Why your website needs to adopt game mechanics
Over the last 18 months, the element of gaming on Facebook has seen exponential growth. According to Bloomberg, Facebook is the world’s largest gaming portal with 100 million users. One popular game on Facebook called Farmville has more players than Twitter accounts. Zynga, the two year old company that creates games, including Farmville, expects annual revenue to pass $100 million in revenue. The traditional idea gaming is being turned upside down. It is no longer based on fantasy worlds but instead, is being integrated into our everyday lives.
In a recent AdAge article, If Life’s a Game, Why Isn’t Your Website One?, Peter Daboll said that games “have become one of the most consistently sticky, rewarding and fast-growing digital channels because they understand the irrational motivations that fuel humans.” As people spend more time in game-based experiences, they will become psychologically conditioned to respond to cues and motivations that games trigger. With this in mind, the future of business-to-consumer relationships needs to be rooted in the mechanics that make games so successful.
Peter Daboll writes about the new field of behavioral economics, the study of human irrationality, and how successful game based strategies are rooted in these principles. One of the most fundamental principles of behavioral economics is that people are desparate to be above average and as a result, they are always seeking new ways to improve themselves and prove their status. By integrating a personal measurement system into a product or service, people will be able to understand where they currently stand, and what they need to do to get ahead.
At the core of successful behavioral economics is the need for Personal Metrics. As mentioned in earlier posts Nike+ and the Toyota Prius both are examples of products that have employed the idea of game mechanics providing the individual with a point system to help user’s rank their current status and motive them to take action to improve their standing.
To create products, services, and tools that are based on Personal Metrics, companies need to pay closer attention to the fact that game based experiences are infiltrating our daily lives. By learning and adopting principles of game mechanics, companies can be better equipped to create experiences that will appeal to the irrational motivations that fuel the human psyche and create lasting relationships that customers cannot live without.