What is Gamification

Gamification Framework Octalysis

If you want to make Gamification actionable, Check out my Complete Gamification Framework called Octalysis.

What is Gamification?

What is Gamification? This may be an unfamiliar word for many of you. As a leading author and pioneer of the industry (since 2003), I’m here to help you grasp the promise of gamification and clear up some misconceptions in the industry.

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

Most systems are “function-focused” designed to get the job done quickly. This is like a factory that assumes that the workers within WILL do their jobs. However, Human-Focused Design remembers that people in the system have feelings, insecurities, and reasons why they want or do not want to do things, and therefore optimizes for their feelings, motivations, and engagement.

The reason we call it gamification is because the gaming industry was the first to master human-focused design. Games have no other purpose than to please the human inside. There are “objectives” in the games, such as killing the dragon or saving the princess, but those are all excuses to simply keep the player happily entertained inside. Since games have spent decades learning how to master motivation and engagement, we are now learning from games, and that is why we call it Gamification.

Games have the amazing ability to keep people engaged for a long time, build relationships and trust between people, and develop their creative potentials.

Unfortunately, many games these days are simply focused on escapism – wasting your life away on something that doesn’t improve your own life nor the life of others.

Imagine if there is a truly addicting game, where the more time you spend on it, the more productive you would be. You would be playing all day, enjoying it, and your career would be growing, you would be making more income, having better relationships with your family, creating value for your community, and solving the hardest problems in the world.

That is the goal I strive for and the potential I see that Gamification could fulfill.

What is Gamification in relationship to the Gaming Industry?

Many people think Gamification is a branch of gaming. Upon hearing the term, some people respond with, “Oh I don’t play games.”

That’s a complete misconception on what is gamification all about.

So what is Gamification really? Gamification does not involve games. It is simply absorbing the fun elements in a game (what we call Game Mechanics or Game Design Techniques) into real-world applications. When you see the progress bar on LinkedIn, or when you Tumblr listing out a Leaderboard on the best content, do you think, “Oh I don’t play games. This is not for me.”? Of course not! Continue reading What is Gamification

The Octalysis Framework for Gamification & Behavioral Design

This post is a high-level introduction to Octalysis, the Gamification Framework I created after more than 17 years of Gamification research and and Behavioral Design study. Within a year of publication, Octalysis was organically translated into 16 languages and became required literature in Gamification instruction worldwide.

What is Gamification?

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

Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and engaging elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities. 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 for human motivation in a system, as opposed to pure efficiency.

The challenges with Function-Focused Design

Continue reading The Octalysis Framework for Gamification & Behavioral Design

Five Examples of Gamified Crowdsourcing To Learn From

Image showing how crowdsourcing is powerful when combined with gamification

Crowdsourcing is a method of actionable community engagement that harnesses the collective wisdom, contributions, and capabilities of large numbers of people (i.e. the “crowd” in crowdsourcing). Crowdsourcing has been used to solicit, improve, and address complex virtual and real-world challenges. Some of these applications are in the areas of:

  • Innovation and creativity
  • Building accurate and vast knowledge
  • Solving complex multi-layered problems
  • Achieving complicated feats within a short span of time

Crowdsourcing utilizes several core behavioral drives that compel users to collectively work together to solve problems (sometimes by breaking them into tedious, and manageable tasks). Wikipedia is one example of a crowdsource information platform that utilizes gamification principles to entice users to curate and publish regular content while holding the community (and its content) responsible for accuracy and quality.

While different crowdsourcing application utilize a wide-range of gamification principles at varying degrees (and with differing success), the decision to implement gamification mechanics depends on the quality of experience the project seeks to offer based on the understanding of their users’ drives and motivations.

In some cases, people may be naturally inspired to contribute their time and efforts towards a particular cause (e.g. Wikipedia). In other instances, it may be beneficial to enhance the experience of the crowdsourced endeavor by making it more immersive and compelling through the integration of key game mechanics.

Here are several examples (in no particular order) which highlight the achievement of large scale or complex feats through the integration of gamification and crowdsourcing.

