incredibly motivating… I’ll have to concede the the rest of the day will be visualising how to apply your framework to our work! Talk about win win! Thanks!

  88. Yu-kai Chou, you are my new Sensei! And you don’t just talk the talk.  Your on-site gamification strategies have already gotten me to sign up, comment and tweet about it.  

    Well played Sensei, well played.

  89. A very good analysis of Gamification and some great insights. Probably the reason you are on the leaderboard of Gamification Guru’s…
    Pramodh BN

  90. I’m interested in broad application to secondary school students. It seems to me and many of my colleagues that engagement levels for many students have dropped in just the past three or four years, so we are having to re-think motivation.  Indifference is hard to distinguish from ignorance (“Honors” 16 year olds in my California high school ask without shame, “Which one is the Atlantic Ocean?” or “So who did win the Civil War anyway?” ).  The ability to engage and maintain the engagement for 30 to 40 minutes at a time, ignoring distractions, is turning out to be the most important predictor of learning. I’m not so interested in factoid type learning, but the gamers’ world creation seems more like what higher level analytic & synthetic learning/thinking require.  I already use two of the tools you include in your 10 Educational applications (eg Dojo, Socrative) but they are very discrete.  Is there a blog/community of people in education who are trying to apply these concepts?

  91. SarahPostSarkissian Awesome! Great idea with the blog/community. I don’t know of any but if it’s not there it should be!

  92. About 15 years ago, I invented a prototypical virtual reality game based on a mash up of: Monopoly, Sim City (version 1), and University of Chicago’s Economics department’s invention that became Roller Coaster Tycoon. I devised a street grid map of a city, and each student got a city block to develop in any way they chose — with two basic rules: instigate no crime (as known in modern society), and wealth for development to be generated from real research using — at the time — very limited access to Internet and other authentic sources. Whatever was realized — be it an indoor skate board park retrofitted to an existing building, or a noodle take-away restaurant in an originally designed building — is expressed in writing, pictures, or real-time “scenarios”, and valued in virtual $$$. Yes, we have have had more than one billionaire! More importantly, personal and civic growth withing the community apparently progress rapidly, but strangely authentically, along historical lines — from founding pioneers to thriving societies. I have implemented this game every year since, and without fail, it has engaged the most difficult high school student in considering their skill set, in developing self-identity, in visualizing future college/career futures, and in beginning development of community-mindedness. Some outcomes have launched individuals on bright futures, and saved more than one from abject failure. While playing, students have told me, they now, for the first time, see what school is for, engaging with teachers and subjects that had little use before.
    Your work here is certainly right on the money with what I discovered years ago, and am still excitedly experiencing today as a classroom educator. My invention is bare-bones demonstration of your Octalysis, and I congratulate you on your insight. In coming years, I will be looking deeper into your work. I have coined a word — “virtuality” — to represent the state of mind of the individual thus engaged with a virtual world and with reality, resulting in assessable progress, be it wealth, education, or self-actaulization.

  93. lindyaustralia SarahPostSarkissian Nice job pointing out the Octalysis Explorers facebook group! 🙂 ( again: )

  94. I have to write something to make my level up ))), as I read it one month ago and It was coolest thing I have seen before )

  95. I feel like all these concepts were always there, but so many of us never recognized it because we had nothing to call it. It’s so great now that there’s a name and place for each of these concepts that gamers and gaming developers are so familiar with. It’s actually all in our human nature in a way, but putting it in this format has just clarified it so much. The Octalysis framework is brilliant and it’s evident that you put so much research and thinking into making the Core Drives uniquely distinguishable. Thank you for opening a whole new world for me in the way I think about games. Every time I play a game now I question why I like or don’t like it and I try to categorize it into the Core Drives. You have changed the way I experience games in a good way. Great stuff.

  96. Dear Yu-Kai,
    it wil be cool to see here World of Warcraft sample and underline its endgame phase. I started to play it for last 45 days and its really amazing and I have feelings it is the best sample from all core drives and prodcut phase perspecives.

  97. A negative example though, he’s posted so was driven to do so, but hasn’t actually added anything useful to the conversation. The action was there, but void of meaning.

  98. Haha yes. It’s an example of someone doing hitting the quantitative action, but not necessarily the qualitative goal. But at least I get to meet more people in the community and have had conversation with him in other places 🙂

  99. HasanHasanov While World of Warcraft has a very good sample of all core drives, it is hard for a game to them all up throughout all the four phases. 
    I have been playing WoW almost ever since it came out, and man the game has evolved so well. The endgame is truly epic, but like many games, it turns towards black hat techniques till the next expansion comes up.
    I have submitted an octalysis for World of Warcraft, and I’m hoping to hear back from Yu-kai soon. He may or may not agree with my analysis, but hey, its a huge game with multiple expansions and that makes analyzing a bit complex!

  100. Shivcharan HasanHasanov
    Dear Hassan, yes a lot of black hat gamification is used, but ultimately it depends on what player type you are in how WoW engages you in the long run. Many players find that Core Drive 5 (not black hat) features like Guild Quests keep them engaged for a long time. If you look at how long WoW had been successful they obviously have doen a great job there, next to excelling in Core Drive 3 to name just one other CD that underpins motivation in the game.

    Yu-kai, or me or some other Expert in The Octalysis Group will study your Octalysis analysis with pleasure and interest! Thanks!

