The term ‘gamification’ was initially coined in 2010, but its history surprisingly dates back much further than that.
Modern gamification is generally linked to technology, with businesses using the technique to enhance their marketing activities and improve customer experiences.
In simple terms, gamification is the concept of adding typical game elements to other areas of activity.
Historically, the practice previously focused on loyalty programs such as saving stamps, frequent flyer miles and hotel rewards schemes.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and gamification is now a multi-billion-dollar market that is continuing to grow rapidly.
Gamification has crossed firmly into the mainstream, with businesses leveraging it to great effect to increase engagement with consumers.
Read on as we take a closer look at how ‘on-screen’ gamification has evolved in the internet era across four different areas.
Television Shows & Movies
Netflix has been at the forefront of technological innovations over the past few years, changing how people consume television and movie content.
The company has effectively embraced numerous gamification elements to emerge as a serious rival to more traditional broadcast outlets.
For instance, Netflix uses a game technique known as the ‘Alfred Effect’, which makes them feel that the service is so personalised to their own needs, they cannot imagine using another service.
By gathering data on what you watch and how long you watch it for, Netflix creates individually unique recommendations of content for each user.
Much like video gaming, Netflix also uses ‘cliffhangers’ to encourage users to binge-watch entire series on the premise of ‘what happens next’.
This bears many similarities to completing a level in game, where a player’s inquisitive nature will see them click through to undertake the next challenge.
Autoplay, interactive experiences and countdown timers are other facets of gamification that Netflix has adopted on its immersive streaming platform.
However, the firm has faced some challenges along the way, particularly regarding its use of choice-based narratives in some of its shows.
Many users feel that this gamification element is too gimmicky and devalues the meaning of the storyline in the TV show or movie.
The early incarnations of slot machines were purely about winning money, but they are now all about the game we play to secure that elusive jackpot.
Slot developers have used advancements in technology to add extra features which encourage engagement and increase a user’s enjoyment of playing.
The differences between video slots vs reels slots highlight how gamification has become more prevalent in modern slot games.
Video slots sit much closer in style to video games, meaning that the lines between gambling and gaming have started to merge.
Improvements in graphics technology and animation capabilities have helped to fire video slots into a completely different stratosphere.
The gamification elements which feature in modern slots include visual rewards, mini-games and levelling up, all of which are designed to keep players engaged with the game.
Where once it was the case that seeing the reels, spin was the highlight of slots, this element of the game is merely a starter course ahead of the main meal.
The main action on video slots is generated in the additional gaming levels, giving players frequent opportunities to secure winning returns.
This fuels our competitive desire, which forces people into trying to conquer the gaming level of the slot to secure the big jackpot.
Advertising & Marketing
Advertising and marketing functions have been transformed by technology, with digital innovations changing the way that businesses promote their goods and services.
Companies are continually striving to reach their target audience, and gamification videos have proven to be one of the best ways to achieve this.
Many people are often resistant to being ‘sold to’, and can end up feeling non-plussed when presented with traditional forms of marketing content.
However, gamification videos tap into the human instinct to compete and have been used by advertisers to provide positive digital experiences to consumers.
Gamification provides a platform for companies to build a relationship with new and existing customers, bringing added value to that link-up.
A great example of this in action was the Balenciaga fashion house’s creation of an online video game to showcase its latest collection.
Titled Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, the game is set in the future and allows players to tour Demna Gvasalia’s eye-catching AW21 collection.
Players are guided through a store where they can select pieces from the collection, before heading onto the street and out of the city.
The journey leads to a forest full of ravers and finally a mountain top, where they can complete challenges for a mysterious surprise.
While the gameplay is simplistic in nature, this usage of gamification highlights how advertisers can engage more effectively with their target audience.
Another area where gamification has made a significant impact is eLearning, providing educators with a clever way to support their teaching efforts.
eLearning gamification has become an integral part of developing an engaging and inclusive learning experience which can be adapted to suit all abilities.
Gamification in education takes elements of gaming such as rewards, scoring and leaderboards to keep students more engaged with a particular subject.
For instance, gamification is regularly used to teach young children the basics of how to code, which can often be a valuable skill to possess when they become adults.
Many museums also use gamification to showcase their exhibits, which help to tell the story by spiking an individual’s curious nature.
Using gamification in this manner provides a more memorable learning experience and is an excellent way for increase engagement for visitors.