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Future of Engagement: Behavior Change Games

Future of Engagement: Behavior Change Games | Living together |

Today people use the power of games, networks and data to change their behavior.


Behavior Change Games use game design elements and the power of communities to motivate people to achieve challenging tasks in the real world. Behavior change games have been used to enable people to lead a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, recover from illness and injury, manage time and money, learn new skills, and engage with political and social causes.


The rise of behavior change games can be tracked to three changes in how people play games.


First, social games on Facebook have widened the appeal of games beyond the video gaming niche of kids and young adults. For instance, Zynga’s Farmville had more than 83 million monthly active users at its peak.


Second, marketers, entrepreneurs and change makers have adapted game design principles in contexts other than entertainment, to design marketing and loyalty programs, social networks and training software, and serious games for social impact. For instance, location-based social network Foursquare, which uses gamification to make “checking-in” more fun, crossed 25 million users in September 2012.


And, third, the explosion in personal, social and location data has led to the popularity of the quantified self movement, enabling people to track and change their behaviors. For instance, 10 million people use personal finance management service to track over $80 billion in credit and debit transactions and almost $1 trillion in loans and assets.


Behavior change games use the power of games, networks and data to help people create meaningful change. In 2012, a number of niche behavior change games emerged across a diverse range of topics.


Quentiq, FitBit, Nexercise, Healthrageous, Hotseat, Jawbone UP, Striiv and Zamzee help people track their workouts and activity automatically. Fitocracy, SuperBetter, Habitual, SlimKicker, Hubbub, HealthMonth, Mindbloom, HealthyHeroes and Goalpost help people become healthier and develop good habits. PracticallyGreen, RecycleBank and OPower help people adopt a greener lifestyle and save electricity. Mint and Payoff help people manage their finances and debt. Urgent Evoke and World Without Oil educate people about social issues and encourage them to contribute to solutions. Code Academy and DuoLingo help people master a programming language, or learn French. Epic Win and The Email Game help people increase their productivity and complete tasks or clear their email inbox. Finally, Goodify, Keas, Shape Up and Youtopia are focused on organizations and schools, and help them motivate employees and students to volunteer or get fit.


Some of these behavior change games have also created social impact at scale. Shape Up has helped 700,000 people lose 1 million pounds, PayOff has helped members pay off $41 million of debt, and OPower has helped people reduce energy consumption by 1.6 billion kilowatt hours and save $179 million on electricity bills.


The success of behavior change games shows that people can change deeply entrenched behaviors and form lasting good habits, if they are able to break up big challenges into small goals, receive feedback on their progress, and tap into their networks for support.


This is not surprising. Game researcher Jane McGonigal, who is also the author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World explains why such games work:


“Gamers spend on average 80% of their time failing in game worlds, but instead of giving up, they stick with the difficult challenge and use the feedback of the game to get better. With some effort, we can learn to apply this resilience to the real-world challenges we face.”


This has been your prime minister of fun and mischief. Let the games begin! Come join me spread the fun, follow me on Twitter @hubiesocial. I'd love to hear from you.


Via Hubert Cosico
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Rescooped by Socius Ars from Republic of Gamification!

Gamification: Playing Your Digital Cards Right (Excerpt)

Gamification: Playing Your Digital Cards Right (Excerpt) | Living together |

Here are my key takeaways from Accenture’s latest whitepaper entitled "Playing Your Digital Cards Right":


Gamification means taking the essence of what makes games so addictive and applying it to non game contexts, such as enhancing productivity or influencing consumer behavior to drive real business benefits.


Gamification provides companies with the ability to offer a more interactive engaging and differentiated customer experience, achieved through a range of features such as challenges, contests and rewards.


By 2015, according to Gartner Inc., spending in the gaming and gaming-related markets is projected to reach $112 billion.


More than 70% of Forbes Global 2,000 companies will have at least one gamified application by 2014, primarily in areas of recruitment, learning and career development and health and wellness.


Nearly half of Southeast Asia’s Internet users play online games every week and mobile phone ownership is approaching 90% in the region. Regional digital gaming market is expected to more than double to $30.3 billion between now and 2016, accounting for nearly 60% of GLOBAL sales.


This growth potential is brought about by the emergence of Generation Y and the decline of traditional marketing media.


Born between 1980 and 2000, Generation Y or the so-called “digital natives”, is the first generation to grow up with the Internet, social networks and smartphones. Gen Yers appear to prefer non face-to-face communication and seem to have a proclivity to instant gratification.


To influence Gen Y’s behavior, businesses have to communicate with them through the methods and channels that they relate best.


Gen Yers seem to place a premium on the recommendations of “friends” – which nowadays includes the opinion of trusted social networks.


Gen Yers typically love to multi-task. Corollary to this desire for on-going, continuous stimulation and personal recognition is that many of them lack long-term commitment to their work or employer and will readily change jobs.


The challenge is to figure out what hooks these Gen Yers as consumers, as workers and as members of other important communities. The answer is the nearest keyboard, digital device or game controller. In 2009, 82% of American kids aged between 2 and 17 played computer games. A year later, this jumped to 91%.


As the digital era leads to an erosion of the effectiveness of traditional marketing and advertising approaches, companies need to find fresh ways to engage attention. Gamification presents a new opportunity for differentiation as marketers search to enter consumers” digital “walled-gardens”.


What are the 7 essential characteristics that make gaming so addictive?


1. Status: The significance of acclaim and accomplishment, denoted by symbols of success (badges, tokens, coins) that are acknowledged and respected within the social community constitute powerful motivators.


2. Metrics of Success: Enabling the player to perceive progress toward an ultimate goal through incremental accomplishments is vital to sustaining interest and participation.


3. Competition: Pitting and individual against others, or groups against groups, in a competitive context is a major motivational factor in maintaining engagement.


4. Ranking and Leaderboards: Visual displays enable the player to track performance both against his/her goals and relative to others.


5. Social connectedness: One of the great appeals of gaming is that it establishes a link that facilitates and encourages engagement with others.


6. Immersion reality: There is huge appeal in games’ visual stimulation, their highly detailed graphics, their smooth paced animation, and overall, their ability to make the player feel completely immersed in their virtual reality.


7. Personalization and self-expression: Choices empower players and make them feel engaged. Customization of self-representation (avatar) promotes a sense of ownership in the game and is an alluring element.


This has been your prime minister of fun and mischief. Let the games begin! Come join me spread the fun, follow me on Twitter @hubiesocial. I'd love to hear from you.

Via Hubert Cosico
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