Category Archives: Gamification Psychology

Gamification Psychology Toolkit #3: Fun in ‘Collecting’

Lets’ have an activity, I would request before reading further you try to recall few things that you love collecting maybe now, or you were once very passionate about and even today you have a very fond memory of your collection and feel proud over it.Backyard ART Rock collecting 2-1

If you did the above task  you would have easily pulled out 2-3 examples where you were/are a die-hard collector of the items. It may be the stamps from international countries, or some random cards of players or even stones lying along the road of various shapes, it could be anything else also. But, I am confident that you will be having atleast one good example.

The fun here is/was derived from organizing things by collecting them and arranging them in a particular order. We as humans have a natural tendency for making order out of chaos. We begin collection randomly but later try to arrange and make some meaning out of it, and along this we figure out what things we are missing and needs to be collected.

 Another source of fun is being rewarded for your collection. Earlier marketers used to add some collection game to push the sales, I could easily recall a chewing gum named “Big Babool”, was giving a walki-talkie as prize if you are able to complete their name with an alphabet printed on each wrapper, they intentionally did not print a’, whereas the rest of the alphabets were surfeit. If I break this strategy down, the marketers of Big Babool were giving fun to consumers while they were collecting and organizing, but they linked it to a reward and this reward was a status symbol for the ones who got it. Yes, they actually did print a few ‘a’, and there were few recipients as well. I still envy my friend for this.. 😉

A gamification designers can leverage heavily on the fun embedded in ‘collecting’ things as mentioned above. A gamification designer should emphasize on the value of the collection in the story/embedded narrative of the game, while planning for the onboarding of the player, so that the player is clear about the things that need to be looked for, during the journey. The feedback should be kept in place so that the player is reminded about collection. The collection items also serve as bragging rights within a game, which is a very powerful motivator. The pleasure derived by joining an elite group who were able to collect the items and have a complete collection gives a special status and attached bragging rights with it.

A very good example which I will write in detail in another blog post, comes from lifestyle gamification. Suppose you are using a gamified app for your tracking. After each tracking there is some collectable item. Within this app you will have some activities that you prefer doing and some you hate, by default you will complete the linked activities quickly, but delay the ones which you do not prefer, like for me it will be running as I prefer to do weight training more. May be towards the end of the stage i have done all except the running. As I will be having a strong desire to level-up in the game, and also complete the collection bar, I would do the activity with some less enthusiasm,when compared to the earlier activities. Gamification at the end is a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic.. Isn’t it?


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Gamification Psychology toolkit #2: Pleasure in Self-creation

Ian-Edwards-Creation-of-Self-thumbHave you ever wondered why a self-made not so delicious food tastes tastier than a meal from the restaurant? Or why you like a custom made shoe color design no matter how odd the combination may be, if you were the selector of those colors? The answer lies in the power of Self Creation, Dan Airely call it as an Ikea Effect. We as humans have an imbedded mechanic to give more value to things that we have created, or have invested time in it. Perfection weighs less, and no matter how imperfect your work is you will prefer it, maybe not explicitly but deep down internally, if you get a chance to up vote among a few, you will favor yours.

Working inside a game, where you develop your own virtual world, you will find your guild and your possessions to be dearer to you than to any other outsider. Games use this mechanic very carefully, hence harness a longer engagement from the players, as leaving what you have created, with your precious time is not easy psychologically.

Another example will be the hours you spent on your farm, in FarmVille, growing it. Even if you have a sudden realization of its no realistic value, but it is eating more and more of your time as your farm grows larger and larger you are unable to stop playing it, because you value your creation and hence want to enjoy it and feel complacent with it.

Using the psychology of Self-creation as a mechanic in your gamification design, can be a very powerful ingredient for increasing the engagement. The design should be such that the players feel a sense of self-creation among the activities they are doing. May be the design should provide hints, but to the player it should look like that the actual work was done by the player and not guided by the system where the player is just a viewer. The more the player is able to create the more valuable the creation will become and hence the intrinsic motivation of feeling proud will work for a long term engagement.



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Gamification Psychology toolkit #1: Power of Reciprocity

CaptureOften times while passing through a street you will come across people, who will do you a favor like giving you an unexpected gift, and no matter how much you resist it,  they will not take it back; on contract they will provide you an option for another favor in return like a small donation so that you can repay them. Or there will be another form of it, you will be able to easily recall instances when your class teacher throws very hard homework for your summer holidays , and then there is a lot of crying in the class, “No, Mam, this is too much”, the teacher then instantaneously throws another option which you all agree, as it is less hectic. In reality this second option was the real homework that the teacher wanted you all to do, but to break your resistance for not doing the homework she used a reciprocation-concession strategy. Robert Cialdini in his book Influence, gives many more similar examples of this which we encounter in our daily lives.

In games, like in many MMORPGs, you will see a pro player often gifting you some special tricks or powers to help you move forward in the game, so rather than leaving the game no matter how boring you are you stick around the game under the pro for some time; as you will be thinking that the person has given his/her personal time helping me level-up, it will be rude if I just stop playing, hence I should continue for a while. This is a clear case of the trap of reciprocity.

A good gamification designer who wants to increase engagement, should harness on this basic human nature to reciprocate, while designing for users who are less likely to adopt easily. If they get a meaningful gift within a system, which helps the newbie in an easy on-boarding, they will be compelled to give back internally for the effort the other player has put in helping the new player to survive the initial few days and hence increasing the adoption of your gamification design.

The reciprocity is not only limited to a new and pro relation, but can be a powerful mechanic at any level for increasing engagement. Even gifting between a pro -pro game increase the time they spend on the system, alone, when compared when they interact under the reciprocity condition.

The best part of reciprocity, is you are not enforcing as a sticky PBL, but harnessing on the innate human desire to give back to those who have helped you, thereby reducing your chances of developing a poor gamification design.



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