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The gamification concept

My wisdom and vision about the core concept of gamification.

2013-05-14, 03:44:13-2014-05-12, 09:23:24

Black gamification #

It's focusing only on ROI, metrics etc. and it's business driven

When I was gamification consultant most of my clients didn't care about their product in a way to satisfy player needs. They just wanted to increase their sales, promote their new product features or just make users do things (in most cases - make them to convert to something: registered user, paying user, inviting user).

Although it's probably the most easy way to do gamification, this type of, let's call it "black magic", can lead the app/product/service/business to more different planes than it should. So when you try to focus a gamification/game designer consultant only on:

  • marketing 
  • loyalty
  • increasing sales
  • retention

you will probably get some trendy gamification strategy with PBLs (points, badges, leaderboards) and a lot of extrinsic mechanics focused on rewards, status and other general incentives. This is not by all means bad... it's just not unique.

That's why when I do black gamification my mindset is focused on the inductive part of the job - trying to figure whatkind of established framework I should consult using in order to keep with the ROI clause in my contract. It's good because it meets the business requirements but it's killing creativity. Gamification can be more than some cheap virtual points, redeem dynamics or invite pyramids. It can be white...

White gamification #

This is what will come when you get a game designer to unleash his powers.

I prefer this type of gamification. It's designed to last. It's constructed with players in mind, not business value. It's not constrained by the system and it's meant to pivot the product to something more playful.

When I have clients that are willing to risk with some unique gamification strategies I tend to focus more on cognitive psychology and pure game design. Often I find games that are similar (tycoons, simulators, strategies, arcade shmups etc.) to the service needing gamification. I strip down the game to it's fundamental layers and extract it's meaning.

That's why I think with white gamification you can get:

  • fun
  • meaningful experiences
  • making players awesome
  • progression

and it's all based on deductive game thinking.

So my plea is to do more white gamification instead of black. Be a good magician and try to convert your client to it - the world needs you  :D

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