Por qué gamification?

GamificationFor text in Englsh, please, scroll down

En el post anterior, hablé sobre gamification y sobre los juegos.

Entonces, llega el momento de pensar como un diseñador de juegos y comprender, de esta manera, la capacidad fundamental para  gamification. La mejor manera de llegar a estas respuestas, es comenzar por otra preguntar: por qué gamification?  Por que tomar un site o un proceso de negocio y hacerlo similar a un juego si estamos interesados en resultados serios y conseguir serios objetivos del mundo real?

Para responder, hay un ejemplo óptimo: Dodgeball. Dodgeball fue uno de las primeras aplicaciones con éxito para smart phone. Fue desarrollado por un grupo de graduados del Interdisciplinary Technology Program en NYU. A este grupo de estudiantes les gustaba pasarsu tiempo libre en bares así que crearn una app para personas qu tienen la misma afición. El funcionamiento es muy conocido: Dodgeball facilita un mapa que muestra dónde estamos y dónde se puede hacer check-in y decir: “esty aquí”. Como consecuencia de estos check-in, los locales adquirieron relevancia y la app importancia, por lo que la compró Google. Pero surgieron los primeros inconvenientes, principalmente a la hora de expandirse en nuevas zonas, donde se muestra en mapa en blanco, lo que no invita a hacer check-in. Además, cuando vas a ir a un local por recomendación de Dodgeball ( los check-in que ves en el mapa) quieres tener toda la información sobre el mismo; y ésta no estaba.

Dennis Crowley. uno de los fundadores de Dodgeball decidió dejar Google y crear Foursquare. La diferencia entre una plataforma u otra, es esencialmente, la gamification. Por qué es la gran diferencia entre ambas apps? Primero porque con elementos de gamification – tales como puntos, badges y rankings – se consigue la recurrencia y por tanto, se crea el hábito de volver una y otra vez a utilizar la app.  En segundo lugar, porque la app de Dodgeball es bastante unitaria, es decir, sólo la posibilidad de hacer o no hacer check-in no es suficiente para crear una relación porque limita la motivación.

Por tanto, el punto de mejora de Dodgeball, que llevó a cabo Foursquare fue crear el hábito de hacer check-in en repetidas ocasiones. Uno de los puntos más importantes es crear la figura del “Alcalde” (badge y por tanto un ranking, que se consigue a través de acumular check-in en el mismo local, es decr, puntos) y la facilidad de comunicarla a los amigos y conocidos a través Facebook y Twitter.

El éxito de ambas compañías ha sido muy diferente y por sólo una razón: gamification. Ésta es la poderosa razón por la que aproximar el proceso de negocio a la gamification puede ayudar a conseguir los objetivos, aquellos objetivos serios del mundo real.

