What makes an end-user loyal to a gamified initiative? Is it the endorphin rush they might receive upon completing a task? Is it possible monetary reward? Is it the design and implementation of the “game?” Or is it something more subtle?
Yu-Kai Chou is an eleven-year veteran of the gamification space, an established veteran responsible for the development of the Octalysis framework. His “octagon plus analysis” framework uses criteria like experience flow, data analysis, and judgment to help developers understand the eight core motivators that spur end-users to engage in a particular activity. The Octalysis framework became so popular within a year of its publication that it has become highly useful teaching material in the gamification industry, and has even been translated into nine languages.
Chou delivered an insightful, hands-on demo of the Octalysis Framework at the 2014 GSummit Conference. While there, he spoke to TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner about the challenges and future of gamification, as well as how loyalty can play a central role in gamified initiatives.
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As a three-year veteran of GSummit, Chou relishes the opportunity to meet with like-minded technology professionals and gamification enthusiasts who’d rather talk about the industry itself than just shoot the breeze. For him, GSummit is “all about this broad knowledge of psychology motivation design and game dynamics, and how we use that to make the world a better place.” In other words, he seeks a higher calling for gamification than “just playing games.”
In fact, that’s one of the major drawbacks Chou sees in the gamification space:
Ultimately, the term ‘gamification’ is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that it unlocks a person’s imagination … It’s very broad. The curse is the term ‘game’ in it. [It] makes a lot of companies think, ‘Oh, we don’t play games,’ and ‘It’s so not serious.’ I think it [the term ‘gamification’] has at least three to eight years of steam left.
According to research announced at the 2013 GSummit by Gartner, 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies were planning to implement gamification by 2014, but 80 percent of those companies would fail. Chou wished that the conference would have focused more on solutions and less on forecasted statistics. Instead of bemoaning the gamification industry’s possible fate, Chou wants to see improvement happen through dispersing knowledge about gamification’s goals and collaborating with other gamifying developers and businesses.
Chou also believes that most gamification models fail because developers copy the exterior of a “game” and fail to capture the essence of a game. This is where gamified initiatives and loyalty programs intersect. In other words, businesses shouldn’t use a cookie-cutter approach for a loyalty program or for a gamified initiative—and especially not for a gamified initiative that exists as part of a loyalty program.
Chou asserts that identical designs dot the gamified landscape. For him, end-users gravitate toward “games” and loyalty programs not so much because of the visuals or the tech, but because of a program’s subtleties that convey the essence of a business’s relationship with its customers and set it apart from a sea of all-too-similar contenders.
While the term “gamification” may not exist in a decade, industry experts like Yu-Kai Chou will certainly still be innovating and pushing the boundaries of what gamification can accomplish.
Listen to the full interview: Yu-Kai Chou – Octalysis – GSummit Interview
The Interview was conducted by Clark Buckner from TechnologyAdvice.com (they provide coverage content on best customer loyalty platforms, gamification trends, and business intelligence trends and much more). Also be sure to check out their Tech Conference Calendar.