Gamification can be described as: “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”.
Over the years there were, and still are, many myths and misunderstandings about gamification.
We are here to demystify some of these myths. We’re going to start with, probably, the biggest myth about gamification: gamification is a game.
Gamification is a game
The first thing to know about gamification is: Gamification is not a game.
Games are made to entertain players. There’s generally a storyline (save the princess!), elaborate graphics, a winner, and so on. Gamification, meanwhile, uses aspects or elements of games to help people achieve goals outside of games.
Gamification applies game components and mechanics in a non-game context, leads to an increase in engagement and motivates citizens, customers and employees.
Gamification leverages our love of competition and reward and uses it to encourage certain actions that change people’s behaviours.
Gamification is a short-term fix
Gamification serves the purpose of the company, whether it is short term or long term. For example, training employees about a new service or product works well in short-term objectives.
The focus should not be on whether it is a short term fix or a long term investment. The focus should be on how well it can resolve business issues effectively. Therefore, it is important to stipulate the goals, to your company and to your customers, citizens and employees.
Gamification only enhances extrinsic motivation
Extrinsic motivation is when we are motivated to perform a behaviour or engage in an activity because we want to earn a reward, a badge or avoid punishment. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is when you engage in a behaviour because you find it rewarding. So, we can say extrinsic motivation arises from outside of the individual while intrinsic motivation comes from within.
A good gamified solution focuses on both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that lead to positive work motivation. It is really important to know very well the audience and their goals, because reward your employees, customers or even citizens with badges or cash prizes may keep them motivated and engaged initially, but once the novelty wears off they will look for intrinsic motivators. This is why is so important to know your audience and then relate that motivation to the behaviour you are trying to encourage.
Gamification is not suited to a mature age audience
There is a stigma that gamification is only child-friendly and is not suited to a mature age audience. This is wrong!
Although gamification is very popular among generation Z, the goal of gamification is to change behaviours for the better, reward loyal customers and create learning that is engaging and entertaining. Gamification has no age restrictions. Everyone can use it, and everyone can benefit from it.
Gamification is just about points, badges and leaderboards
The core of gamification is not about points, badges and leaderboards. People usually think there is no science behind gamification, but it was created around the concept of motivational psychology.
People tend to apply points, badges and leaderboards straightforwardly, probably because this is the most common and visible aspect of a gamified environment.
Gamification is much more than points, badges and leaderboards. It is about creating an experience that engages your customers, employees and citizens. You can consider other mechanics, in the process that drives the user – like challenges, competition, feedback, rewards, and prizes, or even quizzes and surveys.
The main goal, before increasing engagement and motivation of your employees, citizens and customers through gamification, is to overcome the misconceptions about it.