According to Gartner, within two years over 80 per cent of Gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives. Does this mean we are done with this annoying trend? Guy Daniels reports.
Research company Gartner says that so-called “gamification” is moving from the leading edge to more widespread use by early adopters, and that now is the time to understand and evaluate this trend – one that Gartner rates as “important” – despite currently being driven by novelty and hype.
Gamification is the use of game design and game mechanics to engage a target audience for various reasons, such as to change behaviours, learn new skills or engage in innovation. The target audience may be customers, employees or the public. But one thing Gartner says they have in common is the need and desire to respond to stimuli. That’s why the on-trend designers of these apps like to call their audiences “players”.
However, Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner, predicts that by 2014, 80 per cent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives primarily because of poor design:
“The challenge facing project managers and sponsors responsible for gamification initiatives is the lack of game design talent to apply to gamification projects. Poor game design is one of the key failings of many gamified applications today.”
One of the most widespread examples of gamification is the “check-in” app, such as Foursquare.
Although recent reports suggest that interest in Foursquare is waning… but is that more to do with the structure of the app rather than the concept itself? Burke says it’s the former, and that companies that follow Foursquare’s model of collecting virtual badges are going down the wrong route:
“The focus is on the obvious game mechanics, such as points, badges and leader boards, rather than the more subtle and more important game design elements, such as balancing competition and collaboration, or defining a meaningful game economy. As a result, in many cases, organisations are simply counting points, slapping meaningless badges on activities and creating gamified applications that are simply not engaging for the target audience.”
Burke says that virtually all areas of business could benefit from gamification as it can help to achieve one or more of three broad business objectives – to change behaviour; to develop skills; or to enable innovation:
“As gamification moves from being leveraged by a limited number of leading-edge innovators to becoming more broadly adopted by early adopters, it is important that CIOs and IT leaders understand the underlying principle of gamification and how to apply it within the IT organisation.”
Now, time to visit your favourite coffee shop, check-in with your smartphone, collect a shiny new virtual badge, check if you’re still the local “mayor”, and share your location with all your Facebook buddies, whether they want to know where you are or not. Or just go and put the kettle on. Life is challenging enough without some numpty trying to make it into a damn game.
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