Gamification Nation Gamification and game design for business results Thu, 09 Apr 2020 08:59:36 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Gamification and game design for business results Gamification Nation Gamification and game design for business results Gamification Nation Podcast 38: What is a gamification strategy? Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:16:24 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation. A question we get always or regularly asked, maybe not always, is what is a gamification strategy and...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 38: What is a gamification strategy?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation. A question we get always or regularly asked, maybe not always, is what is a gamification strategy and why should I have one? Well. It’s one of the first things we will embark on with most of our clients.

Whether you design a serious game or design a gamified process. In effect, we always start with a strategy and some of the key questions we want answered in the strategy is why did you choose gamification? Now, strategies typically sits as a direction setting tool. Something that shows what’s the roadmap. What’s the thinking? Where are we going with this and why does it matter? So gamification strategy is no different.

So if you are for the first time going to be using games or, gamified processes, then the question is, why did you choose that tool of communication as opposed to other tools of communication?

Why did you eliminate the other tools? And. You know, what’s your thinking behind that? So we want to know what drove you to the up decision and why do you want to do that?

Very often we hear or we want to appeal to the younger audiences, so therefore we need to include games and gamification. It’s a good enough reason to include games and gamification if your audience is indeed of that generation, and if they are the kinds that actually do play games because believe it or not, although games are played by nearly 80% of the population these days and that’s including board games, sports, etc. As well as the digital video games, computer games, that we probably think of when we talk gaming, we also know that the average gamer is about 35, is probably male in some countries, female, but the split is, is 52-48 either side of the gender fence.

So it’s not something that is that much geared towards the younger generations. When we are saying, games are sort of the language young people speak, we do know that a young person today is likely to have played more games than they have actually done homework or studied for their courses. So there is a pinch of salt be with that.

Why is that? Because it’s much more accessible than let’s say, when I was a kid.  I’m a generation X’er so if anyone wants to know. So in my days the games I played were competitive sports. A lot of games at parties, which could have been board games but also physical games. I remember my birthday parties being very much driven around crossing obstacles in the garden.

And if you wanted to be safe to the other side, you went through a little puddle pool or other obstacle for that matter much to the enjoyment of some of the parents of older children that attended my parties. So you know why, why using a game is an important question to answer as part of your strategy.

I would also say, how does it then fit with the other strategies you have for your business? And if it is to attract younger audiences, yes, games can work. If it is to engage or retain more of the right people, whether that’s the right customers, the right clients, or the right employees. Games can be a good differentiator on that because you can basically build challenges into games and gamified processes that you wouldn’t necessarily find in traditional onboarding of a new client or onboarding of a new employee.

Games can work on multiple levels too. Give you insights that you wouldn’t get from regular communication patterns that exist in the market today. So, and it can be in a neat little test of how willing is your person to engage in play and does that fit with your culture.

And that brings us onto to an important point. Culture is important. So if this is your first venture into games or anything gamified, then I would say where does it fit in the longer term view strategy? Is it the start of more games and more gamification, or is it a once-off. It’s important to know  which it is.

If it is a once-off, then how long do you want it to have impact for? Why do you want to embark on it now? Is there a good reason to pick the area that you’ve picked it for or should there be other areas that may be have higher priority? If it’s the first of many, if it’s part of a longer term strategy or even a proof of concept. Will it work for us as our audience? Will they respond to it? Then, the question is where are you going to start? What’s the most meaningful place to start?

Sometimes your internal audience is good. Sometimes it’s better to start at recruitment and attracting new, a new, I suppose, generation of employees or a new type of employees through a game-based recruitment and game-based employer branding.

So there is more than one way to think about it. And what I would typically encourage people to do is to look at, okay, where does it fit into the overall company strategy? Why now? What’s the long term view of it? Is it once-off multiple and part of a larger strategy? If it is part of a larger strategy, what’s the best entry point?

Where does the proof of concept need to be proven first, and then which other areas would you think of rolling this out to next?

So if we think about gamification and gamification platform specifically, which help you basically to add game elements to existing business processes. When you’re going to invest in a gamification platform, you may as well look out more than one place to use it.

My advice would still be start with one place. Start even with one location, one team. Even if you want to go that granular to do a proof of concept. Fine tune the game play and the gamified elements that you’re using to that audience and then roll it out further little by little in phase steps.

That would be my advice. From a platform perspective though, the platform can plug in to typically any, system that has API or, abilities. So API is means you can connect,  IT systems to one another. So what you need to find out first is, can the system that you want to plug into accept two way streams of, of triggers, and then.

