If I were to tell you 10 years ago that you'll be able to make a good living playing video games in 2020, you would think that is madness. It would be like a dream.
This is now a reality. Today, gaming has become so relevant that you can make millions as a professional e-sports player; take Kyle Giersdorf, the internet sensation who brought a whopping $3 million prize home after winning the championship in the mobile game Fortnite. Even if you are not good enough to compete professionally but have a TV personality, you can also make a decent living from playing video games as a streamer. An expert streamer can expect to earn up to $5,000 per month depending on their content and the subscribers.
It is clear that games have evolved to become an activity that can earn you more than many traditional jobs. The question is how can businesses profit from this? How can organisations not in the game industry benefit from games?
It is clear that most, if not all of us, love games of some kind, and there is a way to incorporate the entertainment value of games into a company’s products and services. This is known as gamification.
What is Gamification?
Gamification involves the introduction and integration of game mechanics into non-game environments to drive participation and engagement. By applying game design elements into non-game applications, companies can collect and gain valuable insights in consumer behaviour and activity.
What are Game Mechanics?
Game mechanics are the key components of game play. When it is strategically planned and developed, it can make gamified products and services fun and entertaining.
The type of game mechanics used can vary based on the type, activities and objectives of the game. However, the main ones that can be found in most games - also known as the foundation of gamification - include points, levels, missions and leaderboards.
Examples of Businesses Applying Gamification
Very often, gamification is mistaken as the creation of games for businesses. On the contrary, it is a strategy that applies to more than just games. Through gamification, companies can achieve goals such as enhancing employee engagement, marketing efficiency and many more.
It is undeniable that as Singapore’s first digital telco, Circles.Life transformed the local telco industry. With their competitively-priced mobile plans and customer-centric philosophy, Circles.Life was like a breath of fresh air in the industry, making them a popular choice for many Singaporeans. Circles.Life also captured market share by applying gamification. By downloading the Circles.Life app, customers were also automatically included in a reward programme, where they were awarded free data and in-app points every time they referred a friend to Circles.Life. The points are then accumulated in an all-time leaderboard with additional rewards. Loyal customers are also awarded more data the longer they stayed within the Circles.Life ecosystem. This strategic move helped them to vastly increase the sign-up rate through their referral programme.
One of the most prolific global brands, Starbucks implemented various strategies that fuelled their rise to the top of the coffee shop industry. In addition to the regular challenges faced in the industry, they are also constantly contested by competitors trying to take their spot. To ensure that the business continues to thrive, Starbucks has to continually innovate and remain an industry leader.
Gamification is one of the strategies they have adopted to do this. With great devotion to customer loyalty, Starbucks launched the My Starbucks Reward programme. Customers are rewarded for their loyalty with points awarded per purchase. Based on their collected points, they are then categorised at different levels: Welcome, Green and Gold level. Each level provides different perks and rewards, thus, increasing sales and customer loyalty.
Nike, like Starbucks, is one of the most well-known global brands. They would thus also have to innovate to remain as one of the world’s top sports and lifestyle brands.
One of the ways they’ve done this is by implementing gamification in the Nike+ Running fitness app. The app allows runners to easily track their distance, heart rate, caloric burn and many more, and simultaneously provides personalized training programmes that can be adapted to different levels.
Gamification is introduced as a competitive mechanism, where athletes can participate in challenges to earn badges and trophies. Such strategies can (and has) increase user engagement for the app and brand loyalty at the same time.
Business Value of Gamification
At its core, gamification is about increasing business efficacy. It allows businesses to collect consumer behaviour data, giving them a first-hand understanding of what drives interest, loyalty and engagement with customers. Key decision makers can then use these insights to influence future strategies that boost performance and achieve greater excellence.
Gamification is not limited to consumer experience - it is also a strategy widely used to influence and motivate employees. Be it in training, recruitment or other functions, employees can have a clearer picture of their role, responsibilities and how they fit in with the company’s vision when game mechanics are applied in the company’s operations.
Due to its nature and frequency, traditional performance reviews can be mundane and less effective at addressing performance issues or raising performance. Spotify thus gamified this process by rewarding employees with badges when they reach pre-set goals. These are immediately shared company-wide. Each employee knows their own and their colleagues’ real-time performance, which can ignite their competitive spirit. Managers can also easily track employee performance and strategically provide feedback, assistance or opportunities.
Through gamification, Spotify has not only made the process fun and engaging for employees, but has also saved time and improved efficiency across the organisation.
As a global chain, Domino’s Pizza needs to ensure high consistency, high quality pizzas for its customers, but cannot afford to waste too much time on training. To solve this, the organisation created a pizza making simulator that allowed new employees to learn the menu and recipes easily; competitive components like rewards also helped to speed up this process. At the same time, managers can keep track of their progress and make necessary adjustments.
Gamifying the training process not only sped up the onboarding process, but also improved overall performance and customer experience. Through the simulator, employees were able to memorise the menu, recipes and right portion of ingredients to use, resulting in an overall savings in materials and time spent per pizza.
In the digital age, data is king. Businesses that do not fully utilise this valuable resource will suffer in the long run.
Gamification can be a great way to collect data and at the same time, fulfil different business objectives. Although gamification can seem easy to apply, getting the results you want will be tough if you do not understand the fundamentals of game mechanics and what draws engagement.
One of the best ways to learn about Game Mechanics is to learn how to develop a game of your own. Here at Gen Infiniti Academy, we provide tech courses like Data Analytics and Game Development courses. In the Unity Certified Associate game development course, you’ll learn how to create your own game using the Unity game engine. From there, you’ll be able to understand what makes games fun, attractive and engaging, allowing you to apply gamification in your own business strategies. Get started today!
Written by: Jacob Chong & Chloe Thio (Gen Infiniti Academy)