The Octalysis Framework for Gamification & Behavioral Design

This post is a high-level introduction to Octalysis, The Gamification Framework I created Octalysis is a powerful Gamification Framework created after extensive research and study by its creator over 17 years.

Gamification, a design approach centered around human motivation, takes elements from games and applies them to real-world activities. Octalysis emphasizes “Human-Focused Design” instead of mere functionality, optimizing human motivation and engagement within a system.

The framework comprises 8 Core Drives represented by an octagon shape, including Epic Meaning & Calling, Development & Accomplishment, Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback, Ownership & Possession, Social Influence & Relatedness, Scarcity & Impatience, Unpredictability & Curiosity, and Loss & Avoidance. By understanding and implementing these Core Drives, designers can create engaging experiences that cater to intrinsic motivators and promote positive user experiences.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is a 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. Click To Tweet

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 human motivation in a system, as opposed to pure efficiency.

The Challenges with Function-Focused Design

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Exploring the Art of Choice in Game Design Technique: Plant Picker vs. Poison Picker

In the realm of game design, understanding how to engage players is key to creating memorable experiences. In this article post, we’re going to explore two distinct game design techniques (GT): the “Plant Picker (GT #11)” and the “Poison Picker (GT #89).” Both these techniques are part of Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback, in the Octalysis Framework.

Understanding the Concept of Choice in Games

Choice is a fundamental aspect of human experience, and its integration in games is no less significant. Players generally prefer games that offer choices over linear, predictable gameplay. This brings us to two ways of integrating choices in games: meaningful choices (Plant Picker) and the feeling of choice (Poison Picker).

Plant Picker: The Essence of Meaningful Choices

Plant Picker: This term refers to a design technique where players are given meaningful choices that significantly impact the game’s outcome. These choices are substantial and lead to different consequences or paths in the gameplay. For example, in a strategy game, choosing to build one type of unit over another could drastically change the player’s ability to overcome challenges, thereby affecting the overall strategy and experience. The term “Plant Picker” is derived from the idea of choosing what plants to grow in a garden, where each choice (like different plants) has distinct outcomes and growth patterns.

The concept of the Plant Picker is central to creating a game where choices genuinely impact the player’s journey. It’s not just about providing options; it’s about ensuring these choices have real consequences and add value to the gaming experience.

When we talk about meaningful choices in games, we look at how diverse the players’ approaches can be. For instance, in the game “Plants vs. Zombies,” players must choose from a variety of plants, each with unique abilities, to defend against zombie invasions. This choice isn’t superficial; it fundamentally alters the way the game is played. This kind of strategic depth is what makes a game engaging and replayable.

When players encounter a Plant Picker scenario, they feel genuinely in control of their game journey. This could be selecting strategies, pathways, or responses that significantly alter the game’s progression. Such choices enrich the gaming experience, making each playthrough unique and player-specific.

Poison Picker: The Perception of Choice

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Real Life Game Skill: How to Develop Vision

How to develop Vision

I’ve been working on my 2nd book, 10,000 Hours of Play, and part of the Six Steps 10K HP Journey is to develop Skills based on our Attributes.

One important Skill (Step 4) to acquire is Leadership. However, Leadership does not stand by itself, it is built upon three important Attributes (Step 2): Vision, Execution, and Empathy.

During a live coaching session for my mentorship Guild Octalysis Prime, an OP Member asked about how to develop Vision to become a better leader. This led me to a breakdown of what it truly means to develop vision.

Firstly, it’s important to address the common misconception that vision is an inherent trait – you either have it, or you don’t. But I firmly believe that vision, like any other skill, can be cultivated if we deconstruct it into more manageable components.

The Three Pillars of Vision

  1. Imagination: The bedrock of vision is imagination. It’s the ability to see beyond the present, to envision a future that others might not yet perceive.
  2. Logic Checking: Vision must be rooted in reality for it to be actionable. This is where logic checking comes in. It involves critically assessing your imaginative ideas to ensure they are feasible and practical.
  3. Conviction: The final element is the belief in your vision. Conviction is what propels an idea forward, transforming it from a conceptual stage into a tangible goal.


Imagination is very important to having a vision, because vision literally means that you’re seeing something that is not in front of you, something that you haven’t seen before and maybe even no one else can see. 

All the other people who don’t have vision can’t even see it. You can even describe it to them and still, they won’t see it because they just don’t have imagination.

And imagination, of course, stems from creativity. 

There’s a lot of exercises out there about how to become more creative, if you lack creativity just go to YouTube and search for “how to be more creative” and you will get tons of results from very smart people. 

In a nutshell, creativity is when you can find connections and associations between all the many things that you have already seen.

We usually don’t come up with anything from scratch, I believe everything comes from somewhere. 

Napoleon Hill in his book “Think and Grow Rich” talks about 2 types of imagination:

  • Creative Imagination
  • Synthetic Imagination

Creative Imagination (unconscious and spontaneous) is when inspiration strikes out of nowhere, and you get a brand new idea from thin air. These are the “Erueka moments” that scientists and artists become famous for.

Synthetic Imagination (conscious and intentional) is when you combine things you know to create something new.

Whatever the case, both types of imagination require you to have more life experiences.