If it can, then you basically could apply gamification to anything from marketing, to sales, to operations, to anything to do with your employee life cycle, your customer life cycle. So you can plug it in pretty much anywhere. there is a system that allows for API’s to travel both ways.

If it is a game that you’re looking for, if it’s a serious game, typically the budgets are actually comparable to begin installation of a big, gamification platform.

Bespoke game can cost similar in the region, which is usually five figures, and upwards. And basically what you’re looking at is a reason to create a game. And I would always see where else can this be useful? Where else can it be deployed? What is it that’s going to add that extra bit of value?

What we also see and as gamification strategies go. We are often asked, yes, we will in the gamification for younger audiences. What we see in reality from data is that when serious games are built, it’s often the more senior generation in the workplace that plays more often than the younger generations.

My thinking, and this is not scientifically proven, but, my hunch is that it is actually new on a newer way of working for the older generation, whereas for the younger ones, it’s like, yeah, we expected that it’s business as usual, get over it. That type of attitude. Whereas for generations that have been in workplace for some time a game can allow you to test some of your thinking in a safe environment. It can allow you to play around with different mechanics that you didn’t think, we’re going to help or make things happen.

If we look at the reasons or the general feedback on gamification, we know from surveys that about 80 to 90% of people in the workplace thinks that gamification adds some value and will help them do their job better in a more productive way. So that’s a positive. And also that really good results are achieved with this.

Now, when I say really good results come from it. It means that when you’re setting your strategy, you have a clear vision on what the result is that you want to achieve.

And that’s also a question that we would ask as part of the strategy design process is what those good gamification or a good game look like to you, why and what will people feel like throughout the process and also what are the differences in feedback that you want.

So to give an example, we worked with a financial Institute awhile ago where their objective for gamified lead generation campaign was to increase their number of leads and converted leads. So good gamification for them was that there was actually real difference made in finding new leads and getting higher percentage.

For another company, it was a referral campaign that meant was gamified, and again, the amount of referrals they wanted to increase by 5%.  They had already done some groundwork and some campaigns in previous years so they knew they had a baseline figure of what they wanted to achieve.

What we find, typically speaking when we’re speaking to in house or internal facing, gamification audiences like HR and learning teams is, defining and quantifying is harder than when we’re speaking to sales and marketing teams.

And yet we do recommend that you do quantify it, and that you do find baseline numbers so that you know what you’re measuring against and you’ll know whether you are actually hitting the needle at all in towards the improvement that you want. Because for us, we’re happy to design you a game, but if it doesn’t get your results, then I feel we haven’t delivered on what it is we set out to do.

And sometimes when we’re not clear on what it is we set out to do, it’s hard to deliver on exactly that objective. So. from my perspective, it’s a case of making sure you have your objectives, right? The reasons why you engage in gamification, understanding where it sits in the larger strategy of the organization and of the team implementing it.

It has to be right for the audience. If your audience does not play games, does not want to engage in games, I wouldn’t even recommend, don’t know, don’t roll out a game. You know, it’s kind of basic, but it’s still important to note. The other thing is to make it relevant and to make it results focused.

So results focus for me is always important. I hate doing things for no reason or no good understandable reason was it might be fun. Fun and on its own is already very subjective. What I find fun, another person might find dead boring and vice versa. So. Yeah, fun is not a good enough reason. Age of the participants also not a good enough reason.

In both, young and old, there’s groups that play, there’s groups that don’t and you need to understand that about your audience. So yes. What is a gamification strategy? Well, it’s the strategy that decides where gamification fits, why it’s important to you, and it gives an idea of the strategy or the direction in which you want certain behaviors, certain changes, certain patterns to travel.

It should also tell us what does good look like? When is it successful? When, how’s it been a great? When has everyone adopted it? And what would you like to see at the end?

So I hope that answers the question, what is a gamification strategy? If you’re still not super clear, by all means, schedule a strategy gamification call and we can delve into a deeper, maybe more specific to your company and to your problem solving needs.

Thank you for listening, and if you like our podcast, do please share it to others. And if you have other questions, please ask and I’ll do my best to answer.


