Analysis: Gamification Design behind Squid Game

Squid Game – the gamified death experience that is impossible to ignore

I’m a busy professional. I’m running multiple companies, handling multiple client projects, creating video content, working on an NFT/Metaverse concept, all while helping to raise my twin daughters, Symphony and Harmony Chou.

Because of that, I often try to stay away from addictive media that is designed to suck away all my hours and make me less productive – especially when I’m an expert on how media does that to our brain to begin with.

However, as is probably the case for your experience too, I suddenly got approached by a variety of people asking me if I have seen this Netflix show called Squid Game, and how would I use Octalysis Gamification Theory to dissect it.

This happened so frequently within a few days, that I finally took the Red Pill and decided to watch Squid Game. And expectedly, I finished the entire Season 1 within 24 hours. Wait, did I mention I was a busy professional?

Lucky for me, my profession is learning from addictive entertainment and applying them to productive processes such as improving healthcare, education, finance, etc. by making boring but important activities more fun and engaging.

So the joke’s on Squid Game – I didn’t entirely waste my time and it helped me level up.

Here I share my analysis of this gamified death experience and why it rose above the crowd and totally killing it.

Spoilers Alert: not only will parts of the show be spoiled, you will understand the inner workings of how something like Squid Game is designed, ruining your entire experience if watching for the first time.

But what makes it a GAME?

It’s called the Squid Game, but is it really a game? Most of the time we think of games as fun activities that drive good memories. Squid Game seems to just be this perverted meat trap where people are dying for the entertainment of sick rich people.

You see similar scenarios in horror Escape Room movies where many people die if they don’t solve puzzles to escape the room quickly. But they don’t call it a game – just another tortune zone.

However, if you look at similar films here, you will see that something like the Hunger Games also call themselves a game, except the goal is to just kill off one another. In Roman gladiator arenas, there is also the common saying, “Let the games begin!”

So what makes people slaughtering each other a form of game?

Technically, games exist for us to rehearse and train for real life situations that are important. That’s why boys love playing fighting games – in primitive times you don’t want your first ever fight to be of life-or-death. Their brain creates pleasure when tackling these situations so they would have enough practice to survive in the future world.

That’s also why there are also many popular games that are related to socializing, solving puzzles/problems, and building industrial empires – all extremely useful skills to gain for thriving in our harsh world.

So when people are put in an artificially created environment where they need to outcompete each other and even potentially cause each other to be eliminated, they call this a Game. The fact that many sports are just a game that professionals play to entertain a paying audience also fits very well in the setup of Squid Game.

But of course, it goes beyond that. Squid Game actually offers little games that Koreans play as kids when they were growing up, further pushing for that aspect of “I want desperate people to survive and murder each other, but through a gamified environment.”

So what makes the gamified Squid Game so compelling?

There are 2 aspects to consider here: the Squid Game itself for the contestants, and the Squid Game show for the audience.

For both of them, we could use the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard to evaluate the different sets of Business Metrics, Player Types, Desired Actions, Feedback Mechanics, and Rewards/Incentives. For practicality sake, we use a super shrunk down version of this process.

If we look at the Squid Game for the Contestants:

Business Metrics: how thrilling and entertaining the VIPs will feel while watching people struggling and getting eliminated
Player: financially and socially desperate people who have dropped to the bottom of society that have very little to live for or too much to lose if they didn’t have money.
Desired Actions: go through a list of 6 games, surviving each of them, while making sure other contestants are being eliminated
Feedback Mechanics: floating ball with a ton of cash, number of current players, gameful environment with death triggers, soldiers with guns etc.
Rewards/Incentives: a huge deal of money that could likely solve all the problems they are facing in their normal reality.

Now if we look at Squid Game for the Netflix Viewers:

Business Metrics: keep people watching content for a long extended period of time so every month they feel like the fee was worth it – also increase word of mouth.
Player: media-oriented people who prefer watching shows as their main form of entertainment. Also people who like thrillers and aren’t afraid of blood, like the Game of Thrones audience.
Desired Actions: binge watch Squid Game for long periods of time. If they stop watching it, think about it all night long and talk to others about it.
Feedback Mechanics: TV screen – which characters are still alive, what is the new challenge, attachment to characters, drama/tension built between characters, curiosity of the entire organization.
Rewards/Incentives: satisfying ones’ curiosity, feedback of one’s creative guessing, social relatedness towards characters in the show and how they develop

For this article, we will focus on the Game Contestants (and potentially explore Netflix Viewer in another article)

Squid Game Contestant Game Analysis

Squid Game Gamified Analysis

So if we apply the 8 Core Drives of the Octalysis Framework, we could make these analysis to the game from the position of the contestants. Let’s first get the obvious ones out of the way:

Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession in Squid Game

Of course, the biggest appeal for people to play the Squid Game is the money prize if they are the final winners. There is nothing special about this, but companies who want to motivate people need to think very heavily about incentive designs and how that incentive is presented.