    Joris Beerda
    MD The Octalysis Group

  101. Motivational speach for person who is responsible for your business. I love short and meaningfull speaches: 

    Man, you are responsible for money I invested (Core Drive 4 Ownership) here and you know it is all we have (Core Drive 7 Scarcity). This job helps you to achieve your meaningfull goals (core drive 1), and you have freedom of decision making (core drive 3 empowerment) here. Beyond it we learn a lot here by mastering our skills ( core drive 2, acomplishment),  but we can lost it all and people around our company will blame us if we can’t reach our targets (Core Drive 8 avoidance and Core Drive 5 Social Pressure).

  102. Mozilla Open Badges are a great technology for having generally recognizable badges. The system allows you to keep badges in a Mozilla sponsored backback. This would create some legitimacy.

    1. Hmm, I’m not sure it exactly creates legitimacy, but it is definitely nice when your status follows you around.

    1. I was in HK last month. Great place. Was hanging at the Cocoon incubator. Seems like gamification is still very new in HK 😉

  103. Hi Yu-Kai,
    Like most others, I’m a big fan of the octalysis framework. I particularly like how it goes beyond just giving 8 core drives and actually segments them e.g. left v right brain, black hat v white hat. etc.

    A question for you on this:
    My understanding is a balanced game with all 8 is best. However, do you feel there is any sort of hierarchy amongst them? Are some “better” than others? ie more powerful, more sustainable, more effective. I know all 8 are your children and parents aren’t meant to have favorites. But is there a driver (or two) that you most like or lean towards?

    It seems white hat is promoted as more sustainable than black hat, so would the “best” drivers come from here?


    1. Haha, I actually go through odd periods of thinking heavily into a Core Drive and then gasping, “Wow! This must be the strongest Core Drive!” but then follow with, “Well, this other Core Drive is extremely powerful too…well this one too…” eventually I cover all 8 of them and realized they are all powerful, just in different ways haha.

      The key is to understand the nature of the Core Drive and determine which is most important for your purposes. Do you need longterm engagement or short-term conversions? Is it to extrinsically hook people in, or to intrinsically keep them motivated? Is this in the Discovery Phase or Endgame?

      When you ask these questions correctly, you will obtain insight into which Core Drives to use.

  104. Hi Yu-kai,
    I definitely would like to apply the Octalysis framework to the product i am developing.
    I only find confusing the method when need to apply a rank 0-10 to an aspect relying on how much i think is important. Isn’t that too subjective?
    Maybe i think its Meaning and Calling is much more developed than Ownership while other may think the opposite.
    Isn’t there a more accurate way to use the framework?

    1. Hey Ghidon,

      You will find that I spend very little literature on the scoring and ranking. That’s because it’s the least actionable. People are obsessed with “scores” but the score is just a feel-good/bad but it doesn’t really give you necessary steps to improve your product. The key is to identify, “Oh, everything I’m doing is White Hat…” or “Hmm, maybe I’m too focused on Extrinsic Rewards” as opposed to, “Am I a 7 or an 8?” We intuitively know whether there are true social influence designed into your system, so as long as you don’t think it is an 8 when it is a 2, or vice versa, that works.

      Like any framework, it requires human judgement. SWOT requires you to identify those, as well as BCG Matrix. The Framework allows you to ask the right question and visually show you where you could problem-solve more, but you still have to answer the questions yourself. This is where having lots of experience, study, and practice matters.

  105. Solid model, great framework. Can’t wait to battle test it, and still have lots to learn. Its nice learning new things. Thank you, Yu-Kai.

  106. Hi! This is my first week. Is really amazing the Octalyssis Framework. I am just working at StartUp project about Gamification in Education programs. I will be spending a lot of time in this site, for the next weeks. Thank a lot, Yu-Kai.

  107. I was looking for an in-depth analysis about the use of avatars, but could not find it on the site.

    If Gamification is “Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and engaging elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities”

    Then the avatar, in my opinion, plays a significant role in the attractiveness of the interactive offering to the user.

    Points, Leaderboards and Badges are what everybody keeps repeating but I believe the avatar belongs in that very same list.

    1. Totally agree!

      Just see what Xbox One do with avatars, you spend lot of time playing with it, trying to end with a nice avatar of you.

      And checking other family member’s avatars is funny too.

      Not to mention that obtain stuff for your avatar is a good way to engage people as it’s the most visible element of any user.

      Did you find some good article on this subject @Tim ?

      Stay awesome!

  108. pene piu lungo

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  109. Long time has passed since some comments…

    Can anybody tell me if there’s some Octalysis’ based tool or app available? I am checking the one linked in the main article but maybe there’s some others ready by now.

    Thanks and stay awesome!

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  111. Wow, deep info.
    I’m wondering how I could regamify an area that’s already gamefied.
    For instance, sports.

    Some atlethes have really hard time sticking to practice routines because they see it as hard work… how do you gamify deliberate practice for sports so “learning to play a game” becomes a game in itself?

  112. Hi @Yukai, thank you for sharing your research findings! Developing a tool like Octalysis is truly useful/helpful for us in the startup world in terms of structuring a thought process to learn how to use Gamification as a marketing strategy. Your framework is a great way for us to make sense of the theory and to brainstorm ideas on how to apply it to our businesses. So thank you very much for being generous with your wisdom! I was wondering how you would position the global craze on ‘Pokemon-go’ using the Octalysis? What do you think? Thanks again!

  113. I love the framework presented. I’m already looking at using it terms of health and fitness. I wonder how or if the addition of AR/VR technology would fit with this?

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