Coin Master. Have you played it? I have. It’s currently the top grossing game on mobiles. If you have not played it, it’s a fruit/slot machine. You put virtual money in, spin the reels and possibly win more money. You then use that money to build a series of villages, upgrading parts of one village until the whole thing is completed, then move on to the next one. You can also ruin friendships by attacking peoples villages, knocking their development back and costing them virtual money. It is a phenomenon, with a staggeringly well thought out social media presence and gameplay that is essentially addictive. I don’t say that about games usually, but this is pure addictive, gambling-based button pressing. But it is simple, relaxing and pleasing on the eye – so I play it. There is probably a whole blog peice there to be written actually!
In the last chapter, we looked at goals and feedback. To follow on from this, I wanted to look at how you should plan feedback and rewards, based on the user’s expectations. However, to start, we need to look at the User Journey, which is a chapter on its own!
What is a User Journey?
In our world, the user journey is the series of steps that a user takes whilst engaged with your solutions. I break it down into four key stages. Discovery, OnBoarding, Immersion and Mastery/Replay. Ok, so that is more like 4 1/2 steps…
The core of gamification can be boiled down to two key components. Goals and Feedback. Of course, there is more going on that supports these, but those are the two keys of gamification.
Gamified systems need to set specific tasks for users to complete, and then provide them with feedback as they progress towards completing those tasks. A good gamified system then uses other techniques, elements, mechanics etc to support the user towards those goals.
The hard bit is setting good goals, creating good feedback mechanisms and wrapping the experience in something that is engaging! But that is for later.
Warning, this is one of my longest blogs ever!
Now we know a bit about what games, gamification and game-based solutions are (and are not), it’s time to start to consider some of the non-game related topics you need to understand to be good at building game-based solutions. The first of these is motivation.
In gamification we tend to look at motivation in varying depths, starting from a very simple perspective with just two options. Intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation.
The most basic way to look at this is that activities that are intrinsically motivating are those that people will do because they want to or appreciate the benefits of doing them. Activities that require rewards, extrinsic motivation, people do because there is a reward, not because they want to do it. It is not quite as black and white as that, but it is a good starting point – read on!
In the last part of my introduction to gamification, I explained a little about my thoughts on Games Based Solutions, but I didn’t really explain what a game actually is. The reason for that is, it is a little complicated from an academic perspective. Now, that doesn’t really affect you in a business setting or as you undertake your job as a gamification designer, but it is always useful to have a deeper understanding of things you are speaking about.
Let’s start with play as this is the foundation of games. There are many thoughts on play, I have a whole ebook and sections of Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play dedicated to it. However, in this introduction series, I want to try and keep things simple!