Keep in mind that Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession is on the left side of the octagon so it is a “Left Brain Core Drive,” which means it is purely an extrinsic motivation design. This means that the players are doing the activities because of a goal, milestone, or reward, but they don’t necessarily enjoy the activity itself. So once they obtain the reward, hit their goals, or the reward becomes stale and uninteresting, people will stop doing the behavior.

For Squid Game, it is not hard to imagine that if the reward suddenly disappears or is not as attractive as they thought, no one would want to continue.

Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance in Squid Game

Continue reading Analysis: Gamification Design behind Squid Game

Human-Focused Design: The Better Term for Gamification

This is an excerpt from the second part of the introduction of Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and LeaderboardsBuy a copy here or listen on Audible.

Why Gamification?

Gamification, or the act of making something game-like, is certainly not something new. Throughout history, humans have tried to make existing tasks more intriguing, motivating, and even “fun.” When a small group of people casually decide to compete against each other in hunting and gathering, or simply start keeping score of their activities and comparing it to their past records, they are adopting principles that are prevalent in modern games to make tasks more engaging.

One of the earlier works done on adapting gameplay practices within the workplace can be traced back to 1984, when Charles Coonradt explored the value of adding game-play elements at work through his book The Game of Work. 1

Coonradt addressed the question, “Why would people pay for the privilege of working harder at their chosen sport or recreational pursuit than they would work at a job where they were being paid?” He then boiled it down to five conclusions that led to hobbies being more preferable to work.


• Clearly defined goals
• Better scorekeeping and scorecards
• More frequent feedback
• A higher degree of personal choice of methods • Consistent coaching

As we dive deeper into our journey together, we will learn about how these factors boil down to specific motivation Core Drives that can be intently designed for.

On the other hand, some early forms of marketing gamification can also be seen in the form of (regrettably) “shoot the duck” banner ads on websites, where an image ad tempts users to click on it by displaying a duck flying around. These tactics have probably tricked many people, myself included, into clicking on them once or twice upon seeing them. Later on, eCommerce sites like eBay and all adapted sound gamification principles to become hugely popular examples of how game mechanics and dynamics can really make a process fun and engaging (in later chapters, we will examine how both eBay and utilize great gamifica- tion design to make purchases exciting and urgent).

Of course, as “games” evolved throughout the centuries, the art of “making things game-like” naturally evolved too. Through the ad- vent of the Internet, Big Data, pluggable frameworks, and stronger graphics, our ability to design and implement better gamification experiences has drastically improved to the point where we can now bring sophisticated and subtle game-like experiences into every aspect of our lives.

In recent years, the term “gamification” became a buzzword because the gaming industry shifted from making simple games that only target young boys, to social and mobile games like Farmville and Angry Birds that also appeal to middle-aged executives as well as senior retirees alike.

Continue reading Human-Focused Design: The Better Term for Gamification

Monday’s Mini – Can We Feel Related to NPCs? 2/2

In our exclusive Slack community for Premium Primers, we offer the weekly Monday’s Mini Challenge.
The best way to learn is by putting your knowledge into practice. We created the Monday’s Mini Challenges to offer our Primers the chance to do this.

Monday’s Mini. One topic. Three questions. Many high-quality answers from our Primers.

Oftentimes when we think about Core Drive 5, we think about Social Influence, Relatedness, Social Pressure, Envy. We think about what we do based on what other people do, think, or say, about collaboration and competition. With humans.

But what about NPCs? What about animals? What about people that only exist in books, stories, movies?
This week we will explore a larger extent of Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness.

Question 3 – One of the low hanging fruits to improve a design, is to make it easy for users to show appreciation for each other. However, we can only motivate people, gently nudge them in the right direction, we cannot control them. Do you think we can use things we can control (e.g. NPCs, the companion on the Island, a chatbot…) to achieve (partly) the same effect. Motivate your answer.

