Gamification of the Future

There are a number of new gamification techniques that are gaining popularity.

Inducement prizes

An inducement prize is a contest to motivate a result. This technique offers a prize, either financial or some other form of tangible reward. The main benefit of using an inducement prize for the game designer is that it can incent investments from participants (in the form of time or money) that far surpases the actual value of the prize. This technique also spurs innovation by crowdsourcing creativity and can help solicit ideas from areas that you as the game designer would otherwise not think about.

How do you structure an inducement prize? Use competence, autonomy, relatedness. All three are usually present in well structured inducement prize situations. Competence refers to the need to demonstrate success in the skill or solution to the challenge. Furthermore the competition typically does not tell you show to do something, it just wants a result. This allows users to experience autonomy. Lastly, these types of competitions typically encourage people to work in groups collaborate and achieve some large public goal. All this drives intrinsic motivation.

A few details to keep in mind while designing a good inducement prize challenge.

  1. The challenge needs to be something that multiple teams/individuals competing can do.
  2. It needs to cost sufficiently small so that people will pursue this.
  3. Designers need to balance scale vs incentive. While you want many people competing to have lots of solutions to get many results, if many people are competing, then the odds of winning decrease and can demotivate individuals. There needs to be balance of the task at hand.

Virtual economies

Virtual economies include virtual goods. Games such as Farmville became successful as a business because they charge actual money to unlock virtual goods. Users need to work very hard to get something. Currently the size of the virtual good market is estimated at $7B in 2010. Virtual currencies – such as loyalty programs also count.

When designing a virtual economy – think of faucets and drains. Such as how monopoly creates balance, you need to put money in and ensure that money is taken out. Basic economics will tell you that economies are driven by scarcity.

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