Around this pyramid, is the experience of the game.
More about this pyramid: Robin Hunicke, et al. MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research
The motivational spectrum
With the motivational spectrum, we can know why many workout apps are using gamification: I really want to exercise because it's good for me and I know I should do it. Yet I still won't do it just because of love of the thing itself. I'm in the state of integration, but with a push of gamification, I can jump into the intrinsic motivation category!
Think what elements are in Tic Tac Toe
Tic Tac Toe's a pretty bad game. Incredibly popular for centuries of human history, and yet, a game that is so simplistic, and so easy to draw, that it's not going to hold any adults interested for very long. And again, you can see that from the elements that are there and some of the elements that are missing, the ability to progress and advance in the game and the ability to get feedback from scoring, certainly not necessary, but things that tend to produce more engaging games, than games with out them.
This is really a fun coursera course to study and I truly recommend this course for learning gamificaiton.
The complete course notes is composed of two blog posts:
- Gamification - 1 focuses on the basic knowledge of gamification concepts, game elements and behaviorism.
- Gamification - 2 (to be released) focuses on how to deisgn gamification, more about practical experience.
Gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts.
What they do with Nike Plus was they developed a device, uses a piece of equipment called an Accelerometer, that fits into the sole of your shoe. And it tracks every single step you take when you're running. And so therefore, the device knows how far and how fast you're running and it communicates wirelessly with a Smartphone or your PC, which can aggregate together all of that data. And then what Nike did was build a set of applications around it, that made the experience of running more game-like:
It help to encourage you and to make that whole experience of running feel somehow richer and more rewarding.
An example of behavior change: Fun theory
 Jane McGonigal, Reality is broken[Book], TED talks
 1980, What Makes Things Fun to Learn? — A Study of Intrinsically Motivating Computer Games
 How fun can change people behavior — Fun Theory
 Nicole Lazzaro's 4 keys of fun: poster, white paper
 Marc LeBlanc's 8 kinds of fun
 Robin Hunicke, et al. MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research
 Mozilla open badge framework
 Professor Werbach's book For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business
 Deci, Edward L.; Koestner, Richard; Ryan, Richard M., A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation
 Zichermann, SAPS categorize the extrinsic rewards
PBL: Points, Badges, and Leaderboards
There's just a fundamental attraction to using these elements in gamification and part of that is because they serve a variety of different functions, more so than one might expect.
What can points do in a game?
What can badges do in a game?
Mozilla open badge framework:
What can leaderboards do in a game?
Becareful to use leaderboards: in many cases researchers have found that seeing things in those leaderboard terms, zero sum game, it's all about competition, actually will make people less willing to engage.
Gamification is the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges. This course will teach the mechanisms of gamification, why it has such tremendous potential, and how to use it effectively. This coursera course is taught by Kevin Werbach, Associate Professor of Wharton College in University of Pennsylvania.
Your participants as players
But as illustrated above, reward mechanism like slot machine is addictive and even brings some dangers. Here are three of them:
Danger 1: Potential for abuse / manipulation
There is a danger in going down this path of a behaviorist approach that it tends to make us see everything like a casino owner and maybe that's not necessarily, the right way to approach all business situations.
Danger 2: Hedonic treadmill
It means, once you start focusing on giving people rewards in order to give them pleasure that feedback loop effect (based on the way the dopamine system works in the brain), you'd better keep doing it because if people learn to respond to the reward, then they're only going to respond when the reward is there.
But if rewards are designed in this way, the designer needs to keep putting in more rewards to keep people interested and come up with new rewards. More interesting rewards. More challenging objectives to achieve the rewards and so forth. This could put a significant burden on the gamification designer to keep up.
Danger 3: Overemphasis on status
Status is a very powerful motivator. It's not something tangible but we do lots of things to get status.
But the fact is, We're not all constantly looking for that social approval and looking for people to think that we're cool in every walk of life. We do things for lots of other reasons. We do things for tangible reasons. We do things for altruistic reasons. We do things for social reasons with our friends. There are lots of reasons we do things that status doesn't explain and the behaviorist approach has a tendency in gameification to reduce down to a heavy status focus, which tends to lead to missing of some of the other kinds of benefits that can be delivered from a gamified system.