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5 Examples of Gamification Done Right

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5 Examples of The Gamification Done Right in Non-gaming Environments

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Whether it’s in a working or a personal environment, we have all been subjected to the process of gamification. Whilst many of us might not know what gamification means, the reality is that gamification practices have been around for decades, we just didn’t know what to call it.

So what is gamification? In the words of Robson et al, 2014, it is “the application of lessons from the gaming domain in order to change stakeholder behaviours and outcomes in non-gaming situations.

And who are these so-called stakeholders? They are you and me, be it as an employee, a customer or as a member of the general public.

The essence of gamification is the quest of organisations to get a reaction from us, to engage, interact, control and draw emotion through the implementation of gaming principles in non-gaming scenarios.

Whether we know it or not, our participation in every gamified environment is linked to our own desire to succeed; we volunteer to be a part of the process; we do it for pleasure and, more often than not, for some form of reward. This is what the experts call ‘intrinsic motivation’, an emotion that is  motivated by our longing to experiment to become more competent at a task, our desire to customise it, to master it, gain feedback from others, beat the competition and ultimately achieve a goal.

Gamification has largely been driven by the growth of the gaming industry, supported by social media, mobile and web-based technology. And whilst technology leads gamification to thrive in a virtual environment, it is very prevalent in physical situations too.

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Here are 5 great examples of brands that have successfully implemented gamification in non-gaming settings:

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1. Nike+

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As fitness trends continue to thrive, so does our use of technology to help us achieve our goals. In 2006, Nike developed Nike+, an app that ‘tracks your runs and helps you reach your goals’. The idea is that you can compete with friends and other Nike+ users to try and run the furthest distance. Whilst the core purpose was to get people active and running, through using elements of gamification, Nike has also been able to secure a controlling portion of the running shoe market.

As well as each user being able to track their own personal achievements and progress, which in many instances is reward enough, the app also features leaderboards and, if you are one of the top runners, your profile is displayed on the leaderboard for bragging rights and you can also publish your information to your social media channels for all to see.

In 2007 there were 500,000 Nike+ members. In 2013, there were 11,000,000 Nike+ members and the numbers keep growing. (Source: http://www.gamification.co/2015/08/03/nike-building-community-and-competitive-advantage-with-gamification/)

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2. LinkedIn

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LinkedIn’s purpose is described as “Connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Whilst the core benefit is to help business professionals to network with potential employers and other link-minded individuals, the process of becoming a part of that online community requires users to create an online profile. The site uses a progress bar to show you how far along you are in completing your profile, rating your progress at a level of competent, needs work, or all-star. Getting to 100 per cent takes time and therefore becomes a compelling achievement.

Through the implementation of gamification mechanics, LinkedIn engages with and motivates users to raise the bar in order to gain access to more advanced features, causing him/her to spend more time interacting with the application. (Source: http://gravity4.com/3-reasons-to-incorporate-gamification-into-your-marketing-strategy/)

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3. Khan Academy

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The Khan Academy offers ‘practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalised learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.’

If you ask a child whether they would prefer to ‘work’ or ‘play’, the vast majority would inevitably say ‘play’ (but then adults probably would too!) The Khan Academy aims to combine the two in order to motivate children to develop and learn. Many have said that before using the site they couldn’t imagine themselves ever enjoying or being good at math, but now their world has changed, thanks to some great teaching skills by Khan and a little bit of gamification, including game mechanics such as “skill-growth trees” which enable you to unlock new classes and learn new skills. (Source: http://www.yukaichou.com/gamification-examples/top-10-gamification-examples-human-race/#.VctG2ULtLFs)

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4. America's Army

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America’s Army is a PC action game that was developed by the American Army as a recruitment tool. Built on Unreal Engine 3, AA:PG delivers stunningly realistic environments, lighting effects, animations, and team-based experiences so that players can experience the training, teamwork and values that give American Soldiers ‘Strength Like No Other’.

First released in 2002, this recruitment tool brings the reality of war into a game, so you can check whether you have what it takes to become a soldier or not. The goal is clear: earn the Badges of Honor and become a member of the American Army. After millions of new potential recruits, the success of the game is clear and it is considered the best example of how governments’ can use gamification to promote awareness, loyalty and, in this specific case study, attract new recruits. (Source: http://blog.neosperience.com/4-inspiring-examples-of-gamification-to-enhance-your-customer-experience)

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5. Payoff

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Payoff is a ‘next generation financial services company, designing products that help people pay off their credit cards faster and save money’.

Users start by setting goals and dreams, which helps Payoff.com determine individual motivation. Users then can link their financial accounts to track their saving or debt payoff progress, and keep a close eye on what they’re spending, relying on positive enforcement to take additional steps. You can win badges to help serve as a visual reminder of how far you’ve come in paying off what you owe with the potential to also win cash prizes to keep you motivated.

By applying gamification mechanics in this setting, users are encouraged to help themselves in a positive way, receiving double rewards through both paying off debt (or saving more money) and being driven by gamification to help them achieve their goals faster than they originally might have. (Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/11/payoff-com-raises-2m-gamifies-personal-finance-management/)

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If you want to find out more about gamification, we highly recommend watching Ian McCarthy’s lecture during 2015 Beedie Alumni Reunion.

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