Fun is the Future: Mastering Gamification

>> ZICHERMAN: Thanks, Chris. That’s a–it’s a–it’s
always funny to hear your bio read out loud because you realize you’re very sensitive
to every like word–I wrote that bio so I–it’s my writing, yes. So, you’re very sensitive
to every word. And then also, no matter what my accomplishments are, I’m humbled by the
quality of your kitchens. I think it’s like one day I aspire to have a company that has
kitchens like that, where today I made my own espresso, which I’ll enjoy for a second.
So, as you heard my name is Gabe Zicherman. I do a bunch of stuff around gamification.
And today I wanted to talk with you guys about–it’s a little bit presumptuous to use the phrase
“mastering” with something as new and as slippery as gamification, but we’ll do our best. I’m
going to share some of the top insights gleaned from researching the book, Game-Based Marketing,
which came out in April, work that we do with brands big and small everyday. I work on the
Summit and the research that goes into the new book, Gamification by Design, which is,
as Chris mentioned, a techbook that will come out at the beginning of the year. So, when
biting off a topic like gamification, or any topic for example, I like metaphors. So I
thought a pretty good metaphor–I realized that pretty good metaphors can be found in
the movie Mary Poppins. And if you’re too young or too straight to know this basic story
of Mary Poppins, I’m going to recount it for you. It’s the story of a hard-hearted but
turns out fundamentally nice guy with two really, really, super sweet children, really,
really darling children. And they need a nanny so they write up an ad and this woman on an
umbrella comes flying into their lives. She has magic powers like being able to levitate
or jump into a chalk drawing and at the end all is well, which is an important part of
the story. All ends well in the story of Mary Poppins. So think of me as your “Mary Poppins,”
down the sort of rabbit hole of gamification. I mixed literary metaphors there. Well, if
you would like to talk about Alice in Wonderland later, we can talk about that. So, as Chris
mentioned, I’m the author of these books, Game-Based Marketing, which you can get now.
I blog at It’s a gamification blog. We talk all about the subject. I advise
startups. I talk about interesting things. And then, as Chris also mentioned, we have
some upcoming events related to gamification. If you are currently working on a gamification
project, either from a product, or marketing, or design side, you might be interested in
November 12th’s San Francisco Bay’s Gamification Workshp. Amy, Joe, Kim and I will give a hands-on
full day, come in with your problems and we solve them working together workshop. It’s
actually almost sold out but if you’re interested in going, let me know. There’s really like
one seat left at it. And then in January, we’re running here in San Francisco again
the Gamification Summit which is a full day of–a full day event focused on the subject.
Bringing together some of the most interesting thought leaders like Jane McGonagall, who’ll
be revealing her new book. I’ll be giving a keynote on metrics which I know you guys
love. We’ll talk about all that kind of stuff. Okay, so let’s begin with a simple word definition.
Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems and engage
audiences. Four square. Not the product, but the four squares there. So, it’s game thinking
and game mechanics. And this is really super important, game thinking is the product of
three generations of game players. I’m 36 years old. I’m the old–hi, my name is Gabe.
I’m 36 years old and I’m the oldest cohort of people who grew up with games as a core
type of entertainment in their lives. Today’s youngest children, you know, kids were–well,
the youngest children will be like just born. But kids who are, you know, maybe five years
old today are growing up with games as their principal form of entertainment and that multi-generational
exposure has simply affected the way that we think. You know, if Shakespeare was a real
person–this is the best analogy–if Shakespeare was a real person, he wrote–he or she wrote,
“All the world is a stage,” famously, right? But if Shakespeare were alive today, wouldn’t
he have written, “All the world is a game,” because isn’t it just a better metaphor for
how we think about interactivity in the world. And that really gets to the heart of what
game thinking is. It’s solving problems and engaging audiences using a rubric that comes
from games. Okay, so let’s talk about some of the main things that we’ve learned from
it. How many of you in the audience recognize some of the things up on the board right now?
Any of them? Okay. These are some of the top selling games of the last five years. And
they include–I’m not kidding–being a male technician, diapering a baby, being a waitress,
running a farm, being an air traffic controller, which as many of you know is the highest suicide,
highest stress position in the entire world. I mean, if you would come into a game publisher
five years ago and said, “I’ve got a great idea. We’re going to make a game where you
play an air traffic controller, planes could crash, what do you think? Sound good,” right?
You’ll be laughed out of the room. That doesn’t sound like fun. That doesn’t sound like fun
at all. It highlights a really important conclusion which is fun and the theme of the thing which
are fun are actually not connected. If you’ve been in a casino before and you’ve seen the
Oprah Winfrey branded slot machine and the Harley Davidson branded slot machine and the
neutral slot machine, you all as science-oriented people are aware, the slot machine acts on
your brain the exact same way. Once you choose to sit down in front of that slot machine,
same behavior in your brain, same engagement loop, same reaction. “Ding, ding, ding, oh,
yeah, ding, ding, ding,” right? It’s the same thing. It doesn’t matter which brand is on
the front of the slot machine. Theme is a lure to bring people in to an engaging experience.
It’s a lure. And that has important implications. That means, if air traffic control can be
fun my friends, anything can be fun, right? It’s an opportunity. It means we can turn
government. we can make government fun. We can make getting fit fun. We can make searching
fun or more fun. All right, so it, of course, begs the question, you know, “What is fun?”
So, I put some words in a word generator. And I put them up on the board. Some–the
words on the top are things which normally people associate with fun and the words on
the bottom are words that normally people associate with work. And what’s interesting
is, you know, there’s a big bright line drawn between the two of them in my childhood. You
know, I grew up in a house in which my mom said, “Eat your vegetables and then you can
have dessert,” right? “Eat your vegetables and then you can go out to play.” There is
a theme around vegetables. So, these things though are arbitrary distinctions. They’re
arbitrary. These are lines drawn by people in the air that say, “This is fun and this
is not.” If you’re a parent in the room, if I could deliver for you a piece of cake that
had the same nutritive value as broccoli, the exact same nutritive value as broccoli,
can you honestly tell me that you would never cave and give your kids broccoli cake, right?
The point is these lines are arbitrary. They–them–they’re meaningless. We can make anything fun or anything
work depending on its design. And that’s a very important kind of like switch that’s
being flipped in people’s heads and they’re going, “Oh, okay.” So, I can make anything
engaging–and you really can–which brings you a question my favorite allegory in this
whole story. So I played a game that many of you might recognize called, “Where in the
World is Carmen Sandiego?” If you played it, put your hand up. If you played it on the
Apple II, keep your hand up. Okay, so now I know how old you are, so. Okay, so it’s
the ’80s and I’m playing “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” on my Apple II, green
screen, lots of fun. Would it surprise you to know that that was the last really successful
educational game in history? Would it surprise you to know that since then 1,200 startups,
$4 billion have been spent on “edutainment” software and not a single hit like, “Where
in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” And that’s it’s a completely captive market. There are
60 million children. It is a captive market. What’s happened? Here’s what went wrong. Parents
and teachers got involved in the design of the games. And as soon as they did, kids could
smell that shit a mile away. That’s not fun, that’s work, right? In parallel, incidentally,
Civilization and Sim City have taught hundreds of millions of people basic, basic tenants
of the human historical arch and how cities function in civics, basics, completely unintentionally.
Sid nor–neither Sid nor Will will tell you they were on a pedantic pedestal trying to
teach people with those games. They simply chose that as the framework for a game, a
setting for a game that they thought compelling. They thought the real world would be more
compelling than a fantasy world. And it turns out that that’s true. Non-fiction has a big
advantage over fiction and gamification is, think of it as, non-fiction gaming. It’s gaming
with your real friends and your real money and your real stuff in the real world. It’s
non-fiction gaming. So, it, of course, going back to Mary Poppins, there’s a famous song
in Mary Poppins called “The Spoonful of Sugar,” and the premise of that song is, “If I make
the medicine sweet enough, you won’t know that its medicine and you’ll take it,” right?
Creating the objective, which is, of course, is a good analogy. If any of you are marker–marketers
in the room, a word that marketers sometimes use to describe that phenomenon is loyalty
program, right? Loyalty programs, let’s just do a simple working definition, are intended
to get a user to take an action in your favor when all competing options are mostly equal,
right? Mostly equal. When things are really unequal, loyalty programs are not that effective.
But when their mostly equal, loyalty programs have the effect of getting people to take
a choice in your favor. Okay, so here’s a brief history of loyalty programs throughout
