People can make a game out of anything. Think about it, even the most boring jobs and activities are made a little better if you can add a fun game-like element into the mix. Moving home? Slow day at work? Working out? We’ve all been in one of these situations. Whether we are alone or with friends and colleagues, sometimes even a simple task can make an otherwise dull experience much more enjoyable for everyone, and it’s called Gamification.
But, what is Gamification?
Put simply, is adding game-like elements to an activity that isn’t a game. Ever bet a colleague you could stack more shelves than them within a time limit? That’s Gamification at work. It’s in business, health, lifestyle, education, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Nintendo has had their foot in the door on this for years with games like the recently released Ring Fit Adventure or the Wii balance board. So it’s not exactly a new idea. But it’s one that has become more and more prominent in the last decade or so; one that’s beneficial to you, in more ways than you realise. But I can hear you asking yourself already, how does this benefit me?
Let it be known that I think gamification is awesome. It can in different ways improve your life. Yes, seriously. I’ve made dull, repetitive and downright frustrating moments at work or at home that much more bearable just by simply making a little game out of it. Adding in even the simplest of game elements can make a big difference, and clearly, I’m not the only person who thinks this.
In a survey conducted by TalentLMS, 83% of responses who received gamified training felt more motivated, and 89% believe they’d be more productive if their work was gamified. But with all that said it begs the question: why aren’t more game developers doing anything in this space?
Level up your lifestyle
First of all, I’m not talking about the age-old “Are games good/bad for you?” debate. I’m talking about how certain aspects of your life can improve, in lifestyle or work. Whether it’s productivity, fitness goals, workflow and an array of other skills, trying to improve yourself is a great thing, I think we can agree on that. But that doesn’t mean it’s always so easy.
Honestly ask yourself: how many times have you looked at a pile of paperwork you need to do and told yourself you’ll do it tomorrow? Probably more than once, and a slightly condescending self-help book isn’t necessarily gonna solve the problem. But, by tapping into different aspects of human nature like socialising and competition, companies and developers can make fun and interactive ways of encouraging its users by using achievements, points, and avatars just to name a few.
Even the simplest activity such as walking has had this treatment in the insanely popular Pokemon Go. By promising new Pokemon and rewards for walking certain distances, players are encouraged to go outside, take long walks, and for certain aspects of gameplay, socialise with others. I’m sure if you have played Pokemon Go, you have been surprised at times by just how much distance you travelled without even realising.
The same could be said for Ring Fit Adventure, which might be the best example of Gamification I’ve ever seen. In case you have no clue what I’m talking about, you progress and play by exercising in real-time using a unique ring-shaped controller. Now, this is taking this whole idea to the extreme, but it worked in Nintendo’s favour. As of August 2020, Ring Fit Adventure has sold 4 million copies worldwide, and if not for stock shortages, probably would have sold a good deal more. You get to play a cool game and get a bit of exercise, what could be better?
Show me the money
Like most things in life, money normally has to get involved at some point, especially in games. Developers and publishers constantly have to consider budgets, profits, and everything in between. That being said, it’s easy to understand why some might disregard this whole thing as a waste of time and resources. But then a game like Pokemon Go comes along. In less than two months after release, Pokemon Go brought in more than $440 million in gross worldwide revenue and has made $3.6 billion in its lifetime as of the time of writing. Let that sink in for a moment.
So if a game about catching Pokemon while taking a hike can make millions that quickly, makes you wonder why more developers aren’t jumping at the chance to get their slice of the cake – the delicious, money-filled cake. With developers having some brilliant IP’s under their belts, I can’t imagine some of the cool and innovative ideas that would come to light.
Take an app like Habitica for example. This charming app aims to help productivity and habit building. Users track daily tasks, habits and goals that will level up their avatar as they complete them, unlocking in-game items like battle armour, mysterious pets, and spells they can use to battle monsters with other users to earn in-game or custom rewards. Now imagine Nintendo making a similar app with The Legend of Zelda. That sounds awesome, and the potential profit could be fantastic if they monetized it responsibly (No loot boxes, thank you very much).
So, is it worth it?
Well, if done effectively, yes. Of course, there is always the chance someone could abuse this. Companies could use these ideas to take all your money. If not managed sensibly, they could do more harm than good. But personally, I see more advantages to this idea than disadvantages and think people can be smart enough to know they are being mugged off.
Gamification has the chance to make work more engaging, help develop good habits and improve your health. Plus it can make some big money if monetized correctly. It sounds like a win for everyone involved as far as I’m concerned. It’s hard to think of many reasons why game developers don’t try to tackle this market. With the constant demands of today’s lifestyles, looking after yourself is more important than ever. Game developers have the perfect opportunity to make beneficial and profitable experiences and create some unique games in this space. I just hope more of them realise this sooner rather than later.