How Zamzee uses Gamification to make Running Around Epic

Offline Gamification in Action

A while ago, I covered the Playpump, which is a good example of how a physical product can use Gamification to create social good (and save millions of lives).
Equally important in the developed world, is getting kids and adult alike to exercise more. Zamzee is a physical device that tracks how people move around, and hence complete “Quests” based on their activity level.
 I’ve had the pleasure of talking to the Zamzee team about what they do, so I’ll let them explain why they are great at making running around fun and addicting! Also, the Zamzee team has generously offerred to give a 25% discount to my blog viewers, so consider going to now and input this discount code: LUVZZ2012.

1. What is Zamzee?

Zamzee is a game that gets kids moving. Zamzee uses an activity monitor and website to make movement fun and rewarding.
Zamzee Gamification

2. What was the motivation behind creating Zamzee?

The purpose of Zamzee is to make moving fun so that more kids enjoy being active. Today over 1/3 of Americans are overweight and/or obese. Research and real life, practical experience tells us that physical activity declines around ages 9 to 15, right when kids are forming lifelong habits. That’s why Zamzee is targeting this age-group with a product designed for kids (with their help, too!) that makes physical activity more fun. 
HopeLab Foundation (with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) recently completed a 6 month scientific research study on Zamzee, showing thatZamzee increases physical activity by almost 60% and reduces key biological risk factors for diseases associated with obesity. Here’s more details:

3. How does Zamzee motivate kids to be more active?

By making physical activity fun and rewarding. We use rewards to bring kids into the fold of Zamzee, to capture their attention and make them excited about using Zamzee. This is great to “get the kids off the couch,” so to speak. Once kids start using Zamzee, we make sure that rewards don’t become the sole focus of the Zamzee experience by emphasizing gamification and fun. Lots of fun! This fosters kids’ intrinsic motivation to be more active, so that physical activity becomes a habit instead of a chore. 
Our approach is deeply grounded in academic research on motivation and a long research and iterative process developing the Zamzee product itself.

Zamzee Gamification Quest


4. Why does using a website make kids want to move around more in real life?

Kids these days are used to being plugged in and online. We meet kids where they already are – at their computers – and incorporate components of online gaming – like rewards, badges, levels, etc – with which they are familiar and enjoy. But we do not make the website the sole focus of the product experience. Every component of the website, from your activity graph, to challenges, to rewards is driven by your offline actions (Eg, how much you move around). In order to unlock the good stuff, like passing levels on the website, earning rewards, or taking Challenges, kids need to unplug from their computer and move.
Zamzee Quest Example

5. What kind of rewards do kids get (tangible or non-tangible) when they are very active?

Our rewards catalogue has many tangible rewards that kids can earn, from small things like plush toys to large things like xbox consoles to virtual things like apps and gift cards or charitable donations and virtual goods for their avatars. All the rewards are kid-friendly. 
In an non-tangible sense, what I think you are asking is what do kids like about Zamzee. We have a testimonials page where kids gave us their verbatim feedback. See to hear it from the mouths of babes, as the saying goes.

6. Do kids compare their own scores with others?

Yes. You can make friends on Zamzee, which essentially means giving you the ability to more quickly see your friends activity graphs, levels ranking and Whamz. Many kids cite competing with their siblings and friends as a favorite part of Zamzee.
Zamzee Leaderboard 

7. Is Zamzee suitable for adults too?

Yes. Actually over 20% of our users are adults.

8. What is Zamzee’s goals for the next 5 years?

To get more and more kids moving and having fun while they’re at it!

Gamification Analysis of Zamzee with Octalysis

Analyzing Zamzee with Octalysis, my Gamification Framework, we see that Zamzee has a Gamification Score of 247, while being completely focusing on White Hat Gamification.

Zamzee Gamification Octalysis

Gamification Suggestions for Zamzee

Assume Zamzee wants to continue focusing on White Hat Gamification, there are 2 improvements they could implement.

1) Group Quests: Zamzee could create quests that could only be complete if 2 or more friends stay active TOGETHER. This will allow Zamzee to be a lot more social and fun. Zamzee could even introduce Mentorship, where if a person runs around with someone that is much higher leveled, they would level up faster too.

2) Collection Sets: Zamzee could create rewards in collection sets. If kids redeemed their points for one reward in a collection set, they would automatically want to complete the set (by running more, of course).

Of course, there’s a lot more Zamzee could be doing to add more game mechanics into their product to make it more fun and engaging. But so far they have their exciting product road map that they told me is topic SECRET, and that they would have to kill me if they told me. I guess I prefer to live and see it happen 🙂

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