5 game mechanics Gen Y now demands from every marketer

flickr carolyncoles

Game Mechanics, those intrinsic elements of the best games, are something Gen Y has grown up with.

Now they are consumers they simply expect the same quality from every product, service and brand they subscribe to.

In this post I’ll be using stories from the Weight Watchers web site as illustrations of the principle in action.

What are the 5 game mechanics that Gen Y expects?

1. Clear Goals

In every game, clear goals and quests help the player navigate through the experience. Without goal clarity players can easily lose their way or switch tracks to a game which makes it clear.

Marketers must provide clear goals for each consumer (research paper 1999). Lisa, 31, set a realistic goal weight she needed to get to.

2. Trackable Progress

In a game we have a progress bar, showing how many points we’ve achieved and how many more we need to get to the next level.

Marketers should provide trackable progress bars so consumers know how far they’ve come and how much further they have to go to reach their goal.  Kate, 25, tracked everything and set mini goals till she got to her final goal weight.

3. Shareable Status

Status within a game, how big your farm is, this week’s score on Bejewelled Blitz or your character’s level, is only relevant when it is shareable in the context of a community you care about.

Marketers should make achieved status shareable and relevant within the community of the consumer. Bryher, 25, blogged all the way to achieving her goal.

4. Social Visibility

This is the flip side of shareable status – we also like to see how friends are getting on. Whether this is comparing our kill score with team mates in halo or checking out a friend’s pet in Pet Society visibility of what others are up to, is crucial to keep us engaged.

Marketers should make activity visible to friends of the consumer, often this means some sort of Facebook outlet. Laura,24, found that not feeling alone was helpful in her weight loss journey.

5. Reward Schedules

Achieving goals in a game is rewarded, whether simply with “you’re on to the next level” or by a badge “you’ve just killed 20 zombies in a row”.

Marketers should reward consumers who successfully reach goals with tangible and intangible goods. These need to be a balance of intrinsic rewards that you would have got anyway with doing the reward (ultimate goal weight celebrations) and extrinsic rewards that amplify the instrinsic ones.


Featured photo credit: Carolyn Coles via Flickr

Toby Beresford

Toby is co-founder of Pailz and a serial web applications entrepreneur. Pailz is team task management social and gamified. In the past he developed social games on Facebook for big brands, community software for small groups and enterprise web apps for massive corporations. Follow him on twitter @tobyberesford and Subscribe to this blog at Gamification Of Work blog feed

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