Examples of creative imagination could be:

  • Issac Newton sitting under a tree and after an apple falls on his head he gets inspired for what later became “Newton’s law of gravity”
  • Archimedes taking a bath and screaming “eureka!” when he came out with what later became the Law of Bouyancy (Archemides’ Principle).
  • Percy Spencer melting a peanut in his pocket by accident while boosting the power of his company’s radar – this led to the invention of the Microwave.
  • Dr Spencer Silver failed at creating a super strong adhesive and instead created a weak one useful only to hold paper – together with Art Fry they invented post it notes.
  • Hans Christian Oersted when setting up some machinery and misplacing a compass, this produced a magnetic field around it. This tiny accident inspired what would later become Electromagnetism that drove inventions from the telegraph to the motors and technology we know today

Examples of Synthetic Imagination could be:

  • Unicorn – a Horse with a horn
  • Pegasus – A horse with wings
  • Car – Combining wheels + a platform + an engine.
  • Smartphone – combining cellphone + computer
  • Smartwatch – combining smartphone + watch.
  • GPS – combining satellite + smartphone
  • Self Driving Cars – Combining Computer + Smartphone + Satellite

Whatever the case, whatever type of imagination you get, you need to have some type of input into your brain.

So if you want to have imagination all you have to do is start focusing on having more life experiences. Travel more, see more things out there, see more solutions and strategies, play more games.

The wider the range of life experience exposures you get, the more imagination you can have.

In short: When you are trying to be creative just focus on connecting things together in interesting ways to create something new in your mind, this will expand your imagination and will help you have more vision.

Logic Checking

Now the second part of having vision is logic checking that imagination, because you can just imagine a lot of random things, but you could just be a crazy person, right?

“The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success” -Bruce Feirstein

If you really think about it, it makes sense, right? Both geniuses and crazy people sound alike, the only difference is success.

And in this case, the difference for that success is that the genius is able to prove her crazy ideas to the world.

This is only possible with logic checking.

Even if the idea is exciting, colorful and makes you feel really good, if it’s not powered up by logic checking, it will never become a reality, and it will never be able to turn into vision.

It’s so important to logic check those things you imagine. A simple way to do it is to just ask: “Is it possible to get there? Is there a route to get there? Have others been able to do something similar?”

Logic checking relies heavily on pattern recognition skills. So yes, this is where going to school to do math and philosophy really pays off. We don’t actually learn that stuff just because it will help us right there on the spot when we are learning. Instead it’s to help us think and recognize patterns.

These logical skills are used to connect the dots from point A to point B to point C. So when we have this imagination, then we logic-check like:”Hey, could this be possible based on pattern recognition about how the world works? Is this possible within the laws of physics?”

When Elon Musk thought of flying a space shuttle into space, he didn’t just come up with that crazy idea, that would not have become a vision, because anyone can think crazy ideas, but what made him a visionary was thinking his crazy ideas deeper and logic checking them against the laws of physics. “Is it possible to build our own rockets?”.

This was a major breakthrough for SpaceX. Elon must have thought: “Can we power them up and fly them out of the pull of gravity? Does this defy the laws of physics? If it doesn’t, then it is possible”.

Anything you imagine can be crazy and ridiculous as long as you logic check it, you can transform it into a vision.

That is how the Octalysis group was possible for me, because I started in 2003 thinking of applying game elements into boring real life tasks we needed to do.

But I didn’t leave it as a fantasy, I really thought deeply about it for years, checking and rechecking, testing and retesting those ideas in my head until they became a reality.

During those years I started a blog around this crazy idea but was constantly talking about ways of making this possible (logic checking), and slowly, slowly, very slowly started building my reputation for 11 years until in 2012 “gamification” started being “a thing.” When CEOs wanted to apply gamification in their companies, my name was the first name that popped up.

This eventually transformed into the Octalysis Group, a business that generated millions of dollars in total revenue. So, you see, logic checking is very important.


The third component of vision is conviction of what you imagine, that is, after you have a crazy idea, and you logic check it to make sure it is possible, you become convinced that it can become a reality.

Logic Checking really helps you fully believe in that vision you have, but if you have all the logic, and you never make the decision that the crazy idea you are imagining is truly possible, you will never believe it and it will remain a fantasy – maybe a fantasy that makes sense, but not really a vision.

Also, part of conviction is wanting to do it. If I had a cool idea, and there was a path to get that idea brought to reality, and then I said: “Oh, but I don’t know if I really want to do this” – then that would not be convincing.

I don’t know. It is kind of scary like, yeah, yeah, that’s not a good leader, right? You would say that’s not a good visionary leader.

A visionary leader believes in his vision so much that he can inspire other people to be part of that journey, to go towards that vision. So even though your rational brain, the second part is logic and logical brain knows that, sure, it’s not a sure deal.

Maybe there’s even less than 50% chance of winning. But now that you’re visionary leader, you have to fully believe this is the only way this will work. It has to work. We have to put all our resources into it.

I believe in so much that I’m risking my well-being on the line to pursue this path. And so that conviction of your vision is also really important to being visionary, to developing your visionary skills.

And a lot of times that’s, again, back to the concept of optimism and confidence. As you know, there’s another video called Open Networking and the six Core Principles, Opinions and Confidence.

