Having a good time The gaming culture
“Fundamentally, gamification is taking techniques and the psychology behind games, and using it to get more people to do more stuff more often, and for longer periods of time. “It can help your sales people be more productive, or it can boost engagement for your social channel or loyalty program.” Steve Sims, VP of Solutions and Design and Founder of the Behavior Lab at Badgeville
Millennials are putting fun at the top of their priority list, and they enjoy gaming activities because they provide them with joyful moments of achievement and community. This generation of young consumers has played with video games during their childhood, was born with computers and the Internet, visited sophisticated and technologically advanced amusement parks and watched movies on screens that bring the image incredibly close to life. The culture of play has been partly triggered by the rising popularity of all kinds of games among the young and not so young individuals. Sales of video game consoles in Brazil rose 43% in 2012, to a worth of about R$1 billion (USD$500 million), according to GfK. As of 2013, the average age for a video game player is 30, a number slowly increasing over time. Mobile app analytics firm Flurry tracked user behavior over the course of a month and found that Millennials played mobile games for fewer hours than older adults. Also, the gender distribution of gamers is reaching equilibrium, according to a 2011 study showing that 58% of gamers are male and 42% female as online, mobile and video games require less of a specific audience – Wii Sports and Wii Fit, Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga, 2048… And while Facebook’s social games are among the industry’s fastest-growing, Foursquare reported in December 2013 it had reached 45 million registered users and surpassed 5 billion check-ins.
Sales of video game consoles in Brazil rose 43% in 2012, to a worth of about R$1 billion ($500 million), according to GfK.
Online gaming has drastically increased the scope and size of gaming culture: real-time strategy, racing games, card games and sports games can all be played online. Whether trying to entertain travelers during a bus ride, or enabling city dwellers to express their creativity through urban video games, many cities now offer a multitude of renewal scenarios through the gaming medium. Marketers have certainly used the reward model for a while, to both maintain loyal customers and to gain a larger customer base. However, what’s new today is that the gamification concept is taking other directions and embracing all spheres of society.
The traditional values of respect and equality in the workplace are no longer enough; instead Millennials crave a fun and innovative work environment. The main reason Millennials switch companies is boredom, and an exciting work environment is likely to attract or help retain employees. They are looking for workplaces that create an environment where work isn’t just work, but a place where lifestyles and interests align. Companies with a “start-up spirit” like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn have embraced the ‘fun’ work environment, and are shining examples of success. Google pioneered the trend in reserving a time slot during which staff members are supposed to work on their own personal projects while at work. Since then, other corporations have been promoting fun through various activities, such as company away-days and monthly afternoons off to pursue personal development – from attending an art exhibit to a poetry slam. Research firm Gartner has predicted that “by 2015, 70% of Global 2000 organizations will use gamification in some way, whether it is for employee learning, marketing, customer retention or website usage behavior. Top companies such as Google and Astra Zeneca as well as SAP and Deloitte have implemented gamification techniques to increase engagement.”
Research firm Gartner has predicted that “by 2015, 70% of Global 2000 organizations will use gamification in some way, whether it is for employee learning, marketing, customer retention or website usage behavior.”
Meanwhile, game mechanics are being adopted for uses like corporate and vocational training, helping children learn at school, motivating employees in wellness programs, and even collaborating to solve social issues like poverty and dependence on oil. At work, gamification is a powerful tool for fusing play with work to help organizations teach, persuade, motivate and develop meaningful brand relationships with partners. Adding an element of play enhances the end-user experience, whether it’s a channel representative, employee, or a buyer.
To drive stronger levels of engagement towards a brand, marketers need to view the entire shopping experience as a game in which earning and redeeming is as much fun as leveling up, socializing, and unlocking virtual representations of achievement.
Both online and real retailers are multiplying initiatives that use gaming mechanisms to incentivize purchases.
Gaming culture is gaining great momentum among Millennials and smart retailers are finding out innovative techniques with great impact to appeal potential shoppers. Both online and real retailers are multiplying initiatives that use gaming mechanisms to incentivize purchases. Consumers can now take initiative and drive the experience by themselves. Innovative technologies (sonic, gestural, visual and holographic) are delivering playful and inspiring experiences never seen before, and success depends on interaction. Meanwhile, the boom in gaming culture, combined with a tough economic climate, has cultivated a legion of consumers willing to play for rewards. Earning points mimics the elements of a game, including competition and the pursuit of a goal. Fun, compelling and addictive game play generates exciting emotions that add to the player’s experience, whether the competition is solitary or involves others. An effective channel loyalty program makes the entire earning experience a game, one in which playing is just as fun as winning.
Philips’ Brush Busters app
Philips Sonicare launched the Brush Busters app, designed to make teeth brushing fun for kids while improving their oral hygiene habits. The free educational kids game encourages kids to help the two fictional characters Bjorn and Vicky to brush their teeth as well, and they can unlock awards when they’re doing a good job. In the meantime, parents can keep track of their kids brushing behavior while they learn.
United States, September 2014
C&A Brazil launched the “Like Ad” initiative. A tiny chip has been incorporated in pages of the popular magazine Contigo. All consumers who did register on Facebook received an exclusive copy of the magazine at home, with a custom-made printed ad. The ad had two “like” buttons, one for each of the looks displayed. When customers chose and pushed the button for their favorite look, a light went on, indicating that the vote had been taken into account. Each ‘like’ was displayed on people’s Facebook timeline as well as in the Morumbi Shopping store, showing the most liked outfit. This proved to be a smart way to bring access and show transparency about the items that are the most popular among consumers.
Brazil, August 2014
With the update of its program in fall 2013, Urban Outfitters let members earn points for mentioning the brand on Twitter or Instagram, as well as replying to in-app promotions. Urban Outfitters gave members the option to use their points to rock out with concert tickets. They also got first dibs on the retailer’s popular items and early sales alerts.
United States, October 2013
Hello Lamp Post
The Playable City is an international initiative bringing together artists, producers and engineers in order to develop playful interventions to rethink shared urban spaces. In small teams, participants explore and share each other’s ideas through art, technology, society and culture, all answering the “playable” theme. The objective is to meet the challenges that our cities will face in the future. Watershed has inaugurated the Playable City Award, a major commission for a future-facing artwork, which supported development of Hello Lamp Post last summer. Bristol has been selected as the world’s first Playable City, and Bristol’s Watershed is taking this idea to Recife in Brazil to make it the second Playable City.
United Kingdom, June 2014
Traces is an app that aims to make messaging more meaningful by enabling people to leave digital messages in physical locations for their friends to retrieve. Using a combination of geo-location and augmented reality, the app allows users to leave messages or pieces of multimedia content for others at specific locations. When recipients reach the correct GPS location, they use their phone screen to locate a floating bubble – popping the bubble unveils the secret “trace” left for them. Users can decide how long to leave the trace active for, and can send anything from video clips to concert tickets via the app. The concept aims to add real-world context to the messaging experience, making messages more meaningful than those sent via texts. The app is already partnering with brands across publishing, music and retail.
United Kingdom, August 2014
Ingress, the augmented reality multiplayer online role game that has mobile users compete in order to dominate Google Maps’ areas, is now accepting Unibail-Rodamco stores as possible areas of play. Unibail-Rodamco is about to transform 18 of their shopping malls into “portals”, which will actually be embodied in strategic locations where events will take place. This is the first time in Europe that shopping malls are integrated in a video game and support an exclusive augmented reality experience, going way beyond traditional shopping.
France, June 2014
Conscious customers don’t want to waste time in the waiting line to get their food, global fast food chain Burger King allows its customers to play a dedicated game on their smartphone and “win the right” to avoid queuing. Players in the game need to protect the chain menu that a multitude of attackers are trying to steal. Winners have 15 minutes to use their “right”.
France, October 2014
Business & Marketing guidelines
|Launch initiatives that use gaming mechanisms to incentivize consumption (both real world and virtual). Play is a tool aiming to enhance social development and engage and seduce consumers.|
|Gamification is a powerful tool for fusing play with work to help organizations teach, persuade, motivate, and develop meaningful brand relationships with channel partners.|
|Place the consumer at the heart of the initiative so that they can drive the experience, which is key to unlocking positive results.|
|Provide consumer-players with attainable targets and implementable advice to sustain encouragement and stimulate brand loyalty: a single device which simultaneously monitors the efficiency of the washing machine, the television and the bedside light will be the preferred option.|
|Offer new services and devices which contextualise – in simple terms – information about personal health or technological performance. Nobody wants to be baffled by their fridge or outwitted by their water heater.|
- Millennials are putting fun at the top of their priority list and they enjoy gaming activities as they provide joyful moments of achievement and community.
- The main reason Millennials switch companies is boredom, and an exciting work environment is likely to attract or help retain Millennial employees who crave a fun and innovative workplace.
- To drive stronger levels of engagement towards a brand, marketers need to view the entire shopping experience as a game in which earning and redeeming is as much fun as leveling up, socializing, and unlocking virtual representations of achievement.
- Sales of videogame consoles in Brazil rose 43% in 2012, to a worth of about R$1 billion (USD$500 million), according to GfK.
Experts that we recommend
French journalist at Usbek & Rica & author of book Les jeux vidéos expliqués aux vieux (10/18, 2013)
Gamification expert & author of book The Gamification Revolution: How Leaders Leverage Game Mechanics to Crush the Competition (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2013)
Research Vice President at research institute Gartner & author of book Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things (Bibliomotion Incorporated, 2014)
Insights Lead, Pop Culture & Gaming at Google