Gamification – From Player to Professional

The brand of Gamification has been changing since it’s conception. This article looks to explore the  the theme of our upcoming conference and hopefully to generate some discussion points before the conference.

Here are some of the sub-themes we will explore in this article:

  • Gamification is moving into the ‚Slope of Enlightment‘ and what this means
  • By learning from our mistakes we are becoming a profession and we propose that the community can lead from the inside out to generate a new standardized system of ‚best practice‘ which can be applied onto new projects for maximum success
  • Gamification has successfully become a singular area of study rather than the cross-discipline it once was

Out of the ‚Trough‘

Gamification has not been on the Gartner hype cycle since 2014. Is this a subtle hint to pack our bags, to move on? We don’t think so. Gartner gave Gamification a decade to go through the cycle, so  we argue that it actually needs a chance to go through the cycle. In 2014, gamification was heading towards the ‚Trough of Disillusionment‘. We suggest that the past few years have seen us through the trough and we’re now embracing a new era of gamification and feel this needs to be dicussed and reviewed. To find what flourishes and what fails and to cultivate or cut the relevant aspects.

Gartner Hype Cycle - Gamification Europe 2018

What is this new era? It’s the regrowth. New practitioners are coming into the sphere everyday, either because they are interested in learning the techniques or participating in the thought-leader aspect of the community. How we as practitioners, direct our efforts over the next few years will determine how the new entrants embrace or are able to enhance gamification.

Becoming a Profession by Learning from our Mistakes

Last year our conference highlighted the failures which many of our speakers experienced and how they overcame them. They detailed the woes, the mistakes and incorrect implementations of features leading to projects which were unsuccessful. Even some projects that were objectivelysuccessful were deemed as a failure in the eyes of the individuals who ran the projects.

 Why do gamification practitioners still experience failure? If our projects keep on failing doesn’t that suggest that maybe we haven’t become a profession?  By establishing ourselves as an industry, one of the strongest things we can do  is to admit these mistakes, see where we’ve gone wrong, to share with the community and learn from them.

Gamification design is going to have mistakes, in fact, mistakes should be expected in most design projects. Expecting to get things right first time is naive. The mind engages with mistakes and, where you share them, it can strike a new model or approach that you generate so as not to experience the same fault again.

From a Cross-Discipline Community to a Profession

Gamification was initially an assortment of several interest areas that have threaded together to eventually become its own profession, which has been designed and accepted by the community itself. To illustrate: Bartle’s player types were used to analyse gameplay, based on players of MUD’s in the 1990’s and was found by many practitioners of gamification to be lacking key aspects that could be applied to gamification and how other aspects of gamification integrate. A gamification-based system was generated by Andrzej Marczewski, which has been widely adopted  in the industry.

This single example shows how we’ve gone from a series of collective professions to an industry profession in and of itself which generates it’s own frameworks and models when approaching problems.

Conclusions and Key Takeaways

First, we’d like to challenge the idea that mistakes and failures are ‚an end to the game‘. If you do not complete a game level on the first try you look to see where you went wrong, you try with different techniques and you go all in. Become a better player overall . Better yet, by sharing our mistakes and failures we can help others avoid them which will surely generate such growth in the community.

Register now for the Gamification Europe 2018 Conference in Amsterdam (November 26/27, 2018).

About The Author

Kira Downer

Undergraduate studying Business Management at the University of Brighton. Interested in personal branding, self presentation online and Gamification.

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