Thorsten Niemeyer shares his own experience with Witcher 3 and how NPCs motivated him through CD5.

“Appreciation from an NPC, you companion can definitely motivate you, and I think the more it is individualised the better.
So like in video games where you grow to like persons, prefer them over others, do things for them rather than others (Witcher 3 with all the different Relationships comes to my mind, where I for sure had some kind of social feelings for the characters, especially regarding how my interactions affected the relationship)
Another thing that I thought of was a bot that shows you around a game, platform etc. that shows you how to do things, drive actions, how to communicate with others. And there with the right kind of dialogue it could definitely invoke some CD5.
“Hey adventure let me show you around. Here you can chat with me, ah nice. If you post something others can like it. Here see you already got a like from me.”, even though knowing the first like is from a bot would at least I have the feeling do its part to motivate the user.”

Lucian Katzbach goes into detail about what would be necessary in order to have a NPC offer motivation through Core Drive 5.

“Yes, I think it’s possible. But hard to achieve since it must be vivid. The npc needs to have weaknesses or moods etc. But they need additionally enough CD7 but still needs to be in context. All this makes it hard. One example might be the app Replika.”

Colin Hahn is brainstorming for automated coaching tools.

“I’ll say yes. The scenario I’m thinking about is automated coaching tools. I’ve personally found that messages from those bots can tap into that social experience. From a motivation perspective, I’ve felt like that technique works better when:
– The bot has a “personality” – that creates some CD3 and CD7 which makes me interested in what the bot will say, instead of just expecting a rote explanation
– The bot customizes the messages for me – there’s probably a combination of CD4 Alfred Effect, CD3, and CD 7 involved when the bot asks, e.g., why I care about the goal and then uses that language in future reminders
– The bot connects me with other users; I’ve seen some bots use CD5 social anchoring to say “85% of your peers did ABC, you should too!””

Join the Discussion!

Do you want to join a community of learners and bring your knowledge of Human-Focused Design to the next level?
Don’t hesitate to try out Octalysis Prime for free!

Monday’s Mini – Can We Feel Related to NPCs? 1/2

In our exclusive Slack community for Premium Primers, we offer the weekly Monday’s Mini Challenge.
The best way to learn is by putting your knowledge into practice. We created the Monday’s Mini Challenges to offer our Primers the chance to do this.

Monday's Mini. One topic. Three questions. Many high-quality answers from our Primers. Click To Tweet

Oftentimes when we think about Core Drive 5, we think about Social Influence, Relatedness, Social Pressure, Envy. We think about what we do based on what other people do, think, or say, about collaboration and competition. With humans.

But what about NPCs? What about animals? What about people that only exist in books, stories, movies?
This week we will explore a larger extent of Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness.

Question 2 – “Do you think NPCs can motivate us through Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness? Explain why you think this can or cannot be while coming to the core of what you feel CD5 represents.”

Manas Mallik (Product Manager) goes to the core of CD5: Social Influence & Relatedness.

“I think NPCs can motivate us through CD5. That it’s a bot doesn’t matter as long as it is designed well. Deep underneath humans want to be appreciated, feel wanted, feel encouraged and a NPC can do that. Rationally thinking we might say that we are not motivated but actually we are. It is true for any advertisements also NPC need to designed intelligently for the right context and Then it can motivate through CD5”

Ren Chang Soo (Experience Designer) uses Animal Crossing to analyze the use of NPCs there, focussing on the possibility of AI in NPCs in games.

“In animal crossing, the NPC Tom Nook can be perceived to play the role of a mentor. You can go to Tom and ask “What should I do?” and Tom would share next steps. Getting answers to the question of “What should I do” sounds like the NPC is motivating us through CD5 (mentorship)
Having said that, upon further investigation, you will realise that Tom Nook is just sharing your next logical “desired actions” in a conversation format. And thus might act more like a guide (instead of mentor), when the player is looking for a new “desired action” to move forward with.
Thus having an option to ask the NPC an open ended question/ advice such as “What should I do?” is a good starting point in embedding CD5. It is also imperative that the NPC’s response to this question needs to be crafted (by the game designer) in a way that the player feels like receiving guidance/ advice from the NPC in further strengthening the presence of CD5
What would be awesome is to have NPC powered by artificial intelligence.

Predrag Stefanović goes into more detail explaining about how NPCs can utilize Core Drive 5.

