Reloaded!! Beginner’s Guide to Gamification (3 of 90): The 8 Core Drives of a Game

*New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & the Gamification Framework: Octalysis*

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Yu-kai Chou introduces the 8 Core Drives in Gamification

Before we can explore how to use games to make productive things fun, we must first understand why are games fun.

Games are not fun because they have points, badges and leaderboards, but because they appeal to our Core Drives.

The 8 Core Drives are:

  1. Epic Meaning & Calling
  2. Development & Accomplishment
  3. Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback
  4. Ownership & Possession
  5. Social Influence & Relatedness
  6. Scarcity & Impatience
  7. Curiosity & Unpredictability
  8. Loss & Avoidance



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    42 thoughts on “Reloaded!! Beginner’s Guide to Gamification (3 of 90): The 8 Core Drives of a Game”

    1. Solid looking framework for establishing a needs hierarchy.

      #8 strikes a chord as research shows that the half-life of a new skill is very short if that skill is not used soon after being acquired. While “Use it or lose it” is a common meme, many folks don’t really “accept” it’s truth.

    2. I don’t know why, (maybe it’s just getting late) but after watching this, I’ve got a Schoolhouse Rock song going through my head…. the one for multiples of 3 “3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30″… If I remember correctly, there were football players wearing these numbers on their jerseys as the song progressed. Nice way to get some information into your head.

    3. This video was super informative and helpful! Thank you for breaking down each of these core areas in such a relatable way.

    4. I’m currently reading through your book and I’m using your videos as a recap/review after each chapter. You know, you may want to recommend people do just that in your next edition of “Actionable Gamification”. Feel free to credit me with the idea as well, I’ll take payment in Gold Bullion, thanks!

    5. No WAY… This can’t be true… Again nobody in 2016 does not make comments. HOW,
      ok, anyway, I’ll be the first one!
      This video is the one that made me believe that your efforts in Gamification are reaalay deep, best in the world and rapidly growing (as I wrote you in LinkedIn message).
      To be a bit serious, this “graphicalisation” that you managed to take from the DEEP SECRET WORLD of Computer Games is really something!
      A, as a basic quality engineer with a degree (not only in computer games=) in technical sciences may call this thing A GAMIFICATION STANDART!!!
      This really is a standart!
      Please continue you work/lifestyle/gaming to improve Octalysis concept every day!
      Another important part in quality and business is – sustainable growth and improvement!
      Simply, Upgrade every day man!
      Good long way to go!
      Also hope to be a part of this big 21st century gamification Journey!

    6. Thanks for answer many of these questions Frederik!

      Indeed, the Core Drives are not feature-based, but feeling based. Just having features of simply sharing to friends does not necessarily have CD5, unless people actually FEEL socially connected to others. Human-Focused Design over Function-Focused Design!

    7. Yu-kai thanks for awesome video set, every time I am watching I feel how my gamification understanding goes deeper, however it is only related to theoretical area. It would be nice to have something similar to training apparatus to have a chance trainee your skills with short run.

      1. I’ll be doing something related to that with a kickstarter campaign (a premium subscription membership) to help people go deeper into that 🙂

    8. I’m continuing to work on my gamification project this summer! Please put up more videos!!

    9. IanEdwards2 FrederikAggeRonex  Super cool to hear!
      I agree that over lapses is mainly an occurrence seen as you look at a specific gamified service.
      And that the Octalysis framework is vey great to spot both strengths and weaknesses in your system, however it is relative to the objectives to which the service (product/business goals/ect.) are trying to achieve. Meaning that if a product does not score high in one or more core drives, that does not necessarily make it a weakness. It is only a weakness if the implementation of this/these core drives support the objectives you’re trying to achieve, as if you for example add social features, that for example post everything you do to facebook, to something that tackles a very personal issue, then a lot of people will obviously disengage. On the contrary, in the very same example, using the right techniques can implement some sort of the core drive, that in the right context resonates with the person, for example something like alcohol addiction is to most a personal thing, however joining a group like AA resonates with many people with this problem, while posting “I’m an alcoholic” every day until you stop on facebook, might not get people to even start using the service.

      The example above is actually a bias; implementing social features to a personal issue is generally a bad idea, however implementing some social features in the right context will be effective.
      The point here is then, don’t just add more of a certain core drive because there’s not that much of it, as it can very easily backfire big time.

    10. FrederikAggeRonex IanEdwards2 
      hmm… overlap becomes more specific to a role or product

      (which I believe is the whole point of octalysis)

      I am a teacher so for me these overlaps occur.

        when a student has that ‘Ah ha!’ moment I experience:
      calling, accomplishment, feedback, possesion
         when I develop a reusable lesson:
      creativity, ownership, avoidance, scarcity
         when I make test questions that address deep learning
      (common core standards uses depth of knowledge, target minimum 3)
      social pressure, unpredictability, development, creativity

      thanks for the question!
      Having thought about this now I realize that overlap is the key to a successful application. The octalysis of certain products is meant to show weaknesses in that product. Likewise octalysis can help a person figure out where they need to add motivators.


    11. IanEdwards2  You definitely nailed it!
      Can you also come up with analogies of situations where they overlaps or create biases?

    12. i like the analogies you make for many of the core drives.
      my grandmother told me to learn best one must make their own so…

        donate blood for epic meaning and calling
         study or practice for development and accomplishment
         mess with the directions on a pack of Mac and Cheese due to creativity and feedback
         brand names rely on ownership and possession to drive sales
         go to college if you want a good job – social pressure and envy
         antiques are cool because you can’t get them anymore, that’s scarcity and impatience
         a jack in the box works due to unpredictability and curiosity

         people buy insurance due to loss avoidance 

    13. achintngm FrederikAggeRonex  I’d like to know which 8’th as well.
      However here are the Core drive number 8:
      And here video number 8 from the Beginner’s guide to gamification:
      I hope that was either one you looked for 🙂

    14. donboody69 That’s mostly Avoidance like you described. Scarcity is something you want JUST because it is rare. Like if there is a little trophy in the game that is hard to get but gives you no purpose. After you beat the game, you might go back and get it because it is a “challenge” to get.

    15. FrederikAggeRonex Haha, actually, I sincerely believe that if you finished all 90 Episodes (when I finish them…:-( ) you will be way more advanced than many people out there who call themselves “experts” 😉

    16. “And I am here to turn you from gamification beginner, in to gamification master!”
      So If I get this right: as I’m rewatching these old episodes after the new point system has been embedded on the web side, because I did not jot down the secret words last time, then when I’ve seen all 90 episodes, my title to be at least Master?! 😀

    17. U successfully trigger my curiosity that why u keep changing background and moving…but very structured introduction, thx 🙂

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