Continue reading Five Examples of Gamified Crowdsourcing To Learn From

Mini Case Study of FOREST

Click on the image–redirecting to LinkedIn for 10 slides

Another mini-case study, FOREST.

At its core is a gamified timer to decrease distraction from your mobile phone. In 2015-2016 this simple concept of “Don’t use this device or your plant will die!” was voted Google Best App of the Year. In 2018 it was nominated for Best Social Impact App and 2018 it was Google Play Editors’ Choice for Top Productivity App.

It has over 25 million downloads and over 2 million satisfied paying users. It is also responsible for planting over 600,000 real trees on Earth by their users (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling) How does such a simple concept have such success? How do you feel about this short term engagement?

Will it keep you hooked in the long term? Would you pay for it?

Finalists and Winner of the Octalysis Prime Item Design Challenge, February 2020

Iñaki’s presentation of Octalysis Prime’s Game Loop

The Item Design Challenge, 2020

It was time to add new items to the Octalysis Prime store to make the gameplay better for new and endgame users alike. So, what did our members come up with in our latest Octalysis Prime Design Challenge?

This was another great group of Octalysis Prime Design Challenge submissions making this a difficult decision. Always a pleasure when your quality gives us the pain of picking.

Based on their thoughtful analysis utilizing Human-Focused Design and aligning that to the business goals of Octalysis Prime, here are the submissions that stood out:

Winner – Iñaki
Finalists: Sergio and Olivier

Winner: Iñaki

Iñaki created the most items which we could potentially see using on the Island, and we will continue to work with him to see which might be implemented from his Alchemy Set, Hunter’s Mark, Magic Scroll, and Spirits’ Stones. Great work showing how the new items fit into the game loops on the Island.

Here is Iñaki’s presentation.

The Alchemy Set
Game Loop WITH Iñaki’s new items included

Finalist: Sergio

Sergio offered Octalysians, a character-based layer for encounters, new information, and boosters to current gameplay, with possibility to add new kinds of gameplay in the future with new characters.

Here is Sergio’s presentation.

Sergio’s example of interaction with the Shaman

Finalist: Olivier

With Olivier’s Spill Filter, Wagering, and Geomon Stroll, there would be knew ways to play the game in a non-linear way. Great pre-work analysis of the Octalysis Prime member hypothesis.

Here is Olivier’s presentation.

Discussion of Wagering on Quizzes

Make sure to join in the fun and learning on Octalysis Prime!

China Social Credity System, Part 1 of 3

In this series, Yu-kai analyzes the social credit system coming soon in China from the perspective of Octalysis design.

Today, we’re gonna talk about a fairly well known controversial global issue, which is China’s social credit system. So, for those who don’t know, China wants to have what some people call the biggest gamification experiment or implementation in history. They want to turn ‘being a good citizen’ into a game. In actuality, it’s kind of like a financial credit score system.

The Chinese government is trying to measure how good of a Chinese citizen you are. Are you patriotic? Are you paying your loans? This has been hugely controversial because the whole world sees that it’s like ‘Wow, that’s Orwellian.” 

One of the examples people like to compare this to is a Black Mirror episode where everything in life is also measured by your social score where people rate you, your rating is too low, you can get locked out of renting a car or getting a mortgage. 

And in this Black Mirror episode, the dystopian scenario crashes down upon this lady who is so obsessed with getting a high score that she kept doing things to promote it, but ended up losing out. 

China system, right, it’s very interesting because it doesn’t just measure your financial credit score it breaks your credit score in five categories. Kind of like the attribute webchart we talked about in gameful education.

Background Characteristics

The first is your background characteristics. Who you are. The school you came out of. So that’s just your identity, right, that will give you a score. 

Preferences and Tendencies

Next, you have your preferences and tendencies. So, what kind of hobbies do you like? Do you like hobbies that support the Chinese government? If you buy a lot of products from overseas, your score actually lowers. So, that’s it. 

Financial Reliability

The ability to pay back your debt, and how trustworthy and reliable you are, so it’s basically or literally how well you can pay on time.

