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Games have been around for thousands of years; from baby to senior citizens we're hard wired to play.  It's no small wonder that around a decade ago people started thinking about using techniques from games within non-games projects.  

Gamification??

Gamification has a bad rep - too often an agency or product wants to add it and simply adds badges/awards/achievements.  That's lazy and missing the point.  We are so used to hearing "that's cool but we already have looked at gamification and we're going to add badges" that we're so super sensitive that you'll hear us call it the "G Word" instead.

But the general principle still stands: games have found the solutions to acquisition and retention of users, how to encourage and enhance spend and how to get users to do the marketing and promotion themselves.  

Here at Code Wizards we *know* games and work on them all the time.  We understand how games work, how to engineer the tech for success and techniques for tuning-up the approach over time. 

Gamification / G Word has the potential to massively improve your project and how users interact with it.  But only if it's subtle, done correctly and based on a process.

How do Games do this so well?

Games don't just launch something and hope for the best; they work hard at ensuring their game is a success.  

Before launch they carefully plan the activities and hooks for each type of player.  There is no "one size fits all" and games know this and respond to each cohort on their own terms.

Performance and responsiveness are key; the user's enjoyment is paramount so this is workshopped and user tested vigorously.

When they launch all data is carefully monitored and measured.  There is a constant feedback loop back into the product based around what they see.

Across the planet culture amends how we are rewarded, see things and play the games.  Successful games developers tune their game around audiences and localities; ensuring that it works best for each territory it launches in.

Then for the entire lifetime of the game the process of analysis and tune-up continues...

In short; games don't just create a game, push it out then wait for it to be a success.  They *work* hard to make their game a success.

Game Tech  

To do this the games industry has invented technology to power its needs.

Most important for games are LiveOps platforms.  These provide player management, gamification features, and allow a direct relationship between the game and users.

How do we do Gamification G Word?

When we apply the "G Word" to an app/website/project we follow a process to ensure it fits:

- Map the demographic to gamer types - using the information architecture (IA) to ensure we're approaching all personas

- Those gamer types are mapped to the "four pillars of gamification" (Glory, FOMO, Extension, Exploration)

- Focus on the win/wins for each gamer type and persona

- Utilise Games Producers to ensure we are approaching the games angle from day zero

- Integrate Game Tech

- Provide a managed service to help "tune-up" the interactions based on evidence/utilisation

How we get to this is relatively simple; we workshop with you and users, we create a menu of gamifications and judge them according to projected ROI, then we manage the project for you across implementation and when it's in the field with real users.

I have a project that's not performing - can i add Gamification to "fix it"?

It's best to bake gamification in at the starting blocks.  This ensures that the whole design is based around gamification rather than retrofitting it.  However virtually any project can be improved by this techique.

Here's a simple example.

Learning Management Platform

We helped a learning management platform massively increase utilisation - although the platform was free and open to all employees the utilisation was low. 

By some simple analysis we found that two key drivers existed for users that wasn't clear: user's training could improve their salary and could also move them from working shifts to more regular working patterns. 

Our solution was simple: show the user how much more salary and improved working times they could gain by taking the training and changing jobs.  Instantly users were able to clearly see the benefits to them and the company benefited too.

I love it - how do we get started?

Contact us!  We always love to speak and we love solving problems.

 

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Got questions?  We're always happy to (at least) try and help.  Give us a call, email, tweet, FB post or just shout if you have questions.

Code Wizards worked with us a number of initiatives including enhancing our Giving Voucher proposition and fleshing out our Giving Street concept. They provide a good blend of both business and technology expertise. We are grateful for their contribution to TheGivingMachine allowing us to improve our services and enhance our social impact

Richard Morris, Founder and CEO TheGivingMachine

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