The post Podcast 38: What is a gamification strategy? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation. A question we get always or regularly asked, maybe not always, Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation. A question we get always or regularly asked, maybe not always, is what is a gamification strategy and... Gamification Nation 1 14:23
Podcast 37: How we took a top grossing mobile game and are making it into a recruitment, onboarding and learning solution Tue, 17 Mar 2020 15:15:27 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s a question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens, I’m the show host and the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week we will follow on from our podcast from last week where we discussed how you could use Monopoly or a...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 37: How we took a top grossing mobile game and are making it into a recruitment, onboarding and learning solution</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s a question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens, I’m the show host and the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week we will follow on from our podcast from last week where we discussed how you could use Monopoly or a board game of any kind as inspiration for your game design for work solution.

How to take inspiration from top-grossing games for serious purposes?

The question we’re answering today is how can top-grossing games be the inspiration for your solution, for your game based solution, basically?

To give you an idea, the client that we’re working with is operating in one of the Asian markets. We are under a strict NDA, so I cannot disclose the people or the kind of company it is, but I can give you some context.

Step 1: user research

It’s an Asian facing client or audience that we’re targeting and what they wanted to do was come up with something that would work for their recruitment, onboarding and learning, both learning for the first time as well as continuous development in the workplace. Now we did research and that’s always the first port of call for us when we have a new client, is we do research in the target audience to find out, what motivates them? What motivated them to join the company? What motivates them to learn? What motivates them to think of improving their career? What motivates them to show up every day and do a good day’s work? We basically ask a lot of questions around that. We also ask questions because we were looking at a game based solution of some sort, to solve all the problems of recruitment, on-boarding and learning in the organisation.

For that purpose we also want to know what are the types of games people were playing and the most topical game and also the top-grossing game at the time, it was a mobile online battle arena game. Now a mobile online battle arena game is like a multiplayer game, but played on mobile. You join a team, it’s five against five, two teams against each other and you play different characters in the team. Out of a team of five there are some roles that each of the team members need to take. Some are much more driven towards, let’s say fighting and attacking. Others are much more support positions and people with more devious attack strategies, et cetera. So in the game you have typically different characters. One of the things that you need to do is battle true to defense towers or your opponent’s team. So two teams are attacking each other effectively and what you’re trying to do is capture the other one’s castle, so to speak, or the main tower.

Now the way to do that is to go into attack, but also to strategically use all the helpers in the field successfully, all your boosting power successfully and basically attack from the position of strength with your team. So it involves a lot of teamwork. It involves quite a bit of learning and it involves understanding what are the important parts for your character, but also the important things to learn in the game.

Because it was mobile and I would say this, if you are aiming at an Asian audience, you would also always have to consider mobile first pretty much because the networks in Asian markets are mobile first as opposed to in Europe and US where you have a lot of desktop first applications and desktop still being the main tool of communication in business. Now that’s not to say that this is not the case in the Asian markets, but in Asia the use of mobile is much wider, much more accepted and much more prevalent and in your face than let’s say in other markets in the world.

Step 2: Recognising requirements

We know we needed to come up with a mobile solution and we wanted to model it off a mobile game. Now a mobile brings in a quite an interesting piece of gameplay and translates well to the world of work. First of all, teamwork. One of the things that’s important to the client is that people learn to work in teams and learn to behave in a manner that’s helpful to the team and their teammates. So that everybody hits targets and not just one individual, which is exactly the same in the mobile setup. The other reason why we said, okay, we can probably work with the mobile, is that we could set a battle arena up with different stations where knowledge or quests were built would result into something or testing a skill better that’s relevant to the job.

So whether that’s a scenario, whether that’s a puzzle, a quiz, a knowledge test of sorts to show, “Okay, are you able to do this? How good are you?” We wanted to basically let the learning being the driver of success and battling with knowledge as opposed to battling with pure weapons. So what we working on in and what we’re doing at the moment is basically distilling where in the game we effectively marry knowledge, recruitment and onboarding quests into the game so that it makes sense. How can we make sure that we hit the targets that the organization wants us to achieve, but also how can we make it as much fun as possible for the players to play.

Step 3: Game design process

If we work backwards to our conversation from a week ago, and what are the key ingredients for a good game, one of the things we looked at, the genre, the type of game. So teamwork is important to the clients. So therefore the team battle does work, allowing people to also have individual battles. So there is a mode that we’re working on which allows for individual battles. So that was also important. We also wanted there to be a strong link to something that the people knew, something that they’re already interested in playing, which is why we went with the top grossing game in the app store at the time and we modeled off that.

