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[Updated] The success of Pokémon Go- why gamification works

Posted by Panda on November 17, 2015 at 3:47 PM


A lot has changed since this article was published, so it is time for an update on what is happening in and around the world of gamification.

We’ve all seen and heard about it. It’s the latest craze that is getting people off the couch and on the streets. People are wandering around trying to look for “pocket monsters” and catch, train and battle with them. The more you catch, the more power you receive to level up.

The game, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is Pokémon Go and has taken the world by storm. It’s a free, location-based, augmented reality online mobile game that uses the real world to help you inform your game experience and is played byplayers of different ages and backgrounds.

According to Recurrence, “When players are playing Pokemon Go, they are really killing three birds   with one stone: they are playing a game that they enjoy, they’re engaging more with their environment and with other players, and, as a happy side effect, they are also improving their health and fitness by walking around for hours on end looking for Pokemon”.

The success of this game may be a big boost for gamification as more businesses will start using games to monitor employee behaviour and provide them with rewards and incentives.The possibilities for creative marketers are endless as many companies are trying to get a Pokéspot (locations on the map) or Gym on their premises to promote their business and improve their bottom line. Gamification Nation notes that the game is a perfect example of encouraging people to become more active (we know walking can be hard work).

The game has become an overnight sensation as it also allows the user to take photographs on the go. “Millennials are also super competitive, so sharing progress amongst friends has meant that the motivation to train harder and play longer to get ahead and update status is enormous,” states Toni Sanchis on Hooptap, the gamification platform that allows businesses to create gamification for marketing and sales efforts in an easy and engaging way. Personalisation is key for millennials and different avatars can be created and personalised according to the user’s preferences. Sanchis further states “...this creative process instills in players a sense of ownership, responsibility for and emotional connection to the game that is at times all consuming”.

The future of customer engagement just got more interesting. Who knows how much more exciting the world of gamification can become? Only time will tell. Here’s a complete guide on how to play Pokémon Go. Get up, go out and catch those critters.

Do you think that gamification is a waste of your resources? Business.com states that 70% of businesses fail due to a lack of engagement, but it is expected that 40% of top companies will use gamification to transform their business operations and reach a market value of $2.8 billion in 2016.

These are hard facts to ignore if you’re in the gaming industry. If you’re not? Even harder to ignore, because if these statistics show us one thing, it’s that games = engagement. Massive, worldwide engagement, that changes behaviours, thinking patterns and responses.

Michael Gallagher Quote: Videogames are ingrained in our culture.

Quote from the ESA’s 2015 report: Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry

Gamification in practise

Last year, Penquin implemented a gamification incentive, to test the theory and drive higher performance, and the results spoke for themselves. Even in weeks where the sales were lower, team interaction increased and company spirit soared.

Taking the principles of gaming engagement and applying them to your business can help you in a number of ways. We take a look at these benefits below.

How and why gamification works 

This quote by Dr James Paul Gee shows the skills that can be developed using gamification in everyday business:

 Dr James Paul Gee Quote Gamification Skill

There are numerous companies that have implemented gamification to great effect, and the reasons that these companies have seen success are listed here.

  1. Gamification plays into gaming’s push for constant development and improvement, where the ‘supplier’ and the ‘consumer’ both push each other to improve so that the overall experience can be optimised. Skills development in companies is something that will never become outdated, and gamifying your training practises for higher knowledge retention can drive great success.
  1. Strategy games promote strategic thinking and problem solving. Strategy is key in business, and in today’s world, with constantly-changing technologies and moving goalposts, a strategic thinker is a valuable resource. Boosting your employees’ cognitive abilities with strategy-inspired gamification can raise the bar for flexible innovation.
  1. You can support the development and achievement of company goals. Based on a rewards system, gamification incentives promote success in all arenas of business, and give employees motivation outside of traditional business operations.
  1. Game theory increases your employees’ understanding of your business systems, by promoting critical thought and analytical thinking. Because of the tactical nature of gaming, gamification becomes a mind-training tool that can help employees to unravel company processes, fully understand the workings, and apply new knowledge in process optimisation.
  1. Promote the growth of collaboration and teamwork. Gaming, again, is not only for the lonely. With the increase in social gaming worldwide, gamification incentives can take inspiration from games that promote sharing, collaboration, and group effort.
  1. You can provide presenters, trainers, and managers with the benefit of enhanced employee attention – if this blog were gamified, you’d have reached this paragraph without checking your phone. Since it isn’t, you’ve probably finished a level of Candy Crush in between paragraphs. Maybe more than one. Because games – and gamification - help to hold your attention much better than traditional practises.
  1. Setting up scoring systems, interactive goals, and rewards allows employees to be congratulated on their successes in public, and measured in an open forum. This means that you get a clearer picture of the team dynamic, progress of employees, and incentive progress – and with open, transparent measurement and progress-tracking, it’s much simpler to assess your success.

Implementing a gamification incentive in your business can give fantastic, long-term results. Try it out to boost your productivity and progress tracking.

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