Gamification as a Strategy

The world loves a good aaS. Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Cloud as a Service. Everything these days seems to be “as a Service”. That means, of course, that Gamification platform providers have started to speak about Gamification as a Service. Now, there is nothing wrong with this, though I do find some juvenile amusement at the acronym of GaaS. For me, it just smacks of making it easy for people to implement gamification really badly!

Hear me out. I have nothing against being able to use gamification in a simple way. You will see Gamification as a Service on this site in the form of Captain Up. I have not implemented it brilliantly, it is there for those who want to see it and can be ignored by those who don’t. It actually goes against some of my core messages about designing gamification in from the start. However, there is something to be said for being able to just paste a line of javascript into a page and have gamification up and running straight away. If nothing else, it gives people the opportunity to get involved.

However, I would much rather see GaaS being used to mean Gamification as a Strategy. For me, that embodies the core philosophy of many gamification designers out there now. The ones who have gone through the past few years of poor implementations and want to see better use of gamification, use that sits at the core of user experience, not on the periphery.

I put a meme out recently that spoke of Classic Gamification and New Gamification. In it, I expressed the idea that Points, Badges, and leaderboards based implementations of gamification sat in a classic category. Like we have with ASP. It is the way we used to do it, in ASP Classic, now we use DotNet. Classic Gamification can be done as a service very easily. However, the New Gamification concepts are much deeper than that and need to be built with more thought and woven into the fabric of the experience. Narrative, Themes, Economy, Personalisation, Feedback, Play and more. They can also, unlike ASP and ASP.NET, work together!

Classic gamification 500x500 Gamification as a Strategy

Strategy, not Service

These all need to be included in your design strategy, not just a gamification strategy. Back when I worked at Capgemini, Maggie Buggie made a single statement that really stuck with me about digital strategy in the enterprise: “If you have a digital strategy that is sperate from your overall strategy, you are doing it wrong!”

I think that this is becoming truer and truer of gamification and user experience design / product design. If you have a gamification strategy that is separate to your overall design strategy, you are doing it wrong!

So, let’s put Gamification as a Service in the past and start cooking on real GaaS – Gamification as a Strategy

Gaas 500x500 Gamification as a Strategy
GaaS: Gamification as a Strategy

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10 thoughts on “Gamification as a Strategy”

    • The service can be included as part of the strategy, but not instead. The strategy starts from day one of the design. The service is part of the technology discovery phase of the project and can be added later. The strategy defines how you use the service to get more from it though. A straight PBL system like captain up can have great quest structure and other new hooks and plugins built, if you work out your strategy up front.


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