So the characters in our game are loosely inspired by the mobile game, but also loosely inspired by personality profiling tools that were used within the organization so that we could match more or less and it’s not a 100% scientific and not a 100% exact. Based on let’s say an initial profiling game, we basically matched the person with a recommended player to start off with. Then we send them into a team where ideally you balance the team with a number of people from different skillsets and different personality profiles.

Then when you go into battle, some of the first things you’d need to do is obviously learn how to play the game, which is traditional in all the games that you can possibly play. So we have a tutorial which teaches them about game play, which teaches them about how the game will work. Then we have a narrative. Now we wanted the narrative to reflect the future and to reflect that, can you be the employee of the future? Can you battle the challenges of what’s coming to us in our future years? So there’s a bit of a narrative around that. The characters are loosely inspired, as we said by personality profiles and we linked them to animals so that we kind of disassociated from let’s say the typical office stereotypes that could exist. So we wanted to make sure it was free of office stereotypical behavior.

How did we want players to feel? We want players to feel that the game is fun and that they’re learning unbeknownst to themselves. So now there’s a lot of, yes we are taking challenges. Yes we are getting better, but we are doing it as part of gameplay as opposed to, I’ve got to take this course or I’ve got to take this onboarding challenge or recruitment challenges. So we wanted to be as much fun as possible and we also want to show to people that they are actually progressing in the game. So we do have what’s in-game terms, is the heads up display or in layman’s terms it’s like a dashboard that shows you how you’re progressing towards your skills. So we have regular items like that in the game and different prompts to make you improve and make you get better.

In terms of what makes the game or what were the critical game mechanics that were in it. So obviously the mobile layout, so if you’ve ever played on mobile or a multiplayer online battle arena game and there are some on the market, so if you’ve played League of Legends, maybe Dota or Mobile Legends or any take of such games, then you know that most of these games have a very specific field with lanes. There’s typically an upper lane and a down lane and a middle lane. In each of the lanes, you have different points where you have to battle. We kept the battle stations. The way of battling is through your character having the typical an axe, spears, the regular things that you would see in battle games, but you upgrade your character through knowledge and you win battles through knowledge and then you adapt and you use what you’ve gained in knowledge into better-equipped gameplay, better-equipped team, etc. The ultimate game to win and the ultimate final takedown of the opposite site’s tower is purely knowledge-based and it’s a team effort.

Everyone in the team is asked to take part. So having a team with wide areas of interests and good knowledge across a number of topics is always helpful. Plus people that are actually committed to doing their bit for the team. So we measure peer-to-peer feedback on how you played and how good of a team player you were. But we also measure your progress in terms of topics, in terms of learning and then your resilience in how often do you come back, how willing are you to try new things. So we set up a number of measurables that were important to the client and basically they include things like you trying again, repeating things, practising things like how quick are you to take up a new skill, how quick are you to try a new tool. So there is a number of measures that they would also have in let’s say, their performance management framework internally, which help you to upgrade and level up as a player.

Step 4: adapt the game to suit the serious purpose of the game

Can you use top grossing games as inspiration? Absolutely. You can. The only I suppose held warning I would say to give with that is that you may have to tweak and change some of the core design quite significantly for it to work in the context that you’re playing with. And I would also say that you also have to be mindful that not everybody in the company will be playing that game. The majority may. Find out if that is 60, 70% that plays, a 30, 40% that doesn’t play that specific game but instead typically plays other games or doesn’t play at all. So you need to make sure to your gameplay is also accessible for them. So we have included some extra tutorials and also an area where none of the in-game pressure is there for people to practice so they can learn the game do better as they go, so need to be inclusive.

The other things that we’re mindful of are the size of the game because as, as we did research, we also said, okay, what makes you download something? What would you stop, see downloading? And some of the main points were around bandwidth around how much data it would use and how long it takes to download something. So those are very practical considerations to take into account. So if we look up the narrative, the narrative worked for the organisation, the characters also worked for the organization. We have made them disassociate with humans so that we wouldn’t feel that anybody would be pigeonholed, which is why we used animals as a Dick counter and we didn’t want to go with the fantasy fiction character results are typical in in a battle arena game. So we want it to be different enough so that people would see it as a, as something fun to explore from.

How do they win? You still need to beat the server of the opponents and the tower or the server. We called it the server. And in order to beat the tower, it’s based on how well you know, the knowledge, not the company needs you to know and how well you perform that in the short space of time, which was mimicking some of the work that your organization does. On a day to day basis. So it’s a lifelike situation we could say. And we recreated that into a battle arena game. How do players feel wonder winning? When they’re winning, they basically, obviously you feel like it’s a team effort and hopefully the whole team feel like they have been able to contribute and win. They also feel that it was a challenge. So it wasn’t so super easy that you know, you could do it in your sleep.