I’ve talked some now about what gamification is and about what games are.
It’s time to get into the challenge of thinking like a game designer, understanding problems through the lens of what I call game thinking, the core skill for gamification. And I’d like to start doing that by posing a fundamental question. Why gamify? Why would you even think to take a site or a business process and try to make it more game-like if you’re interested in some serious results and achieving some real world serious objectives. So, let’s look at an example and try to think about why gamification made sense for this service. The example is Dodgeball. Dodgeball was one of the first successful smart phone applications. It was developed by a group of graduates from the Interdisciplinary Technology Program at NYU. And these guys like to hang around in bars. So they built an app for people who like to hang around in bars. Here you see a screenshot of the web client and Dodgeball gave you this map that showed you where you were and then you could check in. And say, here I am. I’m at this location right here. This bar that’s on this street. And then you can see where your friends were. Where other people were who were using the application where they had checked in. And this got some notoriety. Started to get some pickup in New York and San Francisco and places like that. And in fact, Google bought the company. But, Dodgeball had a problem. The problem was that it’s a chicken and egg situation. If lots of your friends are on Dodgeball, and there’s lots of check-ins that you can find, then there’s a great incentive for you to check-in as well. You want to get access to all the information. You get a lot of value from seeing all of your friends and you know they will get a lot of value from seeing what you’re doing. On the other hand, if you go to Dodgeball and there’s a blank map, not too much reason for you to bother checking in. So, how does the service get to critical mass? Get above that level where there’s a not, not enough acti vity to get people involved. So, that was one of the basic challenges that Dodgeball had. After leaving Google, Dennis Crowley, one of the founders of Dodgeball started a new company, they had a fairly similar basic structure. It involved going and checking
in on a mobile client at locations that you would go to. But this time, his new company, Foursquare implemented what we would now call gamification. So think
about, why would Foursquare use gamification? What are some of the aspects of this service that we saw originally in Dodgeball, that might lend themselves to a gamified approach? There’s a number of different things that you might come up with and there is clearly no right answer. But let’s think about some of the aspects of this problem that might make gamification appropriate. The first is that Dodgeball had what we could call an engagement gap. It needed to get more people to engage within use the serviceand making the service fun, making theservice feel more engaging and game-like is certainly a powerful way to do that. The second is that, Dodgeball didn’t havea lot of variety in it. Basically, it was check-in or don’t check-in and then again, you could get some analytics or information, as well as seeing where your friends were checking in but there weren’t too many different things to do but there weren’t too many different things to do. And when things are unitary like that, where it’s either do something or don’t do something, it doesn’t tend to engage people as much, unless there’s some very direct result that they get. If it’s go to this website, click a button buy this product, then you can see the relationship. But if it’s not that clear, if there’s some value in the exchange but it’s not as direct having options, having choices as we talked about in discussing games with meaningful choices could potentially make the experience more popular. And the next is that Dodgeball didn’t really have any progression. Check-in or not, you really didn’t get anywhere by virtue of what you d id. And so, checking in the hundredth time was kind of like checking in the first time, again limited the motivation of players to want to participate actively in that system. The good news is that Dodgeball was a very social application. It involved
relationships with your friends. And social interaction is very powerfully tied to games because we love to compete against our friends. We love to collaborate, and share, and team up with our friends. We love to have status visa
vis our friends and also see what out friends our doing. And so all of that is potentially quite consistent with a gamified approach. And finally, there was an opportunity with a service like Dodgeball to make the action a habit. So, those are few of the reasons that I think gamification seemed to make sense for Foursquare, the successor service to Dodgeball. So let’s look at what Foursquare did. The most prominent thing that it did was implemented a concept called Mayorships.
So, if you check in the most times, out of everyone who’s checked in at that particular location, [sound] you’re the
Mayor on Foursquare. And here you see the badge, badges is another aspect of gamification in Foursquare I’ll talk
about. This is the badge that you get for being the mayor of ten locations at the same time. It’s actually the super mayor
badge. But it’s a representation of that achievement of becoming the mayor. And Foursquare buil t a system that made it
very easy to notify your friends on Twitter and Facebook that you’ve become the mayor of a place, who you displaced as
the mayor. It created this friendly competition which made the act of checking in, something more fun and something that had more of a reward to it. Not necessarily a monetary reward, although some venues do give incentives to people
who are mayors. But a reward in that you see something and other people see that you are on top when you become the mayor of a venue. Simple but potentially valuable use of gamification. And then
Foursquare built a whole other set of game mechanics around this check-in process. So this was a screenshot from the Foursquare page of Dennis Crowley, the CEO of Foursquare. And you see a variety of data points about what he’s done. And then here on the right you see the badges. Badges were an important element of what Foursquare did. They allowed them to create much more richness of the service. Remember I said choises are important and
progression is important. Badges gave all sorts of options. Again, it’s still just checking in but now checking in becomes a much more variated kind of activity. It depends where you check in. If you check in at a certain place like a health club, you get a badge. If you check into the health club a certain number of times, you get another badge. If you check in at, say
a conference, like South by Southwest, there are special purpose badges you get that you can only get there. So suddenly,
this one act of checking in, becomes something that seems very rich and complex and nuanced for the users. It also is
something that allows you to level up. So, Foursquare implemented different levels within their badges, so checking into an airport gives you one badge. But checking into twenty different airports say, gives
you a higher level of that badge which is harder to get. And Foursquare also had an independent leveling system based on points for number of check-ins which you see here. Dennis was a super user le vel three when this screen shot was taken. And these are all examples of game mechanics built around the basic process of checking
in. Did it work? Well, Foursquare now has over twenty million users. They’ve raised over $70 million in venture capital,
valuing the company over $600 million and they’ve successfully overcome challenges from major companies like Facebook that got into this social location marketplace. Now, Facebook Foursquare still has a long way to go and correlation isn’t causation. That doesn’t necessarily tell us that the game mechanics were the reason for their
success. This is something that will come back to later. But it’s worth thinking about how the gamification that Foursquare implemented ties back to the challenges that they face. So, consider how
gamification addressed the engagement gap, the desire for habit formation, the need
for more choices and more progression, and taking advantage of the social dimension
of what Four Square was doing. That’s the kind of thought process that you need to
engage in, in approaching problems through the lens of game design.

Adapted from the text, written by Prof. K. Werbach.

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