I recently posted on The Game Layer, and included a presentation from a DDB colleague on the trend. I’ve been playing with Foursquare, Farmville and Empire Avenue as well as watching with interest as many brands start to build Game Mechanics into their programs. However, even at this nascent stage, we should ask ourselves whether this is a real trend with staying power or something which will burn out and fade away? Or something in-between.
Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang wrote a recap of an inpromptu round-table discussion the research company had to discuss the phenomenon of gamification. I really liked these three main points to come out of it:
Opportunities Abound –But Benefits Not Clear Agreed. From Owyang: Intel shared its needs from a brand perspective: to engage with customers, focusing on reach and advocacy. Other potential use cases may include branded goods and couponing. What’s in it for the users of these tools? Anything from entertainment, connecting with others, or even increasing visiblity and reputation.
Skepticism: Questioning on Burnout and User Desire Reputation, points or badges are great, but driving a more real value like coupons, premium content, or other real world tangible ability is paramount. Many people are not driven by reputation and badges –they just want to connect with others and communicate. Others may just not want to be, or grow tired of, being manipulated within a game construct with no end and, as above, with no value.
Concerns on Platform Interoperability . This feels like a bit of a red herring as the space is so new but if it continuesto grow apace it will become an issue for the hardcore, just like OpenID. By its very nature, gamification is built on a case by case basis so unless an aggregator appears its not likely to be an issue – all these platforms have APIs so its the most likely scenario
But even as we start to discuss this, it seems as if one of gamification’s pioneers (Foursquare) is seeing a dearth of check-ins which are pivotal to and supposedly driven by, the game layer:
Click to enlarge.