Evolution of gamification

Following an interesting post by Roman Rackwitz suggesting a progressive scale for Gamification and the ongoing Quora discussion over the next evolution of Gamification I thought I’d share my two cents worth here on the blog.

Gamification is a toolkit of many mechanics,  techniques and thinking grouped together under one umbrella heading. As such I don’t want to be specific about combinations of mechanics or even how and where they are used – there are so many uses for gamification it’s difficult to make broad categorisations along those lines.

However I think there are three basic phases that we can see with most gamification initiatives fitting somewhere on a 3 phase evolutionary scale:


Phase 1 Gamification – Discrete Mechanics

In Phase 1 Gamification, organisations use discrete mechanics borrowed from game design to apply to their problems – this might be the use of just one mechanic such as a Leaderboard (such as MTV blogger leaderboard at the Video and Music Awards last week by Leaderboarded) or  a single badge.

Phase 2  Gamification – Connected Mechanics

In Phase 2, the mechanics are connected together to produce a more ‘gamified’ overall experience. This is the full gamification approach we see as made possible with Gamification platforms such as  Badgeville used by Samsung, Bunchball’s Salesforce Nitro or Rap Artist Chamillionaire’s Chamillitary site by BigDoor.

Phase 3 Gamification – Flexible Mechanics

In Phase 3, the mechanics become flexible for use by the players themselves. We are just at the early stages of this, but witness how a manager can change the leaderboard weighting in a tool like Leaderboarded or how a manager can create their own badges in HR software Rypple. While neither of these  are true phase 3 gamification,(this is still manager led change), it is made easy through an end-user interface. I look forward to hearing of true phase 3 examples which give the players creative control with the ability to change the rules of the game.

Note: I originally called Flexible Mechanics – “Rewiring” in this post but the name doesn’t matter that much, it’s the principle that counts. 


Toby Beresford

Toby is founder and CEO of Rise the success tracking network to track, publish and share success. He was the 2013 chair of Gamfed.com - the International Gamification Confederation and organises the UK Gamifiers meetup. As a gamification leader, he speaks at conferences and hosts workshops. Follow him on twitter @tobyberesford and Subscribe to this blog at Gamification Of Work blog feed

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