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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 #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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The 8 questions about players that needs to be answered: How to gamify for ‘the relevant ones’?

While designing a gamification system or more appropriately as I would say, designing motivation using game mechanics, the center stage is taken by the player. Player – the individual for whom the gamification system is designed to keep him/her hooked to your service/company/offering. This makes the player the vertex of the gamification strategy. For example, lets consider a marketing gamification strategy that is being developed for a global product. The players in such a category are so diverse that creating a gamification strategy keeping each and every player of your product into consideration set will be very difficult. It is almost impossible to develop such a gamified system that is engaging for all type of players. What may be fun and engaging for one set of player may not be so for the other set. 
As a solution to this problem, the gamification strategist working at your organization must realize the limitations and design the strategy keeping in mind the players that really matter. Gamification is about change: in the player’s behavior, their actions or way of thinking. A successful gamification strategy will encompass focused changes as mass or general changes are not feasible via gamification. Else it will be contributing to the pool of 80% failed applications as estimated by Gartner few years down the line.
So what it is about the relevant players that should be kept in mind while writing the stories? I will help you in this by putting them in 8 easy questions that the gamification strategist of your organization needs to answer before planning the engagement tools to be used.
Q1. Who do we want your players to be? [It is possible that your product caters to varied demographics, so for whom is this gamification strategy for? Is it for the least engaged or the most engaged.]

  • Q1 is the most important step; once it is answered precisely, rest of the following questions become quite easier to answer.

Q2. What does the player already thinks of your product (i.e. how informed the player is)?
Q3. What is the player skeptical of?
Q4. What are the players needs, demands and wants?
Q5. What is the most engaging media to reach the player? What are the touch points where the player can be connected easily?
Q6. What about the player can be changed easily and what will require a persistent effort via your gamified strategy?
Q7. Where has your offering touched the player in the past?
Q8. After the player has successfully engaged, how will the player interact with his/her fellow players?
Once you have answers to these questions go and gamify the players by using appropriate engagement tools, but remember do not crop and photoshop your game to accommodate more players, try to appreciate the fact that gamification has its limitations. One size doesn’t fit all.

 

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