One of the two of those six principles, it’s important that you have that. So I believe that if you are able to have great imagination, skills, great creativity, can imagine a lot of things that other people can imagine.

You are good at logic checking. You’re good at seeing what it takes for that vision, for that imagined world to happen.

And once you have that, you believe in it so much that you’re willing to commit yourself to it, to take risks to inspire people towards it. I believe you become a visionary leader and you have vision, so you develop your vision skills.

None of that is easy. It takes time and practice, but we have our whole lives to level up, to improve ourselves.

As we improve our lives will have more meaning, even if we’re not leading a company, let’s say even if you’re not leading an organization, right. Having a vision for your family, for your relationship, having a vision for how you raise your children or how you want to finish school.

All this is helpful. A lot of people don’t have a vision for their relationship. They don’t know what the ideal is. Say they want to be competitive right now. Maybe right now that’s the ideal state. 

Then it’s not. The vision is how to maintain it for as long as possible because things might deteriorate and they think about, okay, is it possible to get there?

How is it possible? And then believing that we can get there as long as we work together and even as long as I always apologize first, right? I try to do more than the other person. Then it’s possible. But you have to believe in it to make it work. So anyway, so those are the three principles of building a Vision in my mind.

The Aura Effect in Gamification Design (Game Technique #9)

In the ever-evolving realm of gamification and Octalysis design, there exists a myriad of Gamification Design Techniques that captivate and engage players. Today, let’s cover the “Aura Effect.” This technique, while seemingly simple, has profound implications not only in the gaming world but also in the broader spectrum of business and social dynamics.

Understanding the Aura Effect (Game Design Technique #9)

At its core, the Aura Effect is a mechanism where the status or rewards of one user uplifts and benefit those around them. Imagine a member of a gaming community who has achieved a high level or possesses a unique power-up. Due to this individual’s elevated status, others in proximity reap the benefits. As a result, everyone else in the group would commit more Desired Actions because of this person’s activities, and of course, this person would get a lot more honor and social appreciation (Core Drive 5), which would also push him to commit more Desired Actions.

How I Discovered the Aura Effect within Games

The roots of my Aura Effect Gamification Design Technique can be traced back to the iconic game, “Diablo II.” In this game, the Paladin, one of the character roles, possesses a range of “auras.” Players can invest points to enhance these auras, which in turn offer various benefits such as increased health, magic resistance, or even amplified damage to those around the Paladin. The presence of a Paladin in a party elevates the entire group, making them more formidable. This dynamic not only enhances gameplay but also fosters social interactions, as players are keen to team up with a Paladin to harness the benefits of their aura.

Translating the Aura Effect to the Business World

In the realm of business, the Aura Effect can be manifested in referral programs. Consider receiving an email that reads, “Your friend has achieved Level 10 status on our platform. Because of their dedication, you as a friend can now join and immediately start at Level 3 instead of Level 1!” Such an approach is more enticing than a generic promotional offer. The underlying message is that someone you know has put in the effort, and achieved a milestone, and now, you have a unique opportunity to benefit from their hard work. This strategy taps into several Core Drives, including Scarcity, Social influence, and Accomplishment.

If you were to just get a random email that says, “We’re doing a new promotion and during this week, if you sign up you will start at Level 3!” it might seem very spamming and you might ignore it more easily. But when the Aura Effect email above reaches a user, it feels a bit stupid not to take advantage of the hard work your friend did in the game. So there is a much higher chance you would want to sign up just to get the benefit and also satisfy your curiosity (Core Drive 7) on what your friend is so committed to doing for a while (Core Drive 5).

Continue reading The Aura Effect in Gamification Design (Game Technique #9)

The Avatar: Gamification Design Technique

Avatar Designs (Game Design Technique #13)

In recent decades, technological advancements have given rise to innovative Game Design Techniques, one of which is the increasingly popular Avatar concept. Despite its straightforward nature and widespread adoption, the avatar holds immense dynamism, reshaping the landscape of gamified design and infusing playful elements into digital platforms. This essay delves into the essence of avatars, their psychological implications, and their transformative impact on user engagement in the realm of gamification.

Defining the Avatar

At the heart of any digital platform lies the user – a real, living individual with unique experiences, desires, and perspectives. An avatar serves as a bridge between this real-world individual and the digital universe. In its simplest form, an avatar can be a static image representing the user. However, as technology has progressed, avatars have evolved into intricate 3D characters capable of mimicking real-world movements and interactions.

One might recall James Cameron’s cinematic masterpiece, “Avatar,” where the concept took a more tangible form. In the movie, avatars are biological entities, embodying the user’s consciousness and allowing them to navigate an alien world. While cinema and real-world applications differ, the core principle remains the same: an avatar is an extension of oneself, a manifestation of one’s identity in a virtual domain.

The Psychological Underpinnings

At the crux of the avatar’s appeal lies a powerful psychological mechanism: the core drive for ownership and possession. Users, when presented with an avatar that they can customize, inherently feel a sense of ownership. This digital representation becomes a part of their identity, a virtual self that they can mold, nurture, and showcase. Many users choose avatars that mirror their real-world appearance, while others opt for idealized or aspirational versions of themselves. This connection is so potent that it often translates into heightened engagement and loyalty to the platform.

Further extending the avatar’s psychological reach is its ability to foster social connections. Avatars can play a pivotal role in fulfilling the human need for Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness within the Octalysis Framework. In digital spaces, where users might be hesitant to reveal their true identities due to vulnerability concerns, avatars offer a safe middle ground. Instead of uploading personal photos, which might feel too revealing, or choosing impersonal images like landscapes, which lack identity, avatars provide a personalized yet guarded representation. They maintain the essence of the user while ensuring a level of privacy and comfort.

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The Pet Companion Design in Gamification

Pet Companion Design (Game Technique #135)

In the vast universe of game design, there’s a myriad of techniques employed to amplify user engagement and immersive experiences. Among these, one stands out for its unique charm: the “Pet Companion” Game Design Technique #135.

This concept may remind some of the Avatar Design, a foundational game design technique. While there are similarities, the essence of ownership and the feeling of camaraderie differ significantly.

Distinguishing Avatar (GT#13) and Pet Companion Designs

In the world of Avatar Design, players often see themselves as the avatar. The avatar becomes an extension of their identity, a digital representation of themselves in the virtual realm. This embodiment fosters a profound connection, a bond that makes every achievement, loss, or challenge deeply personal.

In contrast, the Pet Companion Design introduces a subtle shift in this dynamic. Here, the player isn’t the digital entity but rather its master or friend. The relationship is one of guardianship and camaraderie. This distinction, while nuanced, profoundly alters the gaming experience. For example, when faced with a challenge, having a pet launch an attack feels distinctly different from the player-avatar doing so. The former feels like teamwork, while the latter is more personal.

How Battle Camp utilizes Pet Companions to expand their appeal

For clarity, let’s go deeper into some games that masterfully employ this technique:

In “Battle Camp,” players have the unique task of capturing monsters. Once captured, these monsters fight for the player. An intriguing aspect of “Battle Camp” is its substantial female player base. Beyond its vivid designs and colors, the game’s indirect combat mechanism provides a different kind of appeal. Instead of the player’s avatar fighting with ninja swords, their Pet Companions, or monsters, engage in combat, offering a level of detachment that can be particularly appealing to those who shy away from inflicting direct violence within games.

Some games have pushed the boundaries of the Pet Companion Design by introducing layers to the player’s virtual identity. In games like Battle Camp, players have avatars, which they can modify. These avatars, in turn, own battle pets that engage in combat. This layered approach adds depth to the gameplay, further distancing the player from direct combat and creating a more complex narrative.

It becomes a nice Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness experience.

Examples of Pet Companions within Iconic Games

  1. Plants vs. Zombies: This game is a brilliant showcase of autonomous combat. The player’s home is under threat from zombies, and to defend it, plants are strategically placed in the garden. These plants then automatically fight off the approaching zombies, removing the player from direct combat. It’s a strategy game where the player’s choices determine the outcome, but the action is executed by their plant companions.
  2. Super Mario: Mario’s adventures are made all the more thrilling with Yoshi, a green dinosaur. Yoshi not only serves as Mario’s mount but can also eat enemies, adding a layer of strategy to gameplay.
  3. MegaMan: MegaMan’s world is enriched with companions like his loyal dog, which he can ride, and Beat, a bird that autonomously seeks out and attacks enemies. These companions add depth to the gameplay, offering varied combat options.
  4. Diablo II: Here, players can have a ‘follower,’ a companion equipped with weapons and skills. This follower aids the player in battles, casting spells, and confronting adversaries. The customization options for the follower add an extra dimension to strategy.
  5. World of Warcraft (WoW): WoW offers a multi-layered pet companion system. The Hunter class can tame wild animals, turning them into loyal companions. These companions can be trained, given equipment, and even have their skills customized. Additionally, WoW introduced battle pet companions, which players can train to fight other pets they encounter in the expansive game world.

Pros and Cons of Pet Companions

Pet Companion Design touches upon various Core Drives that motivate players. From the drive for Social Influence and Relatedness, where players feel a sense of camaraderie, to the drive for Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback, where players can customize their pets, these drives play a pivotal role in enhancing player engagement.

However, while the advantages are numerous, there are challenges too. Players might be less inclined to invest in cosmetic upgrades for their pets as compared to their avatars. This is because avatars often serve as a direct representation of the player in the digital realm.

Fitness and Health Apps: “Walk with a Virtual Pet”

Description: Many health and fitness apps have introduced virtual pet companions to motivate users to stay active. For instance, a user might adopt a virtual dog that requires daily walks. The health of the virtual pet directly correlates with the user’s physical activity. If a user reaches their daily step count or exercise goal, the virtual dog appears happy and healthy. Conversely, if the user is inactive, the virtual pet might appear sad or unwell.

Impact: By tapping into the user’s emotions and sense of responsibility towards their virtual pet, these apps encourage daily physical activity. Users aren’t just walking for their health; they’re also walking to keep their virtual pet companion happy.

Educational Platforms: “Learn with Your Study Buddy”

Description: Some e-learning platforms introduce virtual pet companions to assist students in their learning journeys. As a student progresses through lessons or achieves certain milestones, their virtual pet might evolve, gain new skills, or even unlock special features. The virtual pet can provide hints, celebrate the student’s achievements, and even pose challenges or quizzes.

Impact: The pet companion serves as both a motivator and a learning aid. Its evolution mirrors the student’s academic progress, making learning more engaging and rewarding. The interactive nature of the pet companion also aids retention and understanding of the material.

Banking and Finance Apps: “Grow Your Savings with Your Virtual Plant”

Description: Some banking apps utilize the pet companion technique by introducing virtual plants or trees that grow as users save money. When a user deposits money into their savings account, the virtual plant receives “water” and grows. Reaching certain savings milestones might result in the plant bearing fruit or flowers. However, withdrawing money might lead to the plant wilting, serving as a visual deterrent against unnecessary spending.

Impact: The virtual plant acts as a visual representation of the user’s financial health and growth. It encourages consistent saving habits and provides a sense of achievement as users watch their virtual plant flourish in tandem with their savings. The emotional connection to the plant’s well-being can deter impulsive spending, promoting better financial management.

In each of these examples, the Pet Companion Design Technique is leveraged outside of traditional gaming to foster engagement, responsibility, and motivation in real-world scenarios.

Incorporating Pet Companion Design in Gamification

The Pet Companion design offers dynamic game mechanics. However, its complexity can be a deterrent, especially for companies aiming for simpler gamification strategies. While not every project needs a “World of Warcraft” level of intricacy, incorporating nuanced mechanics beyond basic points and badges can create a more engaging user experience.

To conclude, the Pet Companion Design Technique offers an innovative avenue for enhancing player engagement. Its dynamics, when effectively incorporated, can significantly enrich the gaming experience. I’m eager to hear your insights on this technique and any memorable pet companion designs that have captivated you in your gaming adventures.

Comprehensive List of 90+ Gamification Examples & Cases with ROI Stats (2024)


It’s all about the Gamification Examples & Case Studies

Below is a list of gamification examples and cases with ROI (Return On Investment) stats and figures, with many links to the case studies, so you can see for yourself the tremendous impact it is having on businesses.

I want this list to focus on cases that can confidently be measured as ROI.

The current gamification market size is estimated between $3 billion and $12 billion, depending on sources.

The Octalysis Group: Yu-kai Chou’s Case Studies

  • 712% uplift in sales for a well-known hotel chain, through our human-focused designs that boost product attractiveness and market performance.
  • A loyalty program for a Major Airline with a 175% performance enhancement through a well-crafted reward system.
  • An employee engagement platform for sales staff led to 28.5% more revenue and 59% higher KPIs.

Read the case studies done by the Octalysis Group of our clients.

The Octalysis Group has a decade-long track record of success working with clients across industry and service verticals. We specialize in creating engagement in areas where this is difficult to achieve.

Enterprise Gamification Case Stats and Figures

1) Caixa Bank (Brazil)Their initial goal of a 5% increase in annual sales (R$ 8.6 billion to R$ 9 billion) was surpassed, achieving a remarkable 49% increase in just six months. This resulted in an additional USD 1 billion in revenue for the bank.

2) SAP: The SAP Community Network gamified its already-mature reputation system, increasing usage by 400% and community feedback by 96%

3) Onmicare: introduces gamification to its IT service desk, getting a 100% participation rate from team members

4) Astra Zeneca: gamified medicine training gets 97% of their large network of agents to participate, with a 99% Completion Rate

5) CaLLogix: reduces attrition by 50% and absenteeism by 80%. The company saves $380,000 per year

6) SAP Streamwork: added gamification in brainstorming groups and grew generated ideas by 58%

7) Galderma: a pharmaceutical company, uses gamification to train their sales division regarding new products. Despite the voluntary participation, nearly 92% of targeted employees ended up playing

8) Spotify and Living Social: replaced annual reviews with a mobile, gamified solution with over 90% of employees participating voluntarily

9) Objective Logistics: the company motivates the employees through behavioral rewards and increases their profit margin by 40%

10) Inside View: gamifies their employee social media usage and increased Twitter updates by 312%

11) Keas: employment wellness program that increased employee engagement with healthy activities by 10,000% (100x)

12) Danske Statsbaner: through their “Engaged” platform, employees share their actions that support the value and strategy of the company, resulting in 92% positive ratings in content

13) Google: designed a Travel Expense System resulting in close to 100% employee compliance for travel expenses

14) Deloitte: training programs that are gamified took 50% less time to complete and massively improved long-term engagement

15) Engine Yard: increased the response rate for its customer service representatives by 40% after posting response-time leaders to all employees

16) Nextjump: uses gamification to get 67% of their employees to go to the gym

17) Bluewolf: gamified online conversations and posting increased employee community activity by 57%

18) Ford Canada: gamified its learning portal for employees and increased actions per user by 100% within 5 weeks

19) Blue Shield’s Wellivolution: Team gamified system resulted in 80% of employees participating in at least one wellness program, and 50% of employees dropped smoking behavioral

20) Idea Street: the Department of Work in the UK used game mechanics to get 120,000 people to contribute 4,000 ideas, with 63 of them implemented in the marketing department

21) EMC RAMP: with their gamification platform, the company rewarded positive behavior from employees, partners, and customers which led to a 10% increase in documentation, 40% more videos watched, and 15% more discussions

22) DirecTV: uses gamification to overcome the fear of failure

23) HCL: decrease new hire “Pre Join” dropout rate by 90%

24) T-Mobile: dials up employee engagement by 1,000 percent

25) Royal Caribbean Cruises: All-time high customer satisfaction with facial recognition.

26) Slalom Consulting: participation in the employee name recognition program increased from 5% to 90%, and recognition scores improved from 45% to 89%

 Sales Gamification Case Stats and Figures

1) Autodesk: gamified the free trial, incentivizing users to learn how to use the program and offering both in-game and real word prizes, increasing trial usage by 54%, buy clicks by 15%, and channel revenue by 29%

2) ePrize: increased the participation in their sales event by 10% by creating a participation-based point economy 

3) LiveOps: call center reduces call time by 15% and increases sales by over 8%

4) Step2: children’s retailers used PowerReviews’s social loyalty scheme to boost sales with a 300% increase in revenue from Facebook and 600% in content uploaded

5) Domino’s Pizza: created the gaming app Pizza Hero and increased sales revenue by 30% by letting customers create their pizza with an app

6) Moosejaw, a clothing company, used an innovative gamified system that saw 76% of sales revenue come from gamified activities, including 240k social media impressions, resulting in a 560% ROI from initial marketing expenditures

7) Silver Grill Cafe: received a 66% Return on Investment for having its waiters/waitresses play a cross-selling game)

8) Cisco: used gaming strategies to enhance its virtual global sales meeting and call centers to reduce call time by 15% and improve sales by around 10%

9) Popchips: uses games to personalize mobile advertising and has seen its sales rise 40% leading to $100 million in sales.

10) Teleflora gamified its store with a social engagement scheme offering points for actions, increasing traffic from Facebook by 105% and conversion rates by 92%

11) America’s Army: 30% of Americans aged 16 to 24 had a more positive impression towards and recruited more people than all the other methods combined while costing a fraction of the marketing cost

12) Extraco Bank: raised customer acquisition by 700% through a gamified system

13) Lawley Insurance: with a 2-week contest, the company closed more sales than the previous 7 months combined

14) Playboy: in its Miss Social game, 85% of its users play more than once, with 50% returning a month later, resulting in a 60% increase in monthly revenue

15) Kill The Paper Invoice: increased website visits by 108.5%, and a conversion rate of 9.38% through a gamified system

16) increased their conversion rate by 18% with a 3000% lift in the total number of click-per-buy

17) Ford Escape Route: with this game, Ford’s customers bought over $8 million in vehicles, with 600% increased likes on the FB page and over 100 million impressions on Twitter

18) Investorville: with a property-investing game, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank created 600 new loans

19) Hewlett Packard: launched Project Everest to give rewards like holidays and other goods to the best reseller teams and saw 56.4%.

20) Grouper.MK: A 600% increase in monthly signups.

Product Gamification Case Stats and Figures

1) Microsoft: improved its translations for Windows OS through the Language Quality game with over 900 employees completing 26,000 tasks with 170 additional errors reported

2) Leadership Academy: within three months, daily visitors increased by 46.6% with one user earning the Leadership Academy Graduate Badge, which was expected to take 12 months

3) Microsoft: obtained 16x more feedback from people through its Communicate Hope gamified system

4) EMC2: increased the amount of feedback it received by 41%

5)  got a 26% response rate from the teen audience to a scavenger hunt game

6) OpenText: implementation of a leaderboard contributed to a 250% increase in business usage and adoption

7) Volkswagen: got 33 million webpage hits and 119,000 ideas through its People’s Car Project which lets people design their “perfect car”

8) Samsung Nation: 500% increase in customer product reviews, and a 66% increase in site visits when using a gamified system

9) Beta One: Microsoft’s Testing Division got a 400% increase in participation for the pre-release testing

10) Uber: The rideshare app gets more drivers on the road using gamification.

11) Arcade City: Challenger to Uber and Lyft getting its start in Austin, TX, with smart contracts (Ethereum) and guilds to protect drivers: “Think Habitica meets Uber,” says its CEO. 

12) Audible: Audible uses badges to keep readers reading, even though they already have a strong product.

Lifestyle Gamification Case Stats and Figures

1) OPower: reduced measurable energy consumption by over $100M

2) Aetna: increased daily healthy activities by 50% with an average engagement of 14 minutes on the site

3) embedded a social platform that improved user submission by 300%, comments by 400%, and Slideshow Visualizations by 53%

4) Bottle Bank Arcade: gamified bottle bank was used 50 times more than conventional bottle bank.

5) The World’s Deepest Bin: 132% more trash collected compared to conventional bin

6) Piano Stairs: 66% more people use the stairs if they can produce music with it

7) Speed Camera Lottery: a lottery system that causes a 22% reduction in driving speed

8) Toilette Seat: 44% increase in lifting the toilet seat when urinating

9) Nike: used gamified feedback to drive over 5,000,000 users to beat their personal fitness goals every day of the year

10) Recycle Bank grew a community of 4 million members by providing a gamified recycling platform.

11) Chevrolet Volt: uses a green/amber indicator to give drivers visual feedback of their driving style and reduces the number of people exceeding the speed limit by 53%

12) Diet DASH at Drexel University shown to reduce sugar intake, and over half the players lost 3% body weight over 2 months

Consumer Behavior Gamification Case Stats and Figures

1) MTV My Chart: lets users create their video chart based on various game dynamics, and obtained 500,000 votes and 150,000 videos viewed within 3 months

2) Joiz: a Swiss television network increased sharing by 100% and social referral traffic by 54% with social infrastructure and gamification technologies

3) increased their music userbase by 59%

4) Marketo: layered a game platform on their community and saw a 71% lift in daily activities, a 36% increase in ideas submitted, and a 48% increase in question replies.

5) Interscope Records: the company obtained a 650% increase in engagement and interaction with the website

6) Verizon: users spend over 30% more time on-site with social login games versus a regular site login

7) Allkpop: during the week-long promotion of game mechanics, the online news site experienced a 104% increase in shares, 36% in comments, and 24% in pageviews

8) SessionM: offers mobile publishers a platform for adding game mechanics into apps, increasing 35% retention and reducing bounce rate by 25%, all while seeing a 40x increase in engagement rate in social activities

9) Buffalo Wild Wings: the campaign generated more than 100 million social impressions on SN, as well as a 500% increase in participation rate

10) Green Giant: generated 420,000 likes on Facebook through their gamified system

11) NickTV: introduces a game-based role-playing platform as heroes and within 2 months obtained 750,000 page views (200% the amount of the usual traffic for the entire nickel. it website), over 50,000 users, and over 4,000,000 sessions on the website, with an increase in time spent on site by 25%

12) More than a Game: The interviewer changed the formulation of surveys, obtaining a 98% response rate and an 87.5% in descriptive words within answers

13) BlurbIQ: introduced Interactive Video Interruptions and within two weeks obtained 915% more interaction, 1400% increase in click-through rate, and 95% increase in recollection

14) Bell Media: increased customer retention by 33% by incorporating “social loyalty” rewards on its website

15) Club Psych USA: saw a 130% jump in page views and a 40% increase in return visits to the game 

16) American Express: the company has gotten over 2 million likes on Facebook through their Nextpedition gamified system

17) Boyd Game: the casino gets over 700,000 visits each month by introducing gamification on its website

18) Verizon Wireless: more than 50% of the site’s users participate in this gamified environment and spend 30% more time on the site

19) Topliners: introducing gamification in the community lifted active users by 55%

20) SAP ERP: introducing game mechanics improved user participation with telepresence increasing by 29.75%

21) GetGlue: Has built a community of 2 million users around a gamified TV. feedback platform, 20% of all social media posts to dedicated TV. show pages during primetime come through GetGlue. (Link in Italian)

22) uses game mechanics to increase user engagement through real-time notifications and activity streams, increasing answered questions by 23% and votes by 58%

23) implemented a social loyalty program, rewarding users with tangible gifts such as concert tickets which led to a weekly activity increase of 59%

24) Badgeville & Kendall-Jackson: increase customer engagement by 65%

25) Patient Partner: uses gamification to improve medication adherence

Education Gamification Case Stats and Figures

1) Beat the GMAT: students increase their time spent on site by 370% through a gamified system

2) OTT, an e-learning provider, increased by 65% user engagement, with some users peaking at over 300%, by adding a reward system

3) Deloitte Leadership Academy, an executive training program, increased by 46.6% the number of users that returned daily to their platform by embedding gamification mechanics into it

4) Stray Boots & A.L.Penenberg: the professor taught journalism through gamification and saw student grades increase by more than a letter grade

5) Devhub: a place for Web developers, added gaming feedback and watched in awe as the percentage of users who finished their sites shot up from 10% to 80%

6) Foldit: gamers have solved a 15-year AIDS Virus Protein problem within 10 days

7) Duoling: Grew to 300 million users and 10 minutes per day per user.

Scientific research related to the effect of Gamification

1) Research findings support the impact of levels, badges, and a (dummy) feedback system connected to a study course, results were significant, with 18.5% higher average grades for students enrolled in the gamified course

2) Research findings support the impact of levels, points, leaderboards, streaking, and visual storytelling to improve participation in crowdsourced assessments. Results were significant with an increase of 347% of participants returning for recurrent participation. (compared to the control group)

3) Research findings support the impact of point-based levels (Status titles) and leaderboards on IBM’s internal social network service. Short-term impact showed a 92% increase in comments posted, within this research long-term engagement was also measured and a rise of 299% more comments posted was found compared to the control group

4) Subsequent research in the same social network service above showed the effects of removing the point-based levels, status titles, and leaderboards. The removal of the game mechanics showed a significant result as across-the-board activities on the social network service dropped by 52%. 

5) Research findings support the impact of narratives, leaderboards, and countdown timers on online training. Results were significant with a 61% increase in participation in online training.

6) Research findings support the impact of narrative, levels, quests, countdown timers, immediate feedback, guidance systems, visual storytelling, surprise events, and flow (matching ability and difficulty) to an online tutorial. Results were significant with users learning via the gamified tutorial showing increased ability by finishing tasks 135% faster than the control group. Additionally, the users expressed much higher satisfaction in regards to using the system.