history, 19th century, you go down to a local mercantile in Boston and you’re wearing heavy
woolens and you haven’t showered in a while and you’re like, “I need 10 pounds of sugar.”
And the merchant is like, “Aarr, you get a pound for free.” I don’t know why it’s a pirate
merchant. I’m just–okay, because all the people in the 19th century to me are pirates.
It’s like, “Aarr, pound of sugar.” Okay, so buy 10 get 1 free. That turns out to be a
really sticky mean, right? We’re still doing buy 10 get 1 free as this sort of dominant
model for loyalty programs. I don’t know why. I’ve asked lots of researchers, if any of
you are interested in doing a PhD on buy 10 get 1 free, let me know. I think I can find
you funding. It’s like we got figure this out, we don’t know why. Okay, that stays about
the same until the 1930s, when a company called S&H launches their Green Stamps program. It
was very simple. Instead of buying 10 and get 1 free, you went to participating merchants,
they gave you these little green stamps which you licked and stuck into a book and you save
them up and when you had enough, you went to the S&H store or to the catalogue and you
redeem them for stuff. The brilliant thing about the S&H Green Stamps program was it
completely, by creating a virtual currency, it completely broke the users ability to keep
track of a redemption rate, right? It used to be 10 to 1. I buy 10 pounds of sugar, I
get one for free. Now, I have no idea how much I’m earning in virtual currency as expressed
in redemption, right, because it was actually totally variable. S&H knew what every green
stamp was “worth” to them but the end user couldn’t keep track of it. They had no idea.
Is 10 green stamps the same, you know, is 10 green stamps for a T-shirt the same as
60 green stamps for a transistor radio? It’s almost impossible to figure that. It turns
out virtual currency is very powerful that way. Okay, that’s today’s dominant model until
1981 when American Airlines launches AAdvantage and a week later TWA and the United launched
their programs, which turns out to be a good metaphor for that whole industry. And what
American figured out, and what TWA and United aped, is that actually, it’s not about rewards
at all. It’s about status. Status is what drives loyalty. And if any of you tried to
redeem your frequent flier program points this summer for a trip to Europe, you’ll know
that redemption is not the core value proposition of a frequent flier program, or for that matter,
a loyalty program. And that’s today’s dominant model until just a few years ago in which
loyalty programs emerged like Foursquare in which you cannot redeem for anything in the
real world. There’s not even the notional concept of redemption, right? They just dispensed
with it altogether. Let’s be super clear. I want us to be super clear on this. You cannot
extract one dollar from FarmVille. There is not a T-shirt, a hat, a badge in the real
world you can get for your FarmVille credits. Not a goddamn thing. In fact, it’s all money
in and no money out in FarmVille to the point that when Zynga did that super successful
campaign with 7-Eleven for the slushies, you know, the “Get a Slurpee, get FarmVille credits?”
It wasn’t, “Get FarmVille credits for every Slurpee,” it wasn’t, “Redeem your FarmVille
credits for every Slurpee,” right? It was “Buy a Slurpee and get FarmVille credits.”
Let’s be clear, no real world redemptions. Money in, nothing comes out. It’s brilliant,
right? So, the corillary, which is probably even more powerful, is that while the cost
of an incremental unit of loyalty–let’s think of a customer making a choice of your product,
a choice in favor of your product when all things are being equal–the cost of delivering
that incremental unit of loyalty is dropping precipitously. It used to be 10 cents. It
was 10 to 1. It was 10 cents. That number is now closing in to zero as completely virtual
loyalty programs start cropping up out of the weeds. The other thing which has become
very important is that the loyalty choices now become public. Loyalty used to be a private
decision, right? How did I convey to you that I preferred KitchenAid mixers over Cuisinart
mixers in the past? You had to be in my house for starters, right? We had to go through
this ridiculous dance where I somehow bring up the subject of, you know, mixers to you.
It’s like, “Hey, do you like my mixer?” And then we sit down and we have a whole conversation.
I mean, books were written about word of mouth marketing, conferences were held about word
of mouth marketing. It was all bullshit. There was no process to word of mouth marketing.
No one ever understood how it worked. No one still understands how it works. Zynga knows
how it works, right? Now, there’s a process for word of mouth marketing. It’s on the social
graph. It’s processized. It used to be random. Now, it’s structured. This is a humongous
change in behavior. And it means that every decision is public and whenever decision is
public it means decisions that are not taken aren’t potentially negative. So if your product
is not the one being specified or chosen in the public sphere, that maybe a sort of lightweight
demerit against your product. So it begs the question my friends, what is status worth?
How many of you know or recognize either of the two people up on the board? Okay, we got
a couple of people. So anyone want to call out one of them?
>>Christian Siriano and Tomorrow Rodriguez.>>ZICHERMAN: Right. Okay, so these two people
are both winners of fourth seasons of major game shows on television, right? The gentleman
on my left is Christian Siriano. He won the fourth season of Project Runway. The woman
on the right is the first winner of Deal or No Deal ever. She won in the fourth season
and she won $1 million. Okay, is $100,000 enough to launch a fashion line in New York
City? It is not. Is $125,000, the price on Top Chef enough to pull permits in the city
of New York to start a restaurant? It is not. What do these people played those games for?
>>For public fame.>>ZICHERMAN: They play for attention. They
play for power. They play for status. They don’t play for cash. It turns out cash is
a great incentive if you have a bunch of it to throw around, right? It’s also this weird
10 to 1 relationship comes up here, but let’s set that aside and that continues to be 10
to 1. The bottom line is if you don’t have a good status system to offer users in exchange
for their behavior, you need to give them cash. And the worse your status system is,
the more cash you have to give them. That’s basically the relationship of these things.
And so at the heart of all this, we talk about this in Game-Based Marketing, the book. We
talk about this a lot. This is called the gamification loop and at the heart of it is
a point system. And around that point system are a whole bunch of what we call game mechanics.
Points, badges, levels, rewards, challenges, leader boards, things that can be used to
engage users based on a point system. Points systems are super important, right? We use
them in real life. Money is an example of a good point system. But these things around
the point system are incredibly important because often, it’s hard to communicate to
somebody exactly how many points you have. Like, it’s really hard for me in conversation
to tell you, or how much money I have in the bank. “I have $N in the bank,” right? So instead
of doing that, I buy a whole bunch of stuff which tells you how much money I have in the
bank, right? It signals to you through a series of ab–through a series of status choices,
I signal to you how big my point balance is. Signaling is an important part of this kind
of interaction, right? It’s not always about the points, sometimes it’s about the signals
for the points. So some other examples of things that you may have seen called meta-games,
things like structured exchanges, gifting, poking or flirting, questing and raids, these
are groups of game mechanics put together into one sort of unified experiences. These
are other things that we use to create user engagement, to create desired behavior with
users in games. And they, you know, some of them are fairly familiar. I want to share
with you a little quote. If you don’t know Kiva, Kiva is one of the leading non-profit,
you know, social service startups in the world. They do micro-lending for important causes.
So we interviewed last weekend in TechCrunch, the founder of Kiva, Premal Shah, said, “Our
biggest competitor is actually Zynga.” Consider the implication of that, right? He runs a
non-profit. He runs a large scale non-profit. He views his competition as Zynga. What is
he saying? He’s saying that increasingly, users are forced–increasingly, users are
faced with a set of choices that are basically distinguished between–we used to think of
them as work and leisure choices, but increasingly they are compulsory and optional choices.
Compulsory and optional replaced fun and work in the language. Once we get into optional
time, disposable time, discretionary time, users are naturally going to gravitate to
the experience that they find the most rewarding. Notice my choice of words. They will naturally
gravitate to the experience that is most rewarding. And by definition, games have a big advantage
over just about anything that you might be creating in your own spare time, right? Which
is there designed explicitly to maximize reward. So, if I can freely choose like, do kids not
read books today because they don’t understand why books are important? No, it’s because
they have the choice of stuff that’s way more interesting than books so they are choosing
something more engaging than books. It’s a jingoistic response to market choice. It also
highlights something really important about the power of games. Games are the only force
in the known universe that can get people to take actions which are against their self-interest
in a predictable way without the use of force. And this is an important distinction. Sex
is extremely powerful at getting people to take actions against their self–people self-interest.
It’s very unpredictable. And you can pull a gun out and make people do just about anything
you want, but they tend not to like that. Games are the only force that can get people
to act like they’re sex-crazed maniacs but in a predictable way without having to pull