“Yes, I think NPC could motivate us through CD5.
The NPC could inform us how we stand on the leaderboard and what tasks we need to perform in order to progress further. For example, he might say, “Great, you’re doing well for now. If you complete the task to the end, you’ll overtake John B. on the leaderboard. Also, after we solve a task, the NPC can reveal to us in what way and what strategy was used by John B. to kill the dragon and win the mighty sword. Also, NPC can invite me to help my friend John B. in battle. From the above examples, we can see that NPC can be our ally in correspondence with real players in many ways, utilizing core drive 5.”

Join the Discussion!

Do you want to join a community of learners and bring your knowledge of Human-Focused Design to the next level?
Don’t hesitate to try out Octalysis Prime for free!

Design Ripples: The Daily Quest List on Octalysis Prime

This post is about how a small design decision to help new and Onboarding members created ripples for Endgame players on the Octalysis Prime Island. If you’re unclear on what certain terms are, try going to or referring to the OP Wiki.

And how the 8 Core Drives helped us find a better solution

An endgame user raises a question and provides a possible solution…

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara9 days ago
I’ve been talking with @Frank Parker lately and today that I took a look at the daily quest I had to go and look for the CD information to the map and so on…
taking some time

So I’m back with this suggestion. What do you think? @thechou@erikvanmechelen
@tiago@Leonardo Andrade easily doable?

A design suggestion from an Endgame member

Frank Parker9 days ago
Great suggestion, it would save me from going to the map to get information for potion selection. A CD3 improvement.

Erik van Mechelen

9 days ago
I think it’s a strong suggestion as well, and thank you Frank for the extra note on CD3 there. Also sent to the channel

Dirk proposes a group design thinking exercise

Dirk van Diepen

9 days ago
Thanks for sharing your idea @Iñaki (teacher). For those who want to optimize their EXP gain with potion planning it would indeed save some time to have it listed directly at the quests.

Let’s make a small design exercise out of it to judge whether it is an overall improvement for the Island! So let’s step into the shoes of the OP Development team and first try to answer these questions about why the quests were invented:

  • What is/are the Desired Action(s) the Quests are designed to enhance?
  • What player types are the Quests designed for?

—> Pitch in everybody! <—

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara9 days ago
I think Quests are made for users to come more frequently (every day if possible) and watch videos

There are two DA there. Using something similar to a Magnetic Cap and a Torture Break.You have your coins reward, which is not much but is an extra you can get, so why not ^^

I have tons of money now but I still desire to get them xDIf we analyze the basic player types, we could see what is each one getting from it.

Socializers: Probably the ones getting less from it, as items still don’t have ways of connecting with other users. They could be interested in getting coins to share them with the philanthropist but… probably not much.

Explorers: As coins are the way to get items, if they want to try them they have to get them. They can also get it with the chest. It will also work as a suggestion for them.

Achievers: They want it all, new users will probably watch that videos and more, as they also want to raise and get EXP for that, but they would at least watch those 3, to get the coins.

Killers: More or less the same as the achievers. I would say it is made for all users, but achievers could be the ones taking the most of it. Anyway, despite being designed in a way, it’s being used in many ways. As there are plenty of videos, new users can use it as a guide of what to start with. Old users usually have all the videos watched, then, they stop for a while and when the quest is back, they start another time watching videos.

It gives a suggestion on what to watch and as we want to get the most of those few videos we have to watch, so we study which CDs are more powerful, therefore we can choose how to obtain the most EXP points or how to potentiate the CDs we want. And then, full of potions, we watch them.I think I that now that I see the end of the videos near me, I even wait for the best day to watch those videos. To get the most of it.I hope I could made my thoughts understandable. My head is a little mess right nowI’d love to hear your thoughts @Dirk (edited) Also sent to the channel

Dirk van Diepen

8 days ago
Before I reply I’d love to hear from other people too. You can also keep it closer to yourself and answer this question:Does the Quest feature make you be more active? If so, what is motivating you?