Interpersonal Connections

And then there are your personal connections. So this is actually probably the most controversial one, because, basically, is your friends and family have a low score, then you will have a lower score too. So you really have two options. If you notice, people are doing things that are not patriotic and they’re low, and low scores, then you have two options. Number one is to disassociate yourself. You know, don’t interact with them at all because if you interact with them you’re gonna decrease. Or, you got to convince them to be a good citizen again, don’t badmouth these events. Right. And so, that becomes a very stressful time where people would perhaps trust each other less because they don’t want other people to know that internally they’re feeling, disgruntled about something but they can’t let anyone else know. 

Credit History

And then finally, the last point is your credit history. Normal financial credit history, and then all these five characteristics combined into one total score. And this score, China, they deploy the social throughout China in 2020, but I think I saw reports delay they wanted to late 2021, but they have experimented and have ongoing experiments in many different places now so this is actually real implementation. 

Implementation and Results

So far, 23 million people have been discredited or barred from traveling. I think about around 17 million couldn’t buy plane tickets anymore and 5 or 6 million people are unable to take the train. And so the idea is that hey if you are not worthy, right, you don’t have the credit. You’re in the country, then you shouldn’t be traveling go to damage control, quarantine you almost. 

And one very interesting story is that there is a Chinese actress barred from boarding an airplane. She walked to the airport computer screen with checkout and showed that she had a low score because she was guilty of defaming her boyfriend’s ex-lover. And she did not apologize. So, they didn’t let her on the plane because she had a bad citizen behavior and she couldn’t get on the plane. And then, once she apologized to her boyfriend’s ex-lover, that ban was lifted and then she could go take planes after that. 

So, again, some people think it’s crazy and ridiculous how our government would prevent you from using, transportation, based on what you say about someone else, you might think “that feels like a complete lack of freedom and China is obviously trying to monitor more people.”

So, I think as of now, there are over 200 million video cameras on the streets and alleys of China, and China’s goal for this year is actually have over 626 million cameras deployed throughout 2020. In comparison, there are only about 330 million people in the US, so they literally want twice the amount of Americans in cameras in China, and there are about 1.4 billion people in China, pretty generous and still only about one camera for every two citizens so it’s not so bad, right. They didn’t think that every Chinese citizen needs one camera, a very controversial thing that’s going on. 

What if you have a good score?

And, oh, and of course, if you do well if you have a high credit score, then you might get rewarded with discounts benefits special opportunities and whatnot. And so, that’s the part that is controversial I want to talk about that and then we’ll talk about how the Chinese people. And surprisingly actually the Chinese people really like it. And then we’ll move into the actual design itself. Is it a good or bad design?

Does Fear of Missing Out Work?

I saw this on LinkedIn and thought I’d respond…it turned into a short blog post.

Original question posted on LinkedIn

My Response: It’s Delicate

Delicate because you might not want to be the one whom the customer sees as wasting his or her time. 

Doing it poorly: I once clicked through a time-limited conversion (free) to find myself watching a prerecorded webinar that reran every 20 minutes. That felt lazy and I don’t even remember who offered it because they’ve been erased from my memory. 

Doing it well: Some moments are rare (organizing certain people to be at an event all at the same time to share knowledge), and letting people know this event is a once in a lifetime occurrence (even though many events are once in a lifetime) isn’t untruthful, and attending said event might be just what that attendee needs right now. I don’t take an ethical position on this necessarily, but I do personally feel it is weak to shall we say manufacture scarcity, and when I see it I personally ding the person/company reputationally in my personal scoring system.

Don’t Resort to FOMO Tactics

In other words, there are tradeoffs to using FOMO tactics. Maybe you are happy to get quick conversions because you believe SO much in your product that the reputational ding people like me will give you upfront can be recouped (or you’ve charged enough for your product/service/event that you don’t care).

If you are comfortable with this tradeoff, then FOMO tactics do work. How much you walk the line reputationally is your own call.

Is there another way?

Of course, there is! One way is to consider the full range of psychological drives, including the 8 Core Drives.

Taking a human-focused design approach will let you win in the long run, which, if you have something valuable to share with the world, is where you want to live.