Category: Gamification


Meaningful, Specific Rewards

Many of you will know by now that I intensely dislike the way my daughter’s school uses rewards. However, one teacher has changed some of my views in one simple act. She gave out a truly meaningful reward.

It was a certificate, the exact same certificate that my daughter has had several times. It came signed by the head teacher, as they all do with this type of certificate. However, this time there was one very slight difference… the text on the certificate.

Rather than the usual generic “This award was given for extra effort”, or “This award has been given for being good at spelling”, this one was totally specific to my daughter and the struggles she has had with dyscalculia. Read More ...


What is the Best Gamification Framework?

Gamification frameworks, like many other industries, are all over the place. Everyone has one and probably argue theirs is the best. Hell, I’ve got loads dotted around the site!

But, which one is actually the best?

Well, none of them. They mostly have equal merit based on the context within which you wish to use them. Some, whether they admit it or not, are more suited to analyzing existing systems to gain insights, some are more suited to the practical design of solutions. Some are great at helping to define specific elements you may which to use, some, how to motivate specific groups of users and yet others how to actually run the whole project. Read More ...


What can learning guitar teach us about gamification?

I have been playing guitar since I was 16. As I approach my 40th birthday, I have had the opportunity to reflect on a lot of things. Mostly things that are deeper than this, but it popped into my mind, so I gave it time!

When I started playing guitar, I learned three chords. G, C and A. I had a little acoustic guitar that my Mum bought me in a car boot sale for £6. She told me that if I could learn to play a song and play it well, she would consider going halves on an electric guitar with me.  I went Read More ...


Gamification is not just points and badges

Ok, quick rant, move along if you don’t care about the future of our industry.

I recently read an article, that said the following

… gamification, the concept of points or rewards through the completion of tasks …

It is 2018, gamification has been maturing for several years now and most of the respected leaders in the industry have been trying to dispell this concept for some time now.

So why does it persist?

Because the industry does not speak openly about what it is actually doing. Case studies I am using now are the same ones I was using in 2011. This either means that people are so successful that they don’t want to share the goods, or they are failing so badly they are embarrassed to share. Read More ...


Defining Game Mechanics in a Gamification Context

Ok. I’ve approached game mechanics a few times, but the conversation still persists and the misuse of terms gets worse and worse! I wanted to put together a little glossary with contextual examples, based on my research – so feel free to disagree.

Mechanic: A distinct set of rules that dictate the outcome of specific interactions within the game.

  • Game Example: Digging blocks is the core mechanic. Crafting is another mechanic.
  • Gamification Example: The drag and drop mechanism in timeline sort challenge. The timer is also a mechanic as is the act of turning over cards in the memory match game.

Dynamic. The emergent outcomes of player and system interactions with game mechanics.

  • Game Example: Building a fortress in Minecraft with friends.
  • Gamification Example: Pooling knowledge in the social chat area to help each other complete the challenges.

Aesthetic/Immersion: The feelings and emotions the game evokes in the player. Read More ...


Honest Work: Outcome Based Goals and Feedback

We at Motivait, recently moved office, which has offered me the chance to bring to mind a concept my Mum would refer to as “Honest Work”. What is honest work? In this case manual labour involved in building flat pack chairs and setting up networks, but in Mum’s definition, it is anything that has a physical or visible outcome. For instance, stacking shelves in a warehouse, putting up some shelves, creating a routine in a bit of software. Anything where you can quickly see results and even better, results you can be proud of. Read More ...


A New Year for Gamification

As we usher in a New Year, I wanted to make a few New Year wishes for gamification in 2018.

The industry finally matures and stops acting like a petulant teenager!
  • 2017 saw a lot of advances in gamification, but the industry still has a way to go. Misogyny, pettiness, immature attitudes towards research and evidence are just some of the problems we still face.
  • And don’t get me started on the concept of 1-week courses producing gurus and specialists!
We stop using words like “addictive” and “addicting” (goes for the games industry as well)

  • We do not want to create addictive products. Engaging, yes. Compelling, yes, but not addictive. Addiction is very bad, yet I keep hearing people talk about creating “Addictive products” or “Addictive experiences” and seeing it in product descriptions and platform description. Again, addiction is bad, we don’t want it! If you can’t make a product that is engaging without relying on behaviour loops that create addiction, you need to get out of the industry.
  • Read More ...