Frank Parker8 days ago
The Daily Quest is a feature that provides a daily goal of viewing 3 videos of the 500 videos available. The daily quest allows for a sense of progress along the way. This is a CD2 mechanism that supports a sense of achievement and progress. When you have finished watching videos, this sense of progress disappears. @Dirk@Iñaki (teacher) The daily quest mechanism also makes selection easier, eliminating the need to decide that might support insecurity. (edited) 

Frank Parker8 days ago
The daily quest design on the island also supports Explorer types by encouraging a non-linear movement through learning videos. It provides goal-setting for Achievers. (edited) 

Frank Parker8 days ago
Big disappointment when this shows the first time. It suggests complete. Returning daily to check the Quest Log is a testament to the expectation generated by this feature. I am surprised after completing the videos how excited I get to see the Daily Quest renewed with new videos. I noticed how annoyed many users get that when new videos are available and the Daily Quest log is found empty. It appears to be a bug in the application and breaks the transparency of the quest. This moment usually leads to the discovery that the Daily Quest requires videos from more than 2 categories. This breakdown suggests a break in one’s progress. It also suggests the end.

What Octalysis Primers see once they’ve completed all videos.

Peter Hyde5 days ago
I agree with @Frank Parker that it is a disappointment when you finish all videos – there should be a big win state. I don’t think it is a bug though, when I posted on this I was told if there were at least three videos available in at least three different areas of the island areas then it would show again. I am waiting for new videos to test this.

Peter Hyde5 days ago
I don’t see adding core drives to the daily quests would help. To me, you finish the three videos each day to complete the quest and receive the bonus. I never looked at what the core drives were. Less is more on the interface for me, keep it simple.

Dirk van Diepen

5 days ago
Thanks for the analyses Iñaki, Frank and Peter! I will give some feedback on your comments and share my own thoughts (note that I joined the team after this feature was implemented, so I’ll be doing some guesswork here).

The main DA the Quests aim to enhance is indeed to watch more video’s. But this does not rely on a Magnetic Cap or a Torture Break. Because you can still watch as many videos you want. This feature falls under GT#35 Quest List, which mostly relies on CD2.

The coin reward is not that much indeed. But if you are brand new to the island and are only collecting Chou Coins from the chest. The Quests will almost double your daily gold income.

Even if you have more Chou Coins than you could ever spend, as you said @Iñaki (teacher), the reward is still interesting. This is partly because you care about Chou Coins and you simply always want to get more (CD4). But probably more because the moment of receiving the reward empowers the win-state and makes you feel accomplished (CD2) your subconsciousness will ‘think’ something like this: “I did it! And I got a hundred Chou Coins, so it means something that I completed this task! I’m awesome.”

Your short analysis, Iñaki, using Bartle’s four Player Types, seems very focused on the reward, thinking about how the Chou Coins would motivate them. You make a fine addition @Frank Parker about promoting ‘non-linear movement through the island’ (CD7) for Explorers and ‘adding goal-setting’ for Achievers (CD2).

For veteran users it becomes a more practical feature. It notifies you that there are again new video’s to watch (serving as a Feedback Mechanic to trigger DA’s) and can direct you to them quickly.I agree with all of you that, after having finished watching all videos, the Quest log can feel like a disappointment. For the few, but very important, veteran users who reach this state there should be an End-Game feature. Like a repeatable quest that can only be done after ‘proving your worth’ by having all the ‘initiate video-watching quests’ completed. (@thechou lets brainstorm about this some time shall we?)

– – – – –

Besides adding the CD2, CD4 and CD7 motivation already mentioned, I think the biggest aim for the Quest Log is to address an anti-core drive.

As with any platform, one of the biggest challenges is to get Onboarding users invested in the experience.

There are over 500 videos on the island, covering a wide variety of topics, spread over many different sections and sub-topics. That is quite overwhelming, it is easy to feel lost, not knowing where to begin.I’m sure many of you have felt this at some point: “I logged on, opened my chest, enjoyed the peaceful tune, but now I’m not sure what to do. What did I watch last time? Should I start a new series? Let’s check on FaceBook first, because this insecurity, that Frank already mentioned, is making me feel uneasy.”But once you got over that first hurdle and watched one video, it is a lot easier to watch a few more. And that is where the Quest Log comes in.

To judge which of the 500 videos is the ‘best’ choice to watch is hard as they are all presented as equal. The Quest Log highlights 3 of them and temporarily makes them ‘better’ than the others because there is a reward attached and it is pleasant to reach a clear goal. So this helps you to get started, after which you are more likely keep going and all the other features can do their thing to get you really invested.So I would say that the main point is to remove the anti-core drive (Anti-CD2) of uncertainty.

