Ten tips to gamify anything (Part 5 of 5)

The 10 attributes of highly effective and engaging games is the focus of this blog series - a series of five blog posts exploring five sets of game attribute pairs. In sharing these 10 attributes my aim is to highlight how anyone can gamify any experience to make that experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

The first blog post in this series explored the first two attributes of high effective and engaging games - Goals and Rules. The second post explored the virtuous relationship that can be created between Risk and Reward and the third blog post detailed the importance of Feedback and Social Sharing in facilitating greater game engagement and performance. The fourth blog post in this series explored the balance between maintaining a players momentum in game play with the level of challenge required to hold a player's interest in continuing to play.

This final blog in this gamify any experience series explored the final two game attributes of highly effective and engaging games - Choice and Fun.

Game Attribute #9: Choice (Voluntary Participation) 

A game is only a game if a player can say ‘no’ to playing - choice or voluntary participation is a fundamental attribute of building a highly engaging game.

  • A player forced to play a game they do not want to play in significantly more likely to seek a way of exiting the game before its natural conclusion.
  • If you have ever read the book or watched the movie, Hunger Games, you will appreciate the importance of voluntary participation for a player to:
    • maintain commitment to both striving to achieve the goals of the game; and
    • playing by the rules of the game.
  • In addition to these to factors, the choice to voluntarily participate in a game becomes increasingly important as the level of risk inherent within the game increases.
    • in higher risk games, choice to accept the game's inherent risks further increases the player’s commitment to play and play by the rules.
  • In many cases the game mechanic of Voluntary participation is a matter of where the the player says, “I have to play" versus “I want to play”.

How to ...

Applying the game attribute of Choice (or Voluntary Participation) to the game, Creating & Taking A New Product To Market, I might:
  • create a Personal Commitment contract that I sign and hang on my wall - as a way of reminding myself that I did choose to play the game
  • allow myself only 10 hours per week to invest on making the  initiative happen with any time I invest beyond that limit needing to be funded by the product
  • or flipping my time limit on game play, I might only allow myself 10 hours per week to invest on the project AFTER I have undertaken the core accountabilities of my ‘day job’

Game Attribute #10: Fun

A game must be fun to play for players to be enticed to play, and willing to commit to continuing to play.

  • In reality, most people perceive that all games are inherently fun and are willing to give any game a go with an expectation that they will enjoy it 
    • this is why gamifying any experience works, especially the ramification of change
  • However, a game that is not fun to play will not be played for very long, so ensuring your game has an explicit ‘fun factor’ is important. 
    • Several game attributes already mentioned contribute to building a game’s ‘fun factor’ - goals, reward, social sharing, and challenge. 
  • But, fun is more than these factors -
    • A game’s fun factor is its capacity to bring an unsolicited, spontaneous smile to a player playing the game. 

How to ...

Applying the game attribute of Fun to the game, Creating & Taking A New Product To Market, I might:
  • identify a market or customer segment that I enjoy working in before I decide what potential new product I might try to introduce into that market or customer segment
  • develop the new product with friends (this is usually my strategy!)
  • treat the process of trying to create and take a new product to market as a game!

In this concluding post of my gamify any experience blog series, we have explored the importance of ensuring voluntary participation (choice) is an attribute firmly built into tour game. the more we increase a player's choice to play a game - and the choices they can make within game play - the more the player will her willing to commit to playing the game for its duration.

And probably the most important factor is the game attribute of fun - howe do we build a game that bring unsolicited, spontaneous smiles to the players of the game? How do we create game experiences where players play the game for the enjoyment of its even more than the goals, rewards, challenge or social aspects of the playing the game - this way they will play the game even if these other attributes are not present in the game or sub-optimal.

In summary, to gamify any experience consider:

The 10 tips_summary

In this five part blog series I have outlined how the 10 attributes of highly affective and engaging games can be apple to crating and taking a new product to market. Other suggestions for gamifying any experience include:

  • starting and building a business
  • taking a new product or service to market
  • changing career
  • gaining that next promotion
  • building your personal brand
  • Developing a high performing work team
  • writing your best selling novel

Of course, there are many other games you can also play. Enjoy your different game.