Gamification Element: Investment

Piggy bank 1493903513 Gamification Element Investment

I have just added a new element to the gamification periodic table, investment.

Whilst I have Loss Aversion and a few other things that may seem similar, I have felt for some time that there was still an ingredient missing. It turns out, it was investment (I think…).

Now, you may instantly think of investment as a financial affair, in fact, the icon I have chosen deliberately induces that though. However, investment comes in several flavours;

  1. Financial: Money, virtual currency, possessions
  2. Emotional: When you get into a good book or film, you are emotionally invested. The same is true of any relationship.
  3. Time: When you spend time doing something, you are investing in it. So time spent getting your stats as high as possible in-game, that’s a significant investment.
  4. Effort: Whether it is mental or physical, expending effort is an investment in an activity.

A great example of all of these being in play is higher education. Students have to spend money on tuition fees (or at least be aware they will be paying them back for some time). They have to invest emotionally, not just in the subject and the process of learning for higher education, but also in the relationships they form whilst in higher education. They have to invest a significant amount of their time, years in fact. Finally, there is a huge amount of mental effort required to succeed. Read More ...

Gamification, delayed gratification and rewards

Reward vs investment Gamification delayed gratification and rewards

There has always been this common thought that if you have to work harder for something or you have to wait for it, the reward will be all the greater in your mind. Now for the most part. that is absolutely true. The anticipation of some sort of reward 1 is a massive trigger for dopamine and can make the reward all the more… well, rewarding – which we like!

The Marshmallow Test

However, not everyone is able to wait for a reward. There was a fantastic experiment in the 70s now referred to as the Marshmallow Test 2. The set up was that children were sat in a room and a marshmallow was placed on the table in front of them. They were given an offer. Eat this one marshmallow now OR wait until I come back and you can have two marshmallows. It is worth watching the videos if you need a smile! Read More ...

My 3 main focuses for rewards and feedback

Feedback and rewards e1549640096407 My 3 main focuses for rewards and feedback

One of the key things that I consider when looking at anything in gamification is how feedback is going to be handled. For me, feedback is anything that gives a user some understanding of progress and achievement. This can be something as simple as a message that says “You have completed the survey”, to a full virtual economy working with points, badges, levels, leaderboards, trading, prizes etc! They are all just there to keep the user informed.

I feel there are three important aspects that need to be considered when designing feedback and rewards for any system though. It should be – cue another mnemonic – RIM…..! Read More ...

The Effect of Time on Decision Making

ID 100127587 The Effect of Time on Decision Making

I am fascinated with decision making and why people make certain decisions. There are loads of great papers out there, some of which I actually understand!

What has really caught my attention is the effect of time constraints on decision making.

Time Constraints in Games

We see this a lot in games, sometimes obvious other times, not so obvious. It is also used to varying degrees. For example. The Walking Dead uses this to great effect during certain conversations. The game asks you to make a decision then given a few choices. Whilst you decide there is a progress meter counting down that will force neutral and probably unwanted response if you don’t choose. Within the context of the game, this forces you to often go with gut instinct over long considered decisions. This gives the feeling of drama and in some cases real dread, with all choices often seeming negative – leaving you to choose which is least bad. In Mario, there is always a timer ticking away at the top of the screen. For the most part, this does not really mean much as it has ample time to complete a map – or so it seems. Yet, after deciding to collect everything on a level, you often find time running out and suddenly it all feels more desperate as you sprint to the finish line!These are obvious examples of time pressure on decision making, you can see a timer and know it will run out at a certain point. Games offer many other types of time constraints, from how you react to people shootin at you, to how you are going to get from one side of a map to the other as you are being chased. These kinds of pressures force fast thinking, reflex action and definitely don’t encourage considered or creative solutions. But, these kinds of moments often feel more “real” and emotional, they have more meaning in that split second. Some people use this to get “gut reaction” decisions in the context of workshops and the like. A popular “game” is 3-12-3 or variations of it. A problem is set and groups of people are set the challenge of solving it. There are then three phases of the brainstorming process, all tightly timed. The first lasts 3 minutes and is used to come up with some ideas. Keeping the initial time tight forces participants to not over think the problem. Next, they have 12 minutes to develop a more concrete idea from the ones pooled in the first phase. Finally, the groups have 3 minutes to present their idea to the other groups. Rules differ, with individuals and pairs and groups doing various things, but the key principle is always the same. The initial idea generation phase has a short time limit. But why would this produce better ideas?

Decision Field Theory – How We Decide

As I say, there is a lot of research on how we make decisions. The most predominant that I found was a piece called Decision Field Theory published by Jerome R. Busemeyer and James T. Townsend in 1993 [1]. In this paper, they discuss how people make decisions, based on available information and time etc. Basically, given a set of choices, your mind filters through all of the information available. Over time the probability of each choice “winning” changes until either time runs out or there is only one choice left in mind. The key thing for me considering time pressure on decision making is that changing the amount of time given for a decision to be made, can dramatically change the outcome. Read More ...

Relatedness: The Often Ignored Glue of Gamification

1118 BatmanArkhamCity 277 BMInterro3 Relatedness The Often Ignored Glue of Gamification

Another great conversation with my friend Scott Sinclair and another batch of inspiration for a blog. This time about why social is really the key to gamification.

Let us look at one of my favourite video games of all time, Batman: Arkham City. Without going into too much detail, you are Batman and you have to uncover a plot to take over Gotham. For me, this is one of the most complete single player experiences I have ever had.

How Does a Game Progress?

The way the game works is exactly what you would expect from a player journey. You start with very little in the way of skills and abilities. You are taught how to play the game with “on the job” nudges, hints and tutorials. Once you have the basics nailed, you are thrown into your first “boss battle”. This gives you a chance to test your new skills against a proper challenge. Once this is over, you start up the path again. New skills are added, abilities are enhanced, the story progresses and it steadily gets harder and harder. This pattern repeats – learn skills, master them, boss fight, and repeat. This continues until you have achieved a high level of mastery in the game. Then it is all about the narrative, using your new mastery to get to the end of the game and defeat the final boss. Read More ...