a gun on them. I know. I know. I know. That’s a bit–that’s a bit dark. But no, I’m just
kidding. But you get my point. My point is it’s a powerful force and it’s what being
expressed now in this like, you know, relentless pursuit of engagement that’s coming from the
likes of companies like Zynga. And behind this is important work. There is important
academic work that underpins some of these things. There’s a guy named Richard Bartle
who in the 1980s was one of the first researchers to look at why people play games and he identified
in–these were MUDs at the time not MMOGs but they are precursor to MMOGs, text-based
multi-user dungeon games. And Bartle discovered–identified four different types of players. He identified
the achiever, the socializer, the explorer, and the killer. And I’ll tell you about them
all a little bit. What’s interesting is the four had since turned into 16, which include
things like a judge, a politician, a lawyer. But the four turned out to be very enduring.
And Bartle never intended them to be a personality type like an MBTI-type inventory but now that
we have three generations of game-thinking I bet you can start slotting some of the people
you know into one of these four categories, thinking of that as a personality type. So,
the achiever. The achiever likes to achieve, right? Simple. The only problem with a community
full of achievers is not everyone can win. And it’s a big design problem, right? It’s
not a little design problem, it’s a big design problem. The second biggest problem, probably
what I face the most in talking to audiences about gamification all the time, is that you
here in this room are not normal. You are way more achievement-oriented than the average
population, right? Way more. If I gave you an achievement inventory, you’d score off
the charts by comparison to the normal–the norm population. The norm population, 80%
of the population, are socializers and they’re after lightweight, non-confrontational, easy
to reciprocate social interactions with other people. They are in other words as other,
you know, sort of social science researchers have said, they are lonely. And they are looking
for social engagement with other people. Lightweight, non-confrontational, easy to reciprocate;
sounds a lot like poke, right? Poke is a good expression of that idea. Farmville is, without
taking anything away from Zynga, poke with cows, right? It leverages that sociliazer
instinct, that socializer demand, that socializer insight, to its extreme. Ten percent of the
population are achievers, 80% are socializers. Explorers, if any of you played Super Mario
Brothers, right, on the SNES or the NES, you might remember having friends who knew where
every single like hidden level was, every Easter egg was, which pipes to go down, which
blocks to push, to get an access to the secrete levels. In the days before the Internet, those
people where classic explorers in the Bartle typology. They had to play those games for
hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours to find which pipe was the right one to go
down. They’d have to like, you know, go to the pipe, push down. Oh, that’s not it, go
to the pipe, push down. The explorer is playing for the social credit for having discovered
something. That’s what they are after. They want to be the one who discovered this thing.
They’re the explorer. And killers were the most controversial segment of the market.
They make up probably less than one percent in the average group. They’re very, very similar
to achievers, except, “It’s not just okay for me to win, I win and you lose. And not
only do I win and you lose but all of you need to watch me kick your butt. And then
I want as much credit from the community as possible for having done that. I want you
to say, ‘I respect you. I love you. You killed me.'” Okay, killers are–killers sound bad
but actually in many cases they’re really good. I’ll give you an example. I frequently
talk to big company executive management team so I’m in at very, very well-known publisher.
A company you’d all recognize. It was a big busy online community of commenters. And so
one of the best examples of killers is comment killers are really, really super common and
obvious, right? You post an article and these guys are in there like, “Bam,” right? Right
away. And then someone will post a comment and they’ll be like, “You’re an idiot,” and
then someone else will post a comment and they’d be like, “You’re stupid,” right? And
so you see these people and some of you might be those people. If so, I highly recommend
keeping your hands down for now, so your friends won’t know. So, you know, I’m talking with
these guys, I’m talking with these publishers about comment killers and, you know, in the
canonical web view or publisher view of what to do about a comment killer would be to temp
down that behavior, right? You’re going to write a script that listens to the tone of
the post and if the tone of the post is too extreme, the post goes to moderation, right?
Or if the person posts too quickly, multiple posts, tad-tadah-tadah, too fast, put them
into moderation, right, or ban them from the website because they’re disrupting. That’s
terrible. That’s not at all how a game designer thinks about that, right? Killers are the
most active, most engaged members of your community. They’re just expressing their behavior
in a bad way. So the right design, from a game design standpoint, is to put them on
rails. Not Ruby on Rails, rails, right, which is shape their behavior by creating a pathway
that they go down. So in the case of comment killers, we unpack their motivation. What
drives a comment killer? They’re after recognition, right? They want to be recognized as smart
by the outlet or the writer. So you set up a reward system that says, “Okay. You can
earn dinner with Walt Mossberg. You can earn an op-ed in the Washington Post. In order
to do so, however, you need to be the commenter who’s most frequently given a positive review
for the quality of commentary,” right? You set up an incentive system that’s more carrot,
less stick, right? Consider, I can’t guarantee you that we’ll get 100% adherence to that,
we may still need moderation cues, but we will turn some of those people and some is
better than none. Another good example, the U.S. tax system, it’s 100% stick and no carrot.
You get nothing for filing early unless you’re owed money and you get your money a little
sooner, right? But if you owe money, there’s no end zero incentive for you to file early,
there’s a lot of disincentive for you to file late. Why? Empirical evidence tells you that
it would be better if there was an incentive scheme. Why not offer some kind of benefit
to users, preferably a status benefit, but why not offer them some kind of benefit for
filing early and on time? I–this is the kind of thing that game designers think about,
“Reward early, reward often, try not go negative.” Good axioms. So for you–we’ll do Q&A in just
a little bit. I’d write it down, think about it, text it to yourself if you have to. Okay,
that’s so meta. So it brings me, you know, it brings me to this important point for you
guys, you know, which is from–I believe that there is a seismic shift underway. And if
we believe that consumers understand metrics but in more abstract way, like the metrics
that drive themselves but in an abstract way, increasingly consumers care about fun as an
actual metric. It is a value. Pleasure, enjoyment, fun is a value that consumers increasingly
expect to be in their products and services. Consider this, right” Sorry. I know many of
you are carrying Android phones. Consider, we–I could be using an Android for this example,
it’s the same thing. Consider this device. This is not a good phone people, right? We
all acknowledge this is not a good phone. But we can never go back to a Motorola StarTAC,
can we? We can never ever go back. Our expectations have been changed irrevocably. Our devices
must be Internet connected. They must be beautiful. They must like be able to play games and do
applications and make calculations for us. We can never go back. And so consumer expectation
is rapidly shifting. What was once an advantage, meaning clarity, simplicity of purpose, may
actually turnout to be a disadvantage in a world in which consumers are engaged looking
for more deep–more engagement. We’ve been trying–following this Web design Holy Grail
of finding you know the most straightforward, cleanest way of presenting information or
data. I actually think the tide is turning from a consumer standpoint. I don’t think
that’s the main metric that consumers are looking for at all. I think the main metric
they’re looking for now is fun and engagement. And increasingly that will become their number
one choice factor in deciding what wins. And it means for you there’s a new metric on the
horizon. And we haven’t defined it yet. I’m going to–I’m working with some researchers
between now and January to define this in time for the summit. If you guys want to work
on it let me know and I’m happy to have you involved. We need a new metric to describe
engagement, consumer engagement, because the old metrics don’t actually work anymore. Page
use doesn’t describe engagement. Daily active users does not describe engagement, right?
Return–time spent on site, return visits, these things do not individually define engagement.
There is a new metric for engagement that needs to come out of the miasma and it will
become all important. There will be a metric just like it has happened before. Of course
you guys, you know, you’re in a good position to define what that metric should look like
just like Facebook defined the daily active user-monthly active user metric, but, you
know, we need to have that engagement metric. So I want to share with you a couple of examples
and then we’ll have time for Q&A. So the first example of a pretty good gamefide system overall
that I like to use is Nike+. How many of you use Nike+? Anybody? Oh, this is–this is awesome.
This is awesome. I’m never in a room without a Nike+ user so this is fantastic. Okay, so
Nike+ is a gamefide system where you typically you buy a little piece of hardware and you
wear that on you and it records your score and then you upload that score or you can
do it manually on the Web with sort of is social experience. It’s got points, badges,
levels, leaderboards, challenges, rewards, all around how you exercise and how you perform
in exercise context almost exclusively about running. And it’s cool. It’s well designed
considering that, you know, not many game designers actually worked on the problem.
But it has some issues. That up top is my actual score at Nike+ today. Today. And I
will tell you that while this is body by butterfat I am not antithetical to exercise. I don’t
wake up in the morning going, “Exercising, I hate it.” I’d like to be fitter, you know?
But Nike+ apparently doesn’t care about me as it’s evidenced from their–the very first
minute of their design, right? I am not already fit enough to play Nike+ and there’s no incentive
for me to progress. Even the way this progress bar is designed is a humongous disincentive.
Remember the olden days of walking up to a video arcade machine in the old brown cabinets,
and you walk up and the first thing that you would see is a leaderboard of 10 people with
astronomically high scores, right? Like, Jeff, 10,487,642, right? And then the next person
would be like one point below that and then the next person will be like two points below
that, and you’d be like, you know? And it was actually–one thing that we learned from
those leaderboard days was how humongous of a disincentive a poorly designed leaderboard
can be. Bad leaderboards are terrible, terrible disincentives. Bad scoring systems are terrible
disincentives. You walk up, you see that, and you’re like, “I’m never getting on that
leaderboard.” And if you’re in any way competitive in any way, or achievement oriented, and the
game isn’t inherently achievement oriented, you’re like, “Well, I’m not even going to
play this game. I’m going to go look for a machine where I can maybe get on the board,”
right? And look for a game where I can get on board. So, we’ve revamped leaderboard design
in the context of social games. Here’s how leaderboard should be designed now. It’s actually
like that prescriptive. Okay, so in the new design of leaderboards, you put the user right
in the middle, and you put their next two best friends above them and the next two best
friends below that, right, so no matter where they are in the actual rankings, they are
in the middle. Two friends above, two friends below, with a little dialog bubble that says,
“In order to beat Sue, do this,” right? It’s so much better of a design. It turns out to
be so much more engaging than the old leaderboard design. And the only exception to that, and
this is important as well because I think this is–this kind of goes against some of
the core Web design hegemony, which is that you actually think through different used
cases and explicitly redesign experiences for different users, so the exception to that
design is if the user’s actually in the top 20, literally in the top 20, you show literally
the top 20, right? Because that user probably then really cares that they’re in the top
20 and wants to see the top 20, right? So anyway, so we’ve rethought some of those things
we rethought about motivation. Another example of a game that I think highlights some of
the challenges is Chase Picks Up The Tab. How many of you know that? I think it’s an
east coast thing. Basically, the premise was during this promotional period Chase has run
a couple of years in a row, if you use your Chase debit card and you swipe it during the
promo, sometimes you’ll get an SMS from Chase saying, “Oh, we picked up the tab,” and they’ll
reverse the charge, right? So, setting aside the fact that that is clearly a casino game,
that is absolutely positively–absolutely positively a slot machine, and there’s no
question about it, and they should be regulated under like gambling law, and I don’t know
why they’re not but I can’t figure this out, but they should be. Okay, so setting aside
the fact that that is a casino game, the problem with Chase Picks Up The Tab is I have to be
a fucking Chase customer to play. Do you know how much time it takes to set up a bank account?
I have to go into the bank now, I have to bring two forms of I.D., sign my Patriot Act
paperwork, wait for them to run the background check on me, send me a–give me a temporary
ATM card, send me the regular one in the mail, activate the one in the mail, sign up for
the promotion, and then play. That is a mistake my friends Zynga would never have made, right?
Why can’t anybody play Chase Picks Up The Tab? Why can’t you play the game just by connecting
on Yodelay, right, anybody comes in signs of Yodelay, sign up for text alerts? It’s
an opportunity for them to convert a customer later. But they think like a big, old, kind
of, dumb bank. “You have to be a customer of ours first.” The bar is way too high. And
the market will no longer support those kinds of ideas at infinitum. Every opportunity–I’m
going to tell you this right now social gaming designers, every single touch point is an
opportunity to convert a user. There is no such thing as a moment that exists in a world
where we can’t draw another user into our experience. We have to start thinking about
the world in that way. I mean, we don’t have to but things will work out better for you
if they do. Okay, so here’s one that more of you will know than Nike+. How many of you
do not know what the Lunar X Prize was? Oh, awesome. I just used geek pressure. Okay,
there was–there’s one person. I’ll just recount it for you. A $10 million prize given by the
Ansari family to the X Prize–through the X Prize Foundation, to the first team to launch
a reusable spacecraft into space twice in three weeks with a human payload coming back
alive, okay? The premise was we’re going to unstick the stuck space program because NASA
keeps launching crappy space shuttles into space that don’t make any sense, okay? That’s
the premise. So, here’s what happened. My amateur sleuthing, here’s what happened. Twenty
seven teams entered the Ansari X Prize. Of the 27 teams, a third of them are now out
of business, two-thirds of them minus one are doing government and principally university
contracts which begs the question about why they didn’t just do that in the first place,
and the winner, the winner was going to win this contest anyway, Burt Rutan backed by
Paul Allen. Burt had 20 years of experience building private spaceships. He was so far
ahead of everybody else in the rest of the world, and backed by a billionaire who’s prepared
to fund it to the tune of at least $25 million to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which
is, as we know, a fundamentally irrational choice to make. So, tell me this, who won
the Ansari X Prize? I’ll take opinions, anyone? The X Prize Foundation won the X Prize, right?
It formed an actual thing. It’s good that they got a $150 million worth of free press
from it and it highlights probably the most important point I can make for you, which
is the game always favors its creator. No matter what game you’re playing, the house
always wins. The deck is absolutely stacked together. I’m using metaphors, they’re all
point–they all point back to a fundamental truism. There is no way to beat the house
long term. No, no way. So you have the choice in a more gamefied world of either being the
house or being played. Those are your choices. But there’s no ambiguity here. The sooner
you build gamefied experiences, the sooner you get to, you know, taking your cut, because
it’s ultimately the best business in the world to be in. Two people or multiple people battle
it out and you get a cut of everything that happens. You might at Google be familiar with
that as a premise. So, let me summarize some of the–I’ll summarize some of the main things
that we talked about today then we can do some Q&A. So, the first important takeaway;
fun and theme are not correlated. We can merge fun and work, you know, with games by using
gamefication and game thinking, that line is not so bright in red. Status is probably
the most important motivator that you can deliver to users. Cash is really–should be
far down on your list of things to give away unless you really love to give away your cash.
The gamefication loop is a great guide, points in the middle, game mechanics surround the
outside; badges, level, challenges, awards, leaderboards. Fun is a new metric. Engagement
is a new metric. And games fundamentally favor their creators. So, I’m really, really interested
in hearing your questions and I will lay out for you in advance that there are three questions
I get asked at almost single talk that I give and so I am keeping a leaderboard in my head
of how well Team Goggle correctly anticipates those questions. Yes?
>>How did Griefers fit into this picture? For instance…
>>ZICHERMAN: Griefers. Yes, go ahead.>>…a lot of the corporate stuff you talked
about was straight with the corporation so you think the next step might be more social.
But then, when you look at Xbox Live, you know, you see the obvious problems with the
little design social systems.>>ZICHERMAN: So, I’m going to rephrase your
question because there were a couple of questions in there. So, I think the biggest question
that you’re asking is, can you create a social experience that’s like fundamentally corporate
but also social? And are there–what are some of the pitfalls of building an experience
like that? So, one of the things that happens anytime you build a social interaction platform
of any kind is you get unintended user behavior. Users do things that you don’t want them to
do. Users do things that are not necessarily on your pathway of, you know, design concept
so you want your users to be there happily talking about, you know, Google Checkout.
And they come, and some of them happily talk about Google Checkout, and some of them like
start talking about neo-Nazis, right? And you’re like, “Okay, it’s unexpected thing
but, you know, what are we supposed to do about it?” Or, you know, they’re like obstructionists
that make the experience negative or obstructionists that make the experience negative for other
people. So, there is no substitute for good moderation. You know, in a–I gave a keynote
shortly after the world financial meltdown that was actually on the subject of how if
a game designer had been in charge of the Federal Reserve how the outcome would have
been different for the meltdown. And one of the most fundamental things that game designers
do not do is they do not ever think that people will not try to game the system. They begin
with a fundamental assumption that, “If what I build is valuable,” and there’s always that
“if,” but, “If what I build is valuable, people will attempt to get whatever they can out
of it by doing as little as possible,” right? That’s the basic tension that game designers
believe exist in all these systems so we’re never naive about that. We often make mistakes
but we’re never naive about that. So the right answer to that, it’s a broad omnibus answer
but it basically means expect the worst, expect the unexpected, and think about things like
a game designer would. So, any game design community has CisOps, right, who are often
promoted users who demonstrated some clarity and then some system of command that allows
most importantly the game to turn transactions back at will that–which is really super important.
So in the real world outside of games, normally like when somebody defraud somebody else you
got to go to court, you have to seek some third party remedy for that. In the world
inside of games, with the right terms of service, the remedy is tell this, you know, the CisOp
notices either it’s algorithmic or human or a complaint. Somebody says, “Oh, that’s not
the right kind of interaction, that person’s misbehaving. They’ve stolen something. Something’s
weird. They are able to pause/play, read the log, decide what to do in, like, a couple
of minutes. Pause/play, read the log, decide what to do, take money out of someone’s pocket,
put money back into somebody else’s pocket, ban a person, change their status, and the
game continues, right? It’s autocratic. It’s somewhat dictatorial. But it is necessary
for the, in this context, necessary for the effective functioning of most of all to user
experiences so you need to consider that in your design, if it gets big enough anyway.
More questions? There can’t only be–oh, yes. Please use the microphone.
>>So we just went through our annual performance review cycle a few weeks ago. And when you
were talking about that system where you’re in the middle and then you see the two people
above and below, what would it take to move up? I’m just thinking, “Wow,” you know, “This
would be really useful during performance review.” Because…
>>ZICHERMAN: Oh, yeah.>>…it’s really unclear, you know, what
it takes, you know, to move up or whatever and I was wondering, you know, how would you
run performance reviews as a game?>>ZICHERMAN: It’s a great question. I love
the put on the spot game design questions and I’m going to be like, “All right, so here’s
what I do.” No. So, actually, HR is a huge piece of the–I think the next big frontier
of gamification. Sales teams have been using basic game concepts since the beginning, right?
They’ve often–if any of you who have worked with a sales team, you’ve seen the leaderboard
up on the wall. They’ve been doing that forever. Or, like, non-profits for their donation thing,
you know, like where they show a thermometer like with the number filling up? That’s a
kind of like sort of status meter score health meter, that you might use. So some of these
mechanics have been imported with sales teams for a long time but they haven’t really seen
distribution beyond sales teams but there’s an increasing chorus of people playing with
ideas. So one idea that wasn’t implemented super well but people kind of liked on the
HR side was a game that the guys called Seriosity Build which was a–it was an email game and
basically the premise was you had to put a certain amount of virtual currency behind
every email you sent and the amount of virtual currency you put behind it demonstrated how
important the email was. So the recipient–the recipient could sort of score their inbox
based on how intently you really wanted them to read their email, right? Now, it was overly
convoluted. It didn’t work quite the right way. The design wasn’t perfect. But there’s
a germ of a really interesting idea in there, right, which is using a virtual economy to
signal like intent one way or the other and I think probably for HR, and certainly for
performance reviews, the biggest thing that I would do is I would expose the XP system
of reviews. So, do you all know what I mean by XP? XP is experience points. It’s a point
system that generally is revealed as going up continuously. It never goes down. It can
be reset periodically according to calendars but it pretty much always goes up and you
get XP for all kinds of activities in the world. But XP is not redeemable. You can’t
turn XP into stuff. It’s like experience points. And you’ve seen it in Xbox if you play Xbox
Live. You’ve seen it in LinkedIn, that bar that fills in that says your profile is 33%
complete is a type of XP, okay? So what I would do as a test is I would expose the actual
process for getting a raise and making an XP bar that everybody could just see on your,
like, personal homepage. “Here’s your XP, here’s your distance to next race,” right,
“and you got to keep doing the things.” You know, “Here are the challenges and quests
you need to follow. You got to keep doing these things to get to your next level,” right,
and at least demarcate the next level. So, you know, and the other cool part about XP
is usually those bars never actually fully fill up, like you could never–right? You
never get to–it’s sort of–it’s a logarithmic project, you know, projection so it keeps
getting, you know, closer and closer to, you know, vertical but it never quite gets there
so you can kind of do a lot with that. But that would be my main–my first main hack
would be the test that in performance reviews. And what effect would an XP bar have on people’s
behavior just if it was on their homepage everyday? Maybe, you know, you logged into
your homepage and that was the first thing you saw is how far away you are from your
next race. Do you have a question? Yeah?>>Yeah, I’m just going to ask about the engagement
power metric you mentioned.>>ZICHERMAN: Yeah.
>>And if you thought about what it might look like. Then maybe you can just repeat
the question since I didn’t go up there.>>ZICHERMAN: Sure. What does the engagement
power metric look like that I’ve described?>>Yeah, and it’s because there are so many
different websites.>>ZICHERMAN: Right, there are so many different
ways to think about it. So I’ve been doing some preliminary thinking on it. And, you
know, I would love to have a dialogue with people who are involved in that kind of metrics
around it. And again, you know, we’ll talk about that at the summit in more detail but
basically I think we need to amalgamate a few different metrics and look at some new
ones that track user behavior against some norm because I think we’ve been missing some
of that normative tracking components which are kind of important and then there’s some
elements on the–I know these two things are already kind of fleshed out of my head. We
needed a baseline and we need an amalgamated metric. And then the other thing that I’ve
been thinking a lot about is we need to start measuring certain behaviors in core analytics
like referrals. Friend invitation should be a core analytic. It should be in Google Analytics,
actually. Like friend invitations, right, it should be tracked by Google. It’s like
obviously missing there, right, because it’s important to everybody, right? Okay, just
so I wanted–I’m just waiting to see if I’m, like, the only person. Okay, so friend referrals
is a simple example of something, you know, that tells you. So I think if we pull together
some of these things, you know, we can, you know, we can kind of create some interesting
hybridized metric. But we frequently, when we talk about metrics in gamification frame
or point systems we, you know, we frequently make things opaque for a reason, you know?
So I’m not–I think the secondary level to that is whether it should be transparent or
opaque. And, you know, there’s lots of justification for some kind of semi-opaque metric, you know?
A good example of that is–another good example of semi-opaque metric is if I was a building
a game to help you lose weight at your local gym or getting people fit actually. So, broadly
speaking, I’m building a game for engagement in a local gym, right? If I created a linear
point system like the old school point system thinking, I’d have kind of a problem, right,
because for me losing 10 pounds or for you losing 10 pounds are two completely different
values, right? Is that–for me, it’s a rounding error, right? For you, it’s like a serious
weight loss goal. And two–yeah, I actually do lose like six to seven pounds in water
weight TMI. So, you know, so these two things would mean something different and we may
also even be walking into the game with completely different motivations. I may want to lose
weight, you maybe want to bulk up. How can we all be on the–playing the same–how can
we all be in the same experience, right, under those circumstances? If we use a simple point
system that’s like measure the number of pounds you lose. And then on top of all of that is
the privacy question, right, which is how would people feel if their actual weight loss
was on a like publicly viewable board in a gym, right? So, these things all point to,
if I give you a lot of evidence to support this idea, you don’t actually need all of
this evidence to support the idea of an opaque point system in which the game designer takes
care of all that and just produces one magic number. And the one magic number is, you know,
where you’re at against your goal and that’s all you need to know. And if you believe that
the system is honest, if you believe that the game designer knows what they’re doing
and you see some proof of that early on, you buy into that point system and you just say,
“Oh that makes sense.” More questions? Yeah?>>I have another question.
>>ZICHERMAN: Go ahead.>>I have a question. So when I go to play
a game, I am not a member of the game, so how would I be in the leaderboard or how would
that work?>>ZICHERMAN: So, the early days of any game
are supper, super important. The term that we use in games to describe the first minute
or so that a user plays with us is called “on-boarding,” which is a term you may have
heard before, and the game view of on-boarding is totally different from the Web view of
on-boarding. So on the Web view of on-boarding, a user might be coming from anywhere and we
don’t really know what they want to do so we’re going to drop them on a page which gives
them 8 or 10 standards, 8 or 10 options, right? is in a notable exception to this
rule, but most websites, when you land on them, there are 8 to 10 options of what you
could do, right, log in, register now, tell a friend, follow us on Twitter, find out more,
read about us, like, press section. So, a game designer would never, ever, ever, ever,
ever do that ever. There is one experience. It is the on-boarding experience for the game.
It’s what we used to call a tutorial level but now we just call it level one. And the
user is dropped into the game experience, and I’ll give you the basic rhythm of it right
now, the user is dropped into a game experience knowing–and the designer knows full well
that they’re going to lose a whole bunch of people in the funnel, right, but that’s not
the point, so usually this is what the rhythm looks–the pattern looks like now. “Welcome,
do this simple challenge,” like any idiot can do, right? “Do this simple challenge.
Yey. Okay, here’s another one. Can you do it? Cool. Here’s one more. Can you do it?
Yey. Register now,” right? And then, most importantly, invite friends, right? That’s
the rhythm that’s if you deconstruct the, you know, if you deconstruct the first minute
of most successful games they look like that. So, in the olden days we dropped you on an
option that said, “Start, play a tutorial level,” now we just make that level one. You’re
tightly boxed in as a user. You don’t even know that you’re tightly boxed in but you’re
really tightly boxed in in that first minute of the game. And some of the core things that
we’ve unpacked is you first get a reward, “Yey,” before you’re asked to register, and
the registration step is the one that you use to claim the reward, right? So the site
is advancing value to the user before the registration occurs and it uses that value
to get the registration to occur which is really backwards, right, from the way most
Web design is done. So, that’s become–that’s been very, very powerful. And that also in
those two, or three, or four steps that we do in the first couple of minutes, we unveil
like we reveal the complexity of the game in slow steps, right, slowly. “Let me show
you a little bit more, oh, a little bit more, oh, a little bit more, okay, now you’re in.”
One of the–and then there’s still some revealing that goes on, right, leveling up and so on.
>>So, we were in conversations recently about some–about gamification of some areas that
aren’t necessarily, you know, that are obviously games. And one of the objections was that
this would take away from the value proposition of what’s already there and sort of create
this distracting layer of game on top of this other thing that already had–gives value
to users. And…>>ZICHERMAN: Yes.
>>…it would sort of shift the value to, “I’ve got this behavior that I’m–I feel compelled
to engage in because I have these innate human characteristics and all these things.”
>>ZICHERMAN: Yes.>>And the argument was that, now I’ve taken–you’ve
taken away from the original value that we had.
>>ZICHERMAN: Yes.>>Is there–how do you–what do you say to
that objection?>>ZICHERMAN: That’s a great question. So,
the question is–I’ll rephrase it and…>>Yeah.
>>ZICHERMAN: There’s two questions. So, one of them is, you know, how do you gamify an
experience that has intrinsic value already so you know one thing, and then two, what
are the risks of gamifying something that has intrinsic value, you know, and what happens?
So, there’s a two part answer for you. My favorite allegory around this is Jet Blue.
You know, when Jet Blue Airlines launched, it did not have a frequent flyer program.
They said, “We don’t need one. We are a new kind of airline. Our planes are new and clean.
Our employees are happy. We fly where you want to. We give you free TV and snacks. We
do not need a frequent flyer program. That’s what crappy old airlines use as a crutch.
Our core product, our intrinsic product is good, enough.” How long did that last? One
year, approximately, right? And they are super, super not invented here like, that’s why they
were able to go for a whole year, you know? The reality is sometimes, and I think it happens
in almost every commoditized market, the game subsumes the intrinsic action–activity. It
just eats it because it’s more important. It’s more compelling. As everything becomes
more of a commodity, the loyalty becomes the actual end user product. It’s what the user
is engaging with, this loyalty program, not the underlying product. We used to have brand
marketing to do that, right, that was the other lever that companies could use. But
today, it’s really hard to get that message through the users so increasingly, loyalty
becomes important. So that’s one aspect of it. The other aspect of it is a little bit
scarier, which is what’s called replacement. So, I did a weird undergrad. My undergraduate
was the psychology of gifted children and their social-emotional affect. And so, one
of the things that’s been in the literature of gifted kids for a long time is replacement
and here’s replacement in a nutshell. You, intrinsically, are a great piano player, Chris.
You play piano. You just start playing piano. There’s just one around, you start playing.
You love it. You’re playing music. You’re playing all the time. And your parent’s decide
that you’re going to do competitive piano. So, now they introduce competitive piano playing
to you. You start going to competitions. You’re winning. It’s cool. You’re getting prizes.
You’re getting rewards. You’re winning and then if we withdraw the reward, right, we
withdraw the prizes and withdraw the reward, Chris will stop playing piano, full stop.
He stops playing the underlying intrinsic behavior that he’s doing before we ever came
along with our fruit cocktail reward program, right, he just did it because he loved it.
What replacement is, it’s a very, very clear and it happens almost 100% of the time, if
you replace intrinsic motivation with extrinsic rewards and you extinguish the extrinsic reward
then the underlying behavior is also extinguished. Once replaced, intrinsic motivation rarely
comes back, that’s the basic thing. So, it leaves you in a bit of a dilemma, which is
you’re facing markets that are basically going to extrinsic rewards everywhere, that’s effectively
what’s happening. And I don’t think and I know it’s controversial. I just gave a talk
on gamification for non-profits like last week in New York at this great meet up for
non-profits and I was like, “I hate to be a harbinger of doom for you here but let me
break it down, this is an opportunity rather than a threat, but intrinsic motivation is
over. It’s over. Depending on consumer’s intrinsic motivation to take actions for you as a brand
is over. The sooner you accept that, the better you will be. We can no longer depend on it.”
In fact, it begs the question of whether or not there is an intrinsic versus extrinsic
rewards system anymore at all, right? Our private lives are now public. Our social media
presence is omnipresent. It follows us around all the time. Is there an internal life for
people? I don’t even know anymore. But here’s what I do know, every vertical will become–the
rewards will become externalized and you’ll need to find a good external rewards system
to compensate. Yeah?>>How do you apply that to a business context?
So, I’ve got a deal with a material that’s listed as A, B, C and D and I can’t get a
partner to commit so I introduce extrinsic value E. I mean at what point are you crafting
an unsustainable relationship? Like you have six months of exclusivity but six months,
you know, in month seven, are you still going to be happy with the deal?
>>ZICHERMAN: Right. So the question is, how do you make that sustainable?
>>Yes.>>ZICHERMAN: So, I’ll tell you kind of a–I
don’t know your personal situation but I’ll share a story. So, from the time that–and
maybe it’s a very personal situation, but we can talk about it later. So, from the time
when United first unveiled Mileage Plus in 1981 a week after American, until 2007, the
top level you could achieve in mileage plus was one million mile flyer, that was the max
level you could achieve. And of course, that seemed insane in 1981. “A million miles. Oh,
my god. How many people would ever get to a million miles? That’s crazy.” So the designers
didn’t design passed a million miles. What happened when users reached to a million miles?
They stopped playing because it stopped being fun. There was no more reward to win. They
got lifetime gold status, right? There was just nothing to get out of the level past
a million. Using game term, strict game terminology, that was the boss level of the game. They
beat the boss level. Once they beat the boss level, the game’s not that much fun anymore,
right? So, three, four years ago, United added additional tiers beyond a million; two million,
three million. They’re not necessarily thoughtful but they are interesting because they point
to a–the fact that you have to constantly be thinking about the game system and constantly
extending and redesigning it. I don’t think that there is a–there is definitely not a
magic like sprinkle game sauce on something to make it taste good. There is no like, you
know, there is no like quick answer where you can like just drop in one game mechanic
and all of a sudden, “Man, this thing that wasn’t working before now really hums,” you
know? That isn’t the case. These are long term engagement systems that we’re building
and they will require care and nurturing. One of my big predictions, and then I think
we got to wrap up, but one of my big predictions is that I think every company will have a
chief engagement officer working on their staff, whose a different kind of discipline.
It’s not quite marketing. It’s about engagement, whose responsibilities, you know, encompass
all the different things that we’ve talked about. So, that could be you, for you personal
problem. Thank you all very much. If you want to continue the dialogue with me, I’m on Twitter.
I’m @gzicherm. The blog is Gamification.Co and, you know, feel free to chat with me anytime.
Thank you.

