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What is Gamification?

Gamification means ‘applying game mechanics to non-games’.

Michael Wu clarifies it as “the use of game attributes to drive game-like player behavior in a non-game context”

The classic example of Gamification in action is the application Foursquare which gives users badges for ‘checking in’ to various places. By rewarding users in a game like way, Foursquare achieves its underlying objective of gathering data on the places you and your friends have been.

Gamification in practice splits into two main types  – heavyweight gamification centred around rapid feedback  experienced in the environment that is gamified (pop up badges, in-app progress bars and so on) and lightweight gamification that provides players discrete, regular feedback e.g. a weekly report, about their activity and progress in one or more alternative environments.

There are a number of Gamification Vendors –  heavyweight champions include Badgeville, Bunchball, PunchTab and BigDoor.  For lightweight gamification, the champion platforms are Leaderboarded, Gametize and Credly.

“Gamification of Work” refers to the application of game mechanics to day-to-day work within a company. A typical example would be to use a reward mechanic. For a sales team this might be a bonus for successful sales contracts, or for a service team it  might be an honor: such as ’employee of the month’.


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Toby Beresford

Toby is CEO of gamified performance management platform Rise. He was the 2013 founding chair of - the International Gamification Confederation and organises the UK Gamifiers meetup. As a gamification thought 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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