Historically, gaming has long been thought of as nothing more than a fun hobby to pass time, and those who enjoy gaming as adults can often be seen as immature or nerdy.
However, gaming has made its way into the mainstream in recent years as more and more people realize the various benefits of gamification. Whether it is implemented in marketing, training and education, or even more esoteric applications like therapy, adding gameplay elements consistently increases engagement and interaction.
Gamification Motivates Success
There is a reason why hardcore PC gamers often spend thousands of dollars setting up a perfect gaming PC.
Success is the ultimate driving force in gamification; goes without saying that it is what nearly all games strive for. Having fun is just a pleasant side-goal of experiencing success within a game. Success and achievement are to goals so integral to the experience of gamification that many games offer up trophies for completing a variety of extremely difficult tasks that go above and beyond the central game experience.
This pursuit and subsequent rewarding of success means that gamification is ideal for a whole host of applications outside of entertainment. Gamification can be particularly helpful in counseling, as they can offer sensory stimuli and increased engagement which can have therapeutic effects. Even the act of playing any video game, regardless of whether it was designed as a counseling tool, can help to reduce stress and improve moods.
Gamification can trigger powerful human emotions, and even businesses that implement gamification can see customers develop a real bond with gamified products. Fitness apps almost always have some level of gamification involved by allowing users to compete against either other users or a set of goals dictated by the app itself. Duolingo, a popular language learning app, also uses gamification as a way to reward user’s success in learning a new language, making it one of the most widely used language learning tools on the market today.
It Adds a Sense of Depth and Curiosity
Games, especially tabletop role-playing games, offer players the opportunity to explore creatively and engage in unique problem solving. A good Game Master creates a world that characters can feel a part of and interact with on many different levels, essentially putting them into a sandbox to see what they will do and how they will react. Players are presented with a problem that has many different solutions, and it is up to them to decide how they want to approach solving it. Whether they use cunning or force, they are still making creative problem solving decisions.
Gamification has the potential to enter the mainstream in a very big way, especially since the millennial generation is starting to flex their economic muscles and grew up with video games as a part of everyday life. Millennials inherently understand games because they were raised with them, and gamification provides an extra layer of complexity and depth to any task. Games are not only a great way to provide entertainment, but they also offer an opportunity to educate and teach valuable skills.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are both great examples of how gamification can be beneficial to educating efforts. Mobile applications that take advantage of AR can show a whole array of information and statistics about the world around the user by overlaying the information on top of real, physical objects. VR and AR can be used to create training and educational programs that turn learning into a pleasurable experience with clear, attainable goals.
Additionally, live-action role-playing (LARP) games are inherently social, which can be used as an advantage. LARP games can be used to teach history by letting students or participants immerse in historically accurate scenes. The costumes, weapons, and dialogue make history more entertaining than it would be to have the usual discussion in the classroom.
Gamification Is the Future of Business
Gamification is already working its way into culture, advertising, and business the world over. Escape rooms are a popular team building exercise that challenge individuals’ lateral thinking, problem solving, and teamwork skills. Corporations have taken notice of the benefits of gamification, and soon it will not be surprising to see elements of gamification introduced to training, marketing, and even daily work tasks in any given business.
Work can be made fun through even the simplest of gamification methods. Leaders can implement gamification methods to any aspect of a job, assigning points for particular achievements which can create a healthy level of competition between employees. While rewarding positive work has been a staple of business management for years, gamification makes the work itself a reward in a sense.
Generation Z and millennials will respond particularly well to the introduction of gamification to the world of business, as games have been a part of their entire lives and can spur nostalgic positive feelings. Businesses will have to balance the management of an incredibly varied generational workforce, but gamification will certainly help younger generations stay more engaged and driven.
Gamification isn’t just a way to make something more fun to participate in, but it also makes for a more engaging and effective experience. Gamification rewards creative success intrinsically, and adds complexity and depth to any task. Eventually we will see gamification as just another part of daily life instead of a passing fad or gimmick. Until then, enjoy your games to the fullest!