User Types in Gamification – Part 2: Players and Balance

User Types Intrinsic User Types in Gamification 8211 Part 2 Players and Balance
Andrzej Marczewski

Andrzej Marczewski

Gamification Consultant with Motivait. I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Vaught says:

    I realized a bit belatedly that my previous response did not adequately express what I was trying to say.

    Let’s use the old standby of airline rewards for an example.

    One might say that people are motivated by the points, or the extra miles, being the first in line, all of which are extrinsic rewards given out by the airline for following a set behavior path. However, that is not exactly an accurate depiction of what is happening.

    The motivation for these things has nothing to do with the points, or the line, or the miles. The motivators are deeper than that, and simpler. Comfort, social standing, economics, the desire to explore, etc. Each of these things has an associate intrinsic reward. When you are comfortable, you feel better physically. When you are respected or admired, it feels good and boosts your self-esteem/ego. When you save money, you are able to do more with what you have, including meeting both your needs and your wants, which makes you feel more successful along with whatever perks come from where you choose to spend your money.

    There is no such thing as an extrinsic motivation. In gamification, our goal should be to first off understand those intrinsic motivations, and then to help our clients meet those underlying needs in a way that is beneficial to the client and their customer. The extrinsic rewards are just fluff that hide the real meaty goodness. What’s worse is that they tend to desensitize people to the intrinsic rewards.

    • Again, not disagreeing with any of that. This classification still does nothing to undermine that.

    • Approve.

      Andrzej Marczewski
      Sent from my mobile device

    • The use of the word motivation is a convenience here. Of course, money is not a direct motivator it is a means to achieve a more comfortable life or a higher status. But not many people understand that. This is meant to try and simplify the process of understanding people in a Gamified system. Those people who just want to win by any means possible. Those who collect points with no real interest in the meaning behind them. They exist and need to be handled.

  2. Avatar Richard Vaught says:

    I think that while these classifications in general are good, but I disagree (and always have to an extent) with the classification of rewards as intrinsic and extrinsic when what you are really talking about is whether the motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. A reward should always be intrinsic to an action, that is how we maintain continuity within a system. When extrinsic rewards are applied, or rewards that forced from an external source, it is always disruptive because it either masks or disrupts the intrinsic reward.

    Instead of focusing on a reward first approach, think from a motivator first perspective. All motivation is intrinsic, even when affected by outside influences. For example, if someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to do something that it is against your nature, it is not the gun making you do it, it is the fear of death, which is intrinsic.

    Even when looking at extrinsic rewards, you should be asking what the intrinsic reward for acquiring them is. There is always a reward that is purely internal that is being fulfilled. These rewards are usually very low level. For example, the networker and socialize are both fulfilling the same underlying needs met by interpersonal relationships, and getting the same intrinsic rewards. If anything, the biggest difference between the two is that the networker has been desensitized to intrinsic rewards.

    If you want to get deep into profiling people, you should be looking at young children, not adults. They tend to have less deeply ingrained learned behaviors and demonstrate more raw personality. Their motivation is also more readily transparent, and most often in its simplest form. Even though those of us involved in gamification are primarily dealing with adults, most people never outgrow their innate childhood tendencies.

    All of this is not to say that anything you have posted is wrong. Just that focusing on or catering to the extrinsic rewards has longterm negative consequences. Essentially, you are positively reinforcing extreme selfish behaviors that intentionally abuse an otherwise healthy system, whether it be by creating a fraudulent level of +1’s/likes/social status, abusing interpersonal relationships, or taking money.

    • I don’t disagree with any of that and I have writing about motivation and the negative impact of rewards in great detail in other posts. This classification is more to help people move away from focusing on Bartles player types and start looking at what really happens in non game situations.

    • Also this is looking at what motivates certain types as well, concentrating on autonomy, mastery, purpose, relatedness Eric. The second part is how to cater for those who are motivated by extrinsics. They both exist and they both have to be considered – even if the extrinsic reward is just there to help with getting people onboard and is eased off as the user gets more intrinsically motivated by the system.
      I would never advocate a system that just relied on points and badges as a way of “motivating” people. It will never work for any length of time.
      Andrzej Marczewski
      Sent from my mobile device

  3. I like the distinction between player types by their intrinsic/extrinsic motivation. Great post, Andrzej.

    We know that it could be dangerous to provide extrinsic rewards to someone who is already intrinsic motivated. So, now it would be interesting to see if there are particular extrinsic rewards that fit to the adequate intrinsic motivated player types. And if yes, then what if we avoid exactly these extrinisic rewards but could try to use these extrinsic rewards that match rather with the less developed intrinsic player types of the player.

    This way we would avoid to destroy the intrinsic motivation of the most distinctive player type and, at the same time, enhance motivation for activities where the player is less motivated.

    What do you think?

    • Thanks @romrack:disqus That is an intersting idea. I was playing with the idea of what may be usable to motivate these users, something like the image here. I struggle with status though, i feel it has both intrinsic and extrinsic features. My achiever would like status, but only as a way to measure themselves. The Self Seeker would use status as a way of showing off.

  1. February 12, 2013

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