In a game called ‘Super Mario’, Mario (the plumber) braves through dangerous lands and rescues the Princess Toadstool along with finding seven scattered star fragments. During this journey, Mario fights off the evil creatures in multiple battles – collecting a broken star at the end of each battle.
A decade ago, Mario was popular among teenagers who would gather around their Nintendo consoles/TV during their vacations.
Today, video gaming is a fast-evolving industry. The average age of a person playing games is 37 years; more than 50% of the players fall in the age group of 18-49 years. Video gaming platforms have grown beyond just TV and Web. More than half of the gamers play on their handhelds or mobile devices. Intensified competition in the mobile platforms (Google vs. Apple) has fostered a sophisticated ecosystem, which enables the delivery of a rich user experience through mobile devices. It would be very appropriate to say that video games are as popular as music and videos among mobile users. For an enterprise, this translates into a growing user adoption among users with strong purchasing power.
Many popular social-network based products have starting emulating gamified user experience in their business model. By providing game-like features, consumers are given a chance to earn points and reach milestones. From a consumer behavior this means two things:
A worthwhile mention of a product that emulates this concept is Foursquare. Users earn badges on foursquare, based on the number of times they check-in during a store visit (restaurant, electronics stores, etc.) Based on the badges earned, the users receive deals close to locations of ‘check-in’.
Enterprises across the globe are looking to capitalize on this emerging trend. Gartner research indicates that more than 70 percent of the Global 2000 organizations are expected to have one gamified application by 2014.
Organizations are willing to embrace gamification as a means of attracting talent among the young work force. As online users get habituated to rich social media-based (and gamification-based) experience, users tend to expect a similar offering from their employer – How many times have you run a finger down a TV screen hoping it would scroll down like an iPhone?
As far as value-add to the employer is concerned, providing visibility to an employee on work progress and (virtual) rewards boosts the employee morale and encourages the person to take the work to next level.
Gamification is a potential candidate for customer relationship strategy. Brands could anticipate increased user traffic by introducing an already familiar gamified user experience at relevant touch points. Customers can operate in an ecosystem that immediately gratifies them for their actions – an added boost to an already existing collaborative mechanism.
Although there is a growing momentum in the industry adoption of gamification, it would be interesting to see how enterprises are open to presenting their core product and service offerings to their customers based on concepts from an entertainment world!