– – – – –

To get back to the original question, for the 95% of users it does not add much (or any) motivation to see the Core Drives listed with the Quest videos. As Yu-Kai often says:“

Any feature that does not motivate a DA is a distraction and should be discarded”

Or as @Peter Hyde correctly put it, “less is more on the interface, keep it simple”.

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara3 days ago
Hey @Dirk, thanks for such a detailed answer. About the Game techniques, I did not mention quest as it is obvious, but I wrote the other 2 GT because, despite not being exactly as they are description the manual. They gave me similar feelings. Maybe because being a Hardcore achiever player.

Magnetic cap: A limit or cap in how many times a user can perform a Desired Action over a certain period

Whenever I do an action I try to get the most of it. If I get time to watch videos but SB is not active, I’ll ask @xiaogou to activate it or wait for him to do it on its own and then start. If I see it active, I take a look at the videos and see if at least 2/3 seem interesting by title. If so I proceed to analyze the CD points, select the potions and now geomons according to my stats and watch the videos.

I could watch more videos , but as I could not get what I wanted from them, I stop doing it.

Similar to what happens with the messages on videos, after the third, with gives no reward, some people stop. I stop after the first, keep the comment on a trello board until I have the SB active and then post one or many.Torture Break: A sudden pause to the Desired Actions for a set duration of time in order to pace the user experience and create more desire to moving forward.

The torture break I though because of the pause, each day doing something instead of watching all the videos in a row as i did when I first started in the island. I entered the core and went out without clouds xD. I almost closed my eyes and could see @thechou face xD. too many hours


I tend to see the GT as a base of what can be applied and not something rigid, but I lacked on explanations back there. I hope my though is more understandable now. Maybe adding the feature as a buyable option or a power could be an idea, this way just who wants it would have it.or maybe seeing the information when you put your mouse on top of it, so it does not works as a distractions for users who do not want it. I see is really complicated to design for all player types at the same time. If I find it hard with 25-30, you having thousands…

Ulric Kurashige3 days ago
@Dirk The quest system is a pain.

  1. First I open the quests.
  2. I would have to write down the quests.
  3. Then open the map to find the videos.
  4. Write down the CDs to see how I can optimize my progress
  5. After finding the video I would then need to go to get the potions I need.
  6. Activate the appropriate Geomons.
  7. Go back to the quests and watch them.

At first, the quests were an anti-core drive to others and I, who are not so motivated. The reward to effort level is too high to make effective use of the reward.

The demotivator was the large for the number of steps to make it useful. I was lucky to be paired with @Iñaki (teacher) as a SB added a strong CD 5 and CD 1 Social/Adventure group. if I could cut out steps 2, 3, and 4 (which is grunt work to get to CD3) it would be a great help. I feel adding this feature would inspire others with CD 3 and are of the same player type like Iñaki and I.@Dirk

By the way CD7 random quest without a theme does not inspire me at all. There is usually a purpose for the quest (CD1). Random quests means I have no control of what I undertake. In most games there is a quest list. You want to take the one(s) that further your cause CD1 and CD 3 then at the end of the quest you receive either a random reward CD 7 or a meaningful reward CD 2 and CD 4. (edited) 

Time for the Chief Mentor to offer thoughts

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
Love the discussion. First thing @Peter Hyde, I believe the system will soon update to – as long as you have one video unwatched, it will show on the Daily Quest. Watching that last video will immediately reward you with the completion bonus. Treat it as a small bonus for finishing ALL the videos, which is definitely no easy feat in any standard.

I’ll have to investigate if we are already developing upgraded communication to showcase the “no more videos” win-state, which should truly feel exciting. This is a classic “anti-climatically win state” and it is there because I did not imagine the scenario where people have ALL the videos watched (some might be in autopilot mode in the background but I’m fine with that as long as they are truly watching many and benefiting/learning from those). I think a good design here would be the first time someone reaches this state, there will be a special treasure box that has something very rare – I have an idea but gonna keep it mysterious for now 😉

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
And you guys are mostly right. When the feature came out, it was for onboarding and early scaffolding users. To be honest it’s funny because we had many blue users who thought they watched all the videos but they just didn’t know they could go to more places on the Island.

So1) this told people “hey you still have unwatched stuff!”

