3 Gamification Trends To Look Out For In 2019

Written by: Kerry Wong, Head of Gamification Design

The use of “Gamification” is becoming more widespread, as many organisations around the world are adopting the methodology to create positive behavioural change, strong organisational culture, better education and training. Gamification is here to stay but the job is still half done as it is still undergoing massive innovation. Here are 3 trends you need to look out for in gamification.


Gamification in Politics?

Gabe Zichermann, author of The Gamification Revolution(2013), Gamification by Design (2011) and Game-Based Marketing (2010), says that gamification will gain popularity in politics and civic organisations.

In the recent 2018 mid-term US elections, Gabe Zichermann collaborated with TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, a late-night talk and news satire programme, and launched a smartphone app called This Is Not a Game: The Game. The purpose of the app was to educate US citizens about the political sphere, test the electorate’s knowledge, and encourage players to vote.

Leading up to the big day, the app offered a daily trivia game, where players answer questions centred on the midterm elections, after which an inaugural pot of $5,000 will then be split among the winners. When players were knocked out, they could earn second chances by completing challenges such as registering as a voter and signing up for election reminders.

Source: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Source: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

It is what’s inside that counts.

Yu-Kai Chou, the author of Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards(2017), says gamification will ‘go deeper’ as marketers seek for ways to make the desired behaviours enjoyable instead on stimulating action solely with rewards and gifts.

As the industry becomes more mature, gamification designs centred on rewards and incentives (extrinsic motivation) will give way to designs centred on making behaviours or tasks actually enjoyable for the participant to carry out (intrinsic motivation). While extrinsic motivation design is very helpful in getting a person to start performing a specific behaviour or task, it has been found that the moment extrinsic motivation is eliminated from the equation, the person will lose interest in continuing to carry out that particular behaviour or task.

For instance, if you want a child to perform well in school, an external incentive will only get you so far. Speaking from my own personal experience, I used to really like studying, I found the whole experience fun and engaging. Then, in my last year of primary education, I got my parents to agree to get me a present if I got good grades. The incentive worked, I was excited and driven, and I eventually got the grades to back it up.

However, once I entered my secondary education, the external incentive was no longer there and I ended up losing my initial motivation to study. The experience was no longer as fun or as engaging as before. I never really understood why until I found out about the impact of extrinsic motivation.

Perhaps a better way my parents could have done to tackle this would be to ignore my request and reassure my effort to foster my sense of self-achievement (PS: I love my parents, mind you). After all, someone who is intrinsically motivated is more likely to continue working on it despite the challenges they may face.

Source: Yu-Kai Chou’s Octalysis Framework – Left Brain (Extrinsic) vs Right Brain (Intrinsic)

Source: Yu-Kai Chou’s Octalysis Framework – Left Brain (Extrinsic) vs Right Brain (Intrinsic)

How you feel impacts what you do.

An Coppens, Founder and Chief Game Changer of Gamification Nation, wrote an article highlighting empathy mapping and how it plays a role in instigating behavioural change.

In the new age of gamification, a strong and emotionally engaging narrative will be important. For example, Judy Willis, a neurologist wrote in her book that fun experiences increase levels of dopamine, endorphins, and oxygen in the human body – all things that promote learning. So, it is important to incorporate happy and fun experiences when designing a learning programme to nurture these positive emotions, which subsequently leads to a higher retention rate.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

It is interesting to see how gamification has matured as an industry, as well as the shift towards a more intrinsically motivated approach. Can’t wait to see how it would evolve in 2019!