About the author


  1. As a marketer, web designer, and game player I found this talk fascinating, enlightening, and dare I say engaging!

  2. In consideration… I'd actually like a way to know how much I've helped Google via search term relevancies as a stat I can have as a Google badge to display as a stat on FB etc, similar to the "Call Me" Google Voice badge..

  3. I've watched this talk four or five times now. Gabe, you have a very clean and fun understanding of motivation and behavior feedback dynamics and I'm glad you deliver your thesis in a practical way.

    Will watch again.

  4. He starts of with saying, that fun and the theme of the fun thing isn't the same, and then later he says, that kids today dont read books, beacause they have the choice of stuff, thats way more interesting than books. Maybe that second statement should be rethinked in the light of first statement i mentioned.

  5. If you dissed this video, you just didn't get it. Lighten up! This concept is what we need. Imagine having fun while searching anything on the web. This has shed a whole new light on Internet Marketing for me. Keep up the good work.

  6. If you dissed this video, you just didn't get it. Lighten up! This concept is what we need. Imagine having fun while searching anything on the web. This has shed a whole new light on Internet Marketing for me. Keep up the good work.

  7. Great job Gabe. I'm just getting started learning how to add gaming to my storytelling and you've overwhelmed me with information, which I think is a good sign of great speaker. #transmedia

  8. Fun is not dependent to Content Type. Status is imperative. Design-based incentives can almost always be used to change behavior, even negative behavior. Relative-positioned leaderboards. Great talk, thank you for sharing this talk!

  9. Gamification might be better described as "a process that involves the imagination to produce constructive results."

  10. @bronzeladdy53 thats what im thinking about too, especially with the metaphor about the child prodigy. I was thinking of adding game elements to learning musical instruments, to keep practice focused without meandering and messing around all the time… but at the same time, if I add that game layer, once it is complete/obsolete, will a person not want to play that instrument anymore for fun/enjoyment/soul reasons?

    Will drums/piano/guitar loose its draw if one is max level? or just practice?

  11. @btyler4606 no, that's just any creative thinking/endeavour. gamification refers specifically to the integration of game mechanics into non-game environments as a means to engage the end-user

  12. @iamskillxD so it's just more pseudo-advertising. Figures, if the product or service doesn't make business or isn't good enough on it's own, then we have to flip it, change it, draw it, paste it, win it, or lie about it. The next generation will just figure out what ads are or quickly interpret what the goal is and exploit it, just as the next person. The majority just needs to grit their teeth and work hard, then, it will make profit, or etc.

  13. @39:30 to 40:00 This explains the state of our economy and political environment. This should be an addition to our constitution !

  14. As a game designer, I've thought about this for years, before social media, interactive marketing, and loyalty programs became the cool thing to do. I'm glad Gabe mentioned loyalty programs because I've often pointed out to clients and former employers alike that they're mostly broken. Consider the fact that some points expire.. Does it create urgency or remove the incentive? Makes you wonder, eh?

  15. What I love most about these concepts is that most will be dismissive about it and say it's a fad or "pseudo-marketing". That's great.. Let's ignore all the massive successes already leveraging these concepts. For some of us, this is no surprise. We've seen the writing on the wall, but Gabe puts it so eloquently. He is truly a visionary! This is not about spin or compensating for poor products… It's so much more than that! 8)

  16. The intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards deal reminds me of the Pizza Hut promotion for reading books. Basically, if your kid read a number of books, you could get free pizzas for the kid. So kids who naturally read books would get the pizzas, and then once the program stopped, so did the reading. (Though, the rise of video games probably didn't help either, since it was about that time…)

  17. I had no freaking idea marketing of any sort could be so interesting and revealing. Wow…this is so fascinating.

  18. @ 19:00 Gabe discusses how kids don't like books, however many kids still read Choose Your Own Adventure books, books with illustration, and Harry Potter… why? Because they are fun, provide imagination, they're interactive to a point and have appeal to children. Something to consider.