And it was interesting for both people that play Boston arena games and people that don’t so that the new people to the team could also feel like they could contribute. What did the losers feel? A bit of remorse that they didn’t try harder and the sort of the urge to try again and take up the challenge again so that they’d try again to, to play a new game and I suppose to do better. And I’d known their topics better over time and comp to, to when the next time there is an element of balancing skill in understanding mobile game play on skill in understanding the knowledge not the company wants to transfer. And that’s basically why we selected a mobile game. But also it’s also where the challenge lies for us as designers to make it work. So it’s not that easy to achieve.

And bringing somebody along on that journey is also proving to be an interesting challenge. We know that’s from a learning perspective, the thinking is sound. So bringing a client on this journey is always interesting from our perspective because in effect you’re asking them to take a leap of faith into your ability. Translate let’s say complex business challenges into a game environment. And for us the challenge is also how can we make it so balanced that experienced players and inexperienced players will do well, but also people with little knowledge will be able to progress and dose with a lot of knowledge. We’ll be able to progress. So we’re looking at it from many angles and it’s, it’s a big journey of project like this takes usually about 12 months to complete. So it’s not a real quick fix and it also takes a bit of a leap of faith from the client organization to, to choose us and to stick with us and to help develop something into a meaningful, useful scenario for their workforce, for their potential employees and for their existing employees.

So hopefully in due course we will be able to share more on, especially when it goes live. We probably will share links [inaudible] that might be a good few months away if not longer. So if you are interested, let us know. If you want one of these things for your own organization, we definitely would be happy to talk to you. We can only take in a number of those a year cause they’re big projects and require a lot of resource time from, from all of us. So if you want this, be ready to go and be ready to embark on, let’s say a long term process. Open to bit of fates of jumping into the unknown. Because what we know from game design, we also know that most organizations are not yet accustomed to. Our agile way of working is also not as easy to understand for everyone. So if you want to do this in your company, be willing to take a bit of inspiration, but also be patient, work with and trust the process.

We know the process works. We have won awards with our work. We’ve won very good outcomes for our clients, so we know that we can do the job. It’s more a case of are you willing to trust us to deliver? And let’s hope that you come and talk to us for your potential multiplayer online battle arena game or something else completely based on a top grossing game that you believe your target audience loves and will engage with. So thank you for listening. If you have any questions, do please reach out and let us know and I’ll do my best to answer them.



The post Podcast 37: How we took a top grossing mobile game and are making it into a recruitment, onboarding and learning solution appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s a question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens, I’m the show host and the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week we will follow on from our podcast from last week where we discussed how you could use Monopoly or a... Welcome to this week’s a question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens, I’m the show host and the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week we will follow on from our podcast from last week where we discussed how you could use Monopoly or a... Gamification Nation 1 clean 18:52
Podcast 36: How to use a game as inspiration for your serious game and gamification design Wed, 04 Mar 2020 16:52:11 +0000 0 <p>How games inspire us in gamification? We want to pick a game that you all know to illustrate how we work and how it inspires what we do. I often tell our game designers that you can make any game into something that we can...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 36: How to use a game as inspiration for your serious game and gamification design</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> How games inspire us in gamification?

We want to pick a game that you all know to illustrate how we work and how it inspires what we do.

I often tell our game designers that you can make any game into something that we can use either for learning, for HR, for recruitment, onboarding, marketing, lead generation, etc. Sometimes they frown their eyebrows at me to sort of say, “Well, that actually doesn’t work.” Or, “We don’t know how that could work.” Then we tease it out a little bit further. My thinking is always if there is some commonality in the game and in the business problem that we’re trying to solve, then we have a chance that it could fit. If it appeals to the people that are in that organisation, then obviously we can look at how can that game applies. Or how can we take the game elements that work for that game and apply it to the processes that they have? Whether that’s marketing, HR, sales, you name it. Whatever is a process in business we can add game elements to it.

Board games are social in nature

Let’s pick on an example that you probably all know, the game of Monopoly. The game of Monopoly is a board game. By default, the game genre or the game type is social in nature. Why? Because people have to sit around a table to play it. It’s not something that you do on your own. I mean, maybe some people can, maybe there are online versions that you can play on your own, typically against a bot which pretends to be another player.

Monopoly is a good example of a social setