Gamification Expert &

Behavioral Designer

yukai chou gamification

Boosters: The Gamification Design Technique to Create Game Loops

Game design has long been studied and revered for its intricate techniques that engage users and maintain their interests. As businesses look to these strategies for inspiration, one Game Design Technique emerges with robust potential: Booster (GT #31).

Understanding the Essence of a Booster

In the gaming universe, a Booster serves as a specific type of reward. However, it’s distinct from typical rewards, which might offer players external advantages or benefits. Instead, a Booster is designed to enhance a player’s innate capabilities or powers within the game itself. For instance, consider the world-renowned game, Super Mario. Here, power-ups like the star or mushroom don’t bestow players with coins or extra lives directly. Instead, they elevate the player’s strength or abilities, enabling them to confront challenges with increased prowess (in this case, “tankyness”). 

Boosters Versus Status: A Comparative Analysis

When discussing game rewards, it’s crucial to contrast Boosters with another powerful motivator: Status. Within the Octalysis Framework, status finds its place under Core Drives 5: Social Influence & Relatedness matched with Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment. While status is undeniably a potent motivator, it does exhibit some limitations.

To elucidate, let’s evaluate a scenario involving StarCraft II, a prominent real-time strategy game created by Blizzard Entertainment. Players invest time and effort to climb the rankings, aiming for a prestigious status within the game’s complex league structure. However, there’s a paradoxical element here: achieving a high rank might diminish the player’s drive to continue. Having reached a pinnacle position, the sense of accomplishment might overshadow the incentive to play further. In stark contrast, Boosters perpetually engage players. By endowing players with tools or abilities that augment their gameplay (like a formidable sword after a challenging quest), the game ensures that the player’s journey remains perpetual.

Translating Boosters to Real-World Scenarios

While the potency of Boosters is evident in gaming, their applicability extends far beyond virtual realms. Numerous industries have realized the transformative power of Boosters, integrating them into their operational strategies. Let’s explore some of these real-world adaptations.

Enhancing E-commerce with Boosters

eBay, a global e-commerce giant, offers an enlightening example of how Boosters can redefine user experience. While the platform could resort to traditional methods to incentivize sellers, such as monetary discounts or perks, it has the potential to think beyond. By embracing the Booster philosophy, eBay could offer tools that elevate the selling process. Imagine they gave the most diligent sellers a specialized seller’s kit, complete with a portable backdrop for flawless product photography, and an accurate weighing scale to streamline shipping. Such tools act as Boosters, optimizing the user’s task and ensuring they remain engaged and loyal to the platform.

Loyalty Programs Reimagined through Boosters

In India, there is a restaurant loyalty program where instead of standard loyalty points or discounts, they offer a spinning wheel game, embedding the Feedback Mechanic through a Mystery Box (GT #72) design. This game, requiring minimal commitment, can bestow users with Boosters for loyalty points that are applicable at associated restaurants. A standout reward, such as a 15% bonus, functions as a powerful Booster. Now users are more likely to go to a restaurant because they were lucky to get the most amazing Booster for eating there. It not only entices users with its value but ensures they actively visit the restaurants, maximizing the benefit of their reward.

Why Boosters Are Imperative for Future Strategies

As businesses venture into an era characterized by fleeting attention spans and dynamic user preferences, retaining engagement is paramount. Here, Boosters emerge as a beacon of hope. By integrating rewards that amplify user experiences or accelerate desired actions, organizations can foster prolonged engagement, cultivating a loyal user base.

Furthermore, Boosters can redefine marketing strategies. By offering value that amplifies a user’s interaction with a product or service, businesses can foster organic brand advocacy. A satisfied user, empowered by a Booster, is more likely to champion the brand, leading to organic growth and enhanced brand perception.

In Conclusion

Boosters, while rooted in game design, possess a vast potential that transcends industries. As organizations grapple with the challenge of sustained user engagement, Boosters offer a promising solution. Their capacity to augment user experience, while driving desired actions, makes them indispensable for future-focused strategies. As we progress, it’s evident that those who harness the power of Boosters will lead, setting new benchmarks for user engagement and business success.

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