  19. Great information, but delivered with frequent unprofessional foul language that is totally not necessary to get his points across.

  20. stop to smile like a moron at the end of a sentence like you are the next evil genius pleaseeeeeee you look like a neckbearb when you doing that!

  21. It's great to hear your ideas Gabe, and I couldn't agree more, intrinsic motivation is over and we have to figure out better ways to motivate the long term connections to our brands with our clients.

  22. @303cell frightening? This is stuff that you've been using your whole life (music, tv, products you buy, etc), the difference is that he puts it in a different context, the "game" context.

  23. @ptsmcbridejune Really? I didn't notice any sort of profanity. But OK, I'm the type that usually curses a lot, so that might be why.

  24. @MelloTraumatic Totally disagree. This guy is showing confidence because he's public speaking. He expresses joyfulness when screwing over other companies because he's a marketer, if he's able to screw over other company's well it makes him a good marketer. Applying game mechanics to advertisements does no harm to anybody, if you think about it your money was always ending up in some fat cats pocket.

  25. I didn't really have an interest in the topic, but I watched his presentation anyway because I was so enthralled by his delivery.

  26. Gamification is a new development, I would be wary of its prolific application. I think games can and will enhance intrinsic motivation not replace it. Personally, if I don't want to play a game, I won't. I am not compelled to play a game because of the reward system. There has to be something fundamentally appealing to me in all the games I play for me to engage. I think the same would work for most people. So I would say the kinds of games people play reflect people's intrinsic motivation.

  27. This presentation is gorgeous. Incredibly valuable insight! Entertaining speaker. Time to research more Gabe Zichermann talks…

  28. Does anyone have some links for the "engagment metric" thingie he talked about at 29:00? would really like to know what they figured out =)

  29. Coolness. I'm sure a lot of gamers, myself included, have asked themselves if they could make real life more like their video games. Your talk makes so much sense. More and more were seeing game concepts and systems applied to real products because companies are realizing how much more engaging they can make the user experience.

    Man this is awesome. I might just pick up the book.

  30. The leaderboard bit is so damn true. If it weren't for that mechanic showing you the people barely above and below you, I don't think I would have wasted even 10% as much time playing RuneScape as I did about 10 years ago. With that game, I knew there was no way I'd ever crack even the top 1,000. But since getting 1 spot higher was so incredibly attainable and the threat of falling a spot was so pressing, it was too easy to stay hooked despite being ranked in the 800,000s.

  31. At 16:15 he makes a point on how the worst your status system is the more cash you have to give users in exchange for their behavior. Rather than thinking in terms of cash would it not be better to think in terms of value that you give them? This ties in well with the freemium business model where users are offered free value (in terms of information) before asking them to take any kind of action (paying money).

  32. I agree with basically everything. However, there is one point I'd like to contest. The "Achiever" goal oriented part is encompassing all of them. Either through status achievement (traditional achiever), social achievement (socializer), self achievement (explorer), or competitive achievement (killer); they are all types of achievers. The idea of getting some reward (even if it has no real value), accomplishing some objective (explicit or self created), and advancing is a core facet of "fun."

  33. Wow.. 17mins in to this after a bit of wine and I need a break. This information is just brilliant. Ive just re jigged my business plan and added even more critical issues after thinking in parallel thought this prism of gamification. Everything has improved… STUNNING.

  34. Dude really needs to charge for this… Knowing what I know now? Id have paid 1G for this no problem for the benefit I just got out of it.

  35. Here's a challenge:

    Build a game based on monitoring the drying of paint. And make it fun. If you can, it proves this guy's point that anything can be fun right.

    By the way, if you succeed you get a silver grand-master fun game designer badge. That's one step closer to a "gold" grand-master fun game designer badge !

  36. Wow. It's already been done. Check out Buzzed Games' "Watch Paint Dry". Oh and by the way, I got a gold medal. Hmm… perhaps it would be better to keep quiet about that. Still, it proves the point. Anything can be made fun.

  37. His view is a cynical, no doubt. If you read the grand daddy of gamification – Flow – it's based purely on positive fulfillment, encourages competition, but not the winning aspect. IMO, motivating purely by status or slot machine games, rewarding bad behavior (even by converting killers) isn't the sole means to fun. Check it out. Or Nicole Lazzarro's The four keys to fun for a more optimistic perspective.

  38. Games will always be used in ways the creators never intended. People are collectively more imaginative than a game creator will ever be. The best games will simply provide a framework for people to do their thing. I dread the day when people stop being motivated to do things they enjoy because there are rewards for them, and then the rewards are taken away.

  39. I understand that you are only trying to prevent the complete and total abuse of the general public. But your looking at this thrugh a much to negitive lense. There is nothing wrong with tapping into humanity's natural competitiveness. Is this not how modern education is designed? This isn't out to make the lives of the public harder. It's created as a tool to make people more willing to do things that previously seemed boring. Worker gets untapped motivation,emplyer gets profits. Its a win win

  40. Jonathan Blow talks about Truth VS Manipulation with games.
    I think this gamifibuzzwordy guy needs to learn respect. People are not cows needing to be milked.

  41. Gabe will be speaking at GSummit SF 2013 (April 16-18, 2013 in San Francisco) if anyone would like to see him and talk with him in person. More info on GSummit here –

  42. It does not mention player fatigue being a downside, and making the player leave for a perceived more rewarding system. But otherwise, I've never seen such a clear and complete presentation of gamification. Great job!

  43. Guys, increase your vertical jump does not have to be difficult (I used to feel it did). I'll give you some advice right now. Look for a jump vertical manual called Nobolaron Manual (do a search on google). Seriously, that program has changed my life. I probably should not even be mentioning it because I do not want a bunch of other folks out there running the same "game" but whatever, I'm in a great mood today so I will share the wealth haha.

  44. These skinner-box "Gamification" techniques are designed to manipulate people, but they don't actually make these activities more fun.
    With that said I still think they could be useful in some situations like high school where teenagers actively avoid doing work because of social pressures.

  45. Yes they are ways to manipulate people, but if you could go to work all day, and come home thinking you were playing a game all day by some form of manipulation, then who woundln't want to do that. I dont care if its manipulation, it still makes me feel better about doing it.

  46. "I have to be a FUCKING Chase customer to play" hey… you can't blurt out the F word in this setting… sheesh..?

  47. Life is Not a game.. I am studying games design as I speak and I have viewed other videos about gamification and I think its brainwashing into thinking games can improve them but honestly its just entertainment and if you spend too long on it your time will be wasted and you as a human will be degraded to thinking you are not much without these things when your life is worth more than spending hours trying to find yourself in a game. Step back and think.

  48. Free online course Gamification Design
    Do you want to know what Gamification really is about? Do you want to learn how to design fun and engaging experiences? Are you ready to change your world with game design? Then join us in this MOOC!

  49. Hi everyone!

    Me and two friends kick started an online productivity gamification group to motivate, support and keep each other from procrastinating. We're still looking for a couple of people who'd like to join. If you'd like to join us or know more about the details, please leave a comment or write me a message on my profile.

    Keep it up!

  50. If you want to support the school, which wants to include gamification, please watch the video 🙂

  51. I flipped a class of little learners in Finland and instead of a book, they played a digital learning game! Both the teacher and little learners were very happy with the experiment! 🙂

  52. I just finished reading Drive, by Daniel Pink. I think the study of intrinsic motivation would have arguments disputing a lot of this, but I do think there is some place for rewards. It can't be the dominant reason why one would engage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *