Gamification has received a lot of hype and hate over the past few years. Gabe Zichermann, thought leader in the space, recognizes the “badge fatigue”, predicting a major backlash in the near future as everything become gamified. He’s probably right; however, those that execute well-integrated and intuitive game mechanics into their product have the ability to disrupt long-standing market leaders.
Take Turntable.fm as an example. It has completely changed my music listening habits overnight since its launch just over a month ago. I used to camp out on Hype Machine, Pandora, or 22tracks while at work or the cafe but now I find myself clicking my Turntable bookmark instead. I enjoy the social interaction, one of Turntable’s greatest strengths, but the majority of my use is DJ’ing with the music on in the background with the window minimized. So why use a social music site without being social? Because I want points! I want that blinged out gorilla avatar! I want fans! And I’m not the only one.
Why do the same thing on one site when I can earn cred, content, and a feeling of progression elsewhere?
There’s a huge opportunity to replicate existing experiences or products with game mechanics at the core. Here are a few other examples of this:
- Quora has not only changed Q&A but also blogging for many. Why blog on your personal site that no one reads when you can earn valuable reputation points and exposure by posting your opinions on Quora?
- Lockerz is a mess of media and ecommerce experiences (they should simplify and focus, imho) layered with a point system rewarded for engagement. One of their offerings is photo sharing where users can earn 10 PTZ for every photo they share. Why post to Instagram when you can unlock stuff by posting to Lockerz?
- Fatwallet offers cashback and crowdsourced deals for purchases made through its platform. Why go directly to merchant sites when you can “game the MSRP” for a discount using Fatwallet?
How can we make everyday experiences such as email, ecommerce, fitness, diet, education, social interaction, and media consumption more rewarding and sticky with game mechanics?