    2017 Yearly Roundup

    It’s that time of year again, where I list out all the posts of the year! It has been an odd year for me, with a couple of major job changes for me and other events! However, I have tried to keep up my blogging and have had a few popular ones this year 😉

    Next year I am looking to get a new / updated book published (depends on who publishes it!) and who knows, I may even start looking at the PhD everyone seems to want me to do!

    Have a great Christmas, if that is your thing, and I will see you all in 2018!! Read More ...


    Intrinsic Motivation RAMP Misconceptions

    As we head to the holidays I wanted to revisit an old “model” and just clarify a couple of items that have cropped up in conversation over the years. The item in question is RAMP. This, as you may remember, is my core intrinsic motivation model of Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Obviously, based on Self Determination Theory, this has been a really handy tool in all of my gamification exploits over the years.

    The basic idea is these are 4 motivations that are core to all people in some way. In self-determination theory, Deci and Ryan only speak about Relatedness, Autonomy and Competence (Mastery),  as altruistic purpose is part relatedness. Whilst true, for gamification it is useful to separate this out into its own. Read More ...


    Underjustification Effect

    Overjustification Effect

    Before we get onto Underjustification effect, let’s talk about its inspiration. Many of you will know about The Overjustification effect, first described by Daryl Bem in his work on Self-Perception theory in 1967[1].

    Put simply it is the decrease of intrinsic motivation to perform a task or tasks when an extrinsic reward is introduced, and the reward becomes more important than the original task. So, for instance, if you love painting and then start to get paid for it, the money can start to become more important than the love of painting. Once the money is removed, you may be reluctant to go back to it for free, your intrinsic motivation to paint has been undermined by the extrinsic rewards. There is plenty of research out there to back this up! Read More ...


    The 3 Layers of Motivation 2018 Edition

    Ok, so it isn’t quite 2018, but near enough!

    I wanted to present a new graphic for my Layers of Motivation (Found here), with a little bit of explanation about one aspect!

    For those that don’t know, this was created as a way to explain where purely extrinsic and trivial methods of motivating people, such as points badges and leaderboards, sat within general motivation.

    Based on good old Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Self Determination Theory, my own RAMP and gamification mechanics.

    The key learning is that to engage and motivate users, you need to understand what their needs are. If they are starving, offering them digital badges won’t really hold any motivational drive for them! If they are generally satisfied in their day today base needs but are unhappy in their role because they lack autonomy, adding a leaderboard to their day job will not help! Read More ...


    Why Is Everyone Losing Their Minds Over Loot Crates?

    If you had not noticed, loot crates have been making some waves in the gaming world of late. Bonus containers awarded at the end of a game, these boxes deliver mystery rewards to the player when they finish. Most games use them to give the player “vanity” items, such as new clothes or gestures, but some use them in less welcome ways.

    Recently EA and DICE drew serious hear from gamers when it transpired that all progression in Battlefront 2, the latest Star Wars blockbuster game, was managed through loot crates. At the end of each game, the player would “randomly” be rewarded with items and scrap in a loot crate. Scrap could be used to purchase new upgrades, whilst other items and heroes are bought with the in-game credit currency. This currency is awarded to the player through hours of play and through loot crates. A third type of currency can be purchased directly with cash, which can then be converted to loot crates. Get that? Basically, you can hope that luck brings you new items, time brings you more money or you can just buy stuff with real money. Read More ...


    HR Gamification Day 2017 – Slides

    Busy Busy Busy!

    This week I presented an introduction to gamification and play talk at the HR Gamification Day in Madrid. It was a fabulous event, with some amazing speakers. The venue was also just incredible! A big thanks to The Key Talent for the invite. it was fun meeting up with friends old and new.

    I am also speaking at Gamification Europe next week, all about failure… If you don’t have a ticket yet, go and get one now 🙂

    That does mean less time to write anything good for you lovely people. Instead here are my slides from this week and I will post my slides for next week as soon as I have made them… Read More ...


    The Danger of Solutioneering

    As with any new (ish) concept, gamification suffers from a great deal of misunderstanding in the public. As such people often don’t understand what they are asking for when they say “We want gamification”. To some, that might mean “We want a game”, to others it may be “We want to inject some game mechanics to help with motivation.”

    This puts the gamification designer in a difficult position, because very often the first thing the client asks for, may not be what they actually want or need. I spoke about having what you want vs what you need a while back and it is incredibly important to understand the difference! Read More ...