It’s hard to get people engaged with something they don’t want to do. There are a ton of options out there, and most people will choose the pleasant choice every time.
That’s why marketing professionals are so very good at tricking people. When you take something people love – games – and add the most addictive qualities – the gameplay loop – to every day tasks, you get something special.
You get gamification.
Understanding this process means understanding both how and why it works. By the time you’re done, you’ll wonder why everything isn’t gamified.
What is It?
This is a simple concept. All you do is add game mechanics to another task. The end goal is increasing engagement with the chosen task.
Most attempts do this by adding RPG elements that gamers already know. People can gain points, loot, or level up by participating in an activity.
This is a process that’s been used for years, even if you don’t realize it. If you’ve ever earned points to get a free meal, congratulations – you’re already well-versed in this practice.
Why it Works
Gamification works for a few reasons. While there’s a fair bit written about it, there’s no need to make the subject tougher. With a little prodding, anyone can understand the concept.
The biggest reason why this works is because people understand games. Games are a huge part of life. People play them from the time they are born.
When you add game elements to almost anything, the product becomes more engaging. It goes from boring to something worth paying attention to. It is, in short, more fun.
That’s one of the other big reasons why the practice works, by the way. Gamification makes boring things fun. It allows people to engage without realizing they’re doing something that’s normally boring.
This process also works because of the gameplay loop. If you’ve ever played a game like Diablo or World of Warcraft, you know how it works. You do something, you get a reward, and you get more invested.
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This process works the same way free-to-play mobile apps work. Users get a reward, so they invest more in the game. In this case, they invest more by caring more about a product or activity.
These are all simple ideas, but they make a huge difference. Kids and adults alike love games, so trying to gamify boring topics is a great way to get more engagement.
Examples of How to Gamify Activites
Let’s look at chores, for example. No child likes to do chores. They’re terrible – unless you make them fun. That’s the whole point behind Chorewars.
You shake up the normal drudgery of daily life and add in some RPG elements – it’s a surefire way to get kids to work.
The same goes for the classroom. It’s tough to get kids to settle down – until they earn something.
You can even add game mechanics to education. Teachers have been using ClassDojo to help kids behave in class. Do well, and you get rewarded through the game mechanics. Do poorly, and you use points.
Even exercise, the bane of adult life can be improved with game elements. Zombies, Run! adds a story and RPG elements to running, motivation for almost anyone to run faster.
This process works for everyone – not just gamers. If you look at what makes games work, you can see how those elements can be added to other forms of life.
Next time you want to be motivated, look for an app that treats your goal like it’s a game. You might be surprised by how it changes your perspective.
Playing games is the new normal – so get used to games being a part of your daily life. Want to see another example of gamification? Check out the LitRPG Forum!