2) reduce decision paralysis (or insecurity being the vocab here?) It worked pretty well, but the funny thing is then people felt disappointed after doing the “work” of finishing the quests, they didn’t get a reward. What?! They watched all these videos and got more educated for nothing?! So that’s where the chest came to play. Then a new interesting problem in behavior happened (OP is such an interesting testing ground on human motivation!). Because it offered coins, people felt like they HAD TO watch those three videos and got pissed that we are forcing them to watch things they didn’t care about (btw, if you see the comments many people were glad they found stuff they never thought to watch too). So then, we added the ability to refresh the list with some coins so you are able to see what you like. (edited) Also sent to the channel

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
Finally, there came a new “breed” of players who really strive to grow into the EXP system and are optimizing for everything. These are our Silver+ Members haha. These are the people who MUST use potions, Success Buddy Bonus, and now Geomon bonus on every video watched, or else they feel like they are losing something (btw, orbs were introduced to make people feel the quantity of videos is not the bottleneck of your exp journey – warning: we may soon cap each video to only be rewatched with exp once a week to retain educational value).

This type of hardcore endgame playing causes someone like @xiaogou who is one of the most internally and intrinsically inspired learner to feel that it was not “useful” to watch the Daily Quest Videos because there are just too many steps that need to be done to find out what EXP is in each video before doing the potion/geomon run. As a result, the “labor” to get those things done was not worth the “reward” and the request is to reduce the labor by just having all the CD points there so they can go straight to doing the potion/geomon combos (which by itself takes time and effort). Isn’t it fascinating how a small simple tool made for beginners to prevent them from being too lost created this entire saga of ripples? That’s what I love about OP and why it exists so we can all learn things that isn’t anywhere else yet 🙂

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
Finally, to answer your initial request @Iñaki (teacher) . What we’ll do is that when you mouse over the Daily Quest items, you will see the values for the 8 Core Drives.

@Leonardo Andrade@tiago

Frank Parker2 days ago
Yes! I like the concluding compromise. This was a great design exercise. Thanks @Dirk

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara1 day ago
I’m happy to read this, and thank you all for the comments and the insightful discussion. I love talking about those things, and it helps a lot to the learning process as was shown by @Howie Ju‘s pyramid the other day

Yu-kai Chou

8 hours ago
Hey @erikvanmechelen Lets have the highlights of this conversation shared in the newsletter, maybe even a blogpost.

My pleasure! – Erik

Badges in Gameful Design: How users perceive them and how are they motivational

This is a guest post by Gustavo Tondello, Gamification Research and Consultant, who is creating a new offer a new type of service for gamification professionals. He will publish weekly summaries of research articles (or even some original articles of his when time allows) in a format that intends to help professionals quickly understand and apply the takeaways from the research on their work.

UPDATE on April 24, 2020: After advertising this idea for a few months, I did not find enough people interested in the Patreon content. So, new Patreon subscriptions are not available anymore. But enjoy this free sample, which is still available above for upload.

A common design element

Badges are the most used element in educational gameful design and the third most used element in gamification in general. They have been listed by many different gamification researchers and experts as one of the basic gameful design elements. But do you know exactly what role do badges perform on a gameful application? How do users perceive them and interact with them—do you know that there are at least nine different ways? How do badges motivate users to engage with the gameful system?

This article summarizes the latest research on how badges are perceived by users, what kind of users prefer to use them, and how do they motivate users of gameful systems. Finally, we give design guidelines to make the most effective use of badges in gameful design.

In short:

  1. Badges are often seen as a form of incentive or reward;
  2. Badges are also frequently seen as a means for goal setting and a measure of accomplishment;
  3. Users with social tendencies may enjoy utilizing badges as a means for social interaction;
  4. Badges can be useful as a form of positive feedback and encouragement;
  5. But badges can get in the way if users are already motivated to engage with the task or if they do not perceive any real value in the badges.

Do you want to know more details and the design guidelines to learn how to design badges to fulfill all these roles in your system? Keep reading below to download a free copy of the full article.

Note on Patreon Content

This article is a free sample of the kind of content I am publishing as a Patreon content creator. Please download the file below to read the full free article. Badges-in-Gameful-DesignDownload

As a subscriber, you will have access to weekly articles like this, summarizing a topic from gamification research in an easy and practical format, with guidelines on how to apply it to your practice. Have you ever felt that it would be great to keep up with the latest gamification/UX research, but there is never enough time? Now you can do it!

If this sounds interesting, please check Gameful Bits on Patreon and subscribe now!

Gustavo Tondello, Gamification Research and Consultant