The Octalysis Group: Case Study Collection

  • 712% uplift in sales for a well-known hotel chain, through our human-focused designs that boost product attractiveness and market performance.
  • A loyalty program for a Major Airline with a 175% performance enhancement through a well-crafted reward system.
  • An employee engagement platform for sales staff led to 28.5% more revenue and 59% higher KPIs.

Read the case studies done by the Octalysis Group of our clients.

The Octalysis Group has a decade-long track record of success working with clients across industry and service verticals. We specialize in creating engagement in areas where this is difficult to achieve.

Updated by Howie Ju: Oct. 10, 2023

Anticipation Parade: Gamification Design Technique

Today we shall explore another Gamification Design Technique I coin as the “Anticipation Parade” (Game Design Technique #15). This gamification design technique can be used for heightening the excitement and engagement levels in various mediums such as games, movies, and even business software. So, let’s unfold this narrative and venture into the depths of Anticipation Parade, a technique that not only engages users but sometimes makes an experience more gratifying.

An Anticipation Parade is a sensational event that builds up to a climactic moment. It is that pulse-quickening period just before an exhilarating event is set to unfold, generating an ambiance saturated with curiosity and excitement. The beauty of this technique lies in its ability to prepare the audience mentally and emotionally for what’s coming, fostering a state of heightened eagerness, and even a bit of impatience, driven by a tantalizing foreplay of what is about to occur. This buildup often augments the overall experience, making it vastly more engaging and immersive.

Let us step back a bit and analyze this technique through the lens of film history. One of the quintessential examples that illustrate this technique flawlessly is the theme music in the movie “Jaws,” a well-known thriller that had audiences gripping their seats. The music in the movie crafts a significant amount of tension, setting the stage for the shark’s appearance which in itself may last for just a fleeting moment.

However, this orchestrated build up of sound and tension, often lasting minutes, enhances the entire scene manifold, making the shark’s appearance feel a lot a more prominent than it actually is. It’s an orchestration that signals to the audience that an exhilarating event is imminent.

Similarly, in the animated world, series like “Dragon Ball” have utilized this method to great effect. The series, peppered with such instances, features characters like Vegeta who, before executing a powerful move, exhibits a buildup that is often accompanied by distinctive background musical scores. This musical cue not only sets the scene but also amplifies the gravity of the impending event. In the popular Parody Youtube Series, “Dragon Ball Z Abridged,” viewers love to joke about the Anticipation Parade. When Vegeta was full of rage and building up his powerful attack, his allies would try to stop him from destroying the earth, but since the piano scored as started to play, there was no going back.

Transcending beyond the realms of movies and animations, this technique finds its echoes in animated series like “Disney’s Aladdin” as well. Remember the time when Aladdin discovers the magic lamp? That moment wasn’t simply about the Genie popping out and offering wishes. There was a deliberate buildup, a spectacle that signaled to the audience that something wondrous was on the horizon, thus making the Genie’s eventual appearance more significant and delightful.

Now, let us shift our focus towards the gaming sphere where Anticipation Parades play a critical role. In games like “Heroes of the Storm” or “Overwatch”, the act of opening a loot box or a card pack isn’t a straightforward affair. The process is transformed into a theatrical event, adorned with animations and accompanied by musical cues that enhance the significance of the activity. Even though the rewards might not always match up to the buildup, the Anticipation Parade ensures that the process feels eventful and rewarding.

Now, I would like to bring your attention to the element of sound in creating this buildup. In many scenarios, especially in gaming, a spinning wheel is used to heighten the anticipation. The sound of the wheel spinning, accompanied by music that escalates in intensity, often serves as an auditory cue for the impending reward. This auditory buildup, coupled with visual elements, creates a rich tapestry of anticipation, making the eventual revelation a more rewarding experience.

Moreover, this technique is not limited to entertainment mediums. In the non-entertainment domain, a simple drumroll preceding an announcement serves a similar purpose, fostering a brief moment of heightened anticipation before the revelation. This technique leverages Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness, drawing people into a communal experience of anticipation.

Furthermore, in the realm of business software, companies like MailChimp had cleverly integrated this concept into their platform. Before sending out a newsletter to a large audience, a figure is depicted nervously poised to press the send button, visually echoing the sender’s own apprehensions and thus connecting with the user on an emotional level. This builds a brief moment of tension, which is then followed by a congratulatory message, thus transforming a mundane task into a more engaging and gratifying experience.

As we traverse through this journey of understanding the Anticipation Parade, it is evident that it is a powerful tool in human-focused design, a methodology that centers around human feelings and motivations as opposed to mere functionality and efficiency. It takes into consideration the human proclivity towards excitement and anticipation, and utilizes it to craft experiences that are more immersive and rewarding.

In conclusion, I’d encourage you to take notice whenever you spot an Anticipation Parade, possibly even finding avenues to incorporate it into your projects. Whether in media, movies, software products, or even in classroom settings, this technique has the potential to amplify the engagement and excitement levels.

I invite you to share examples and insights in the comments section, fostering a rich discussion that could potentially inspire many in our community. Let us explore how this technique can be woven into our narratives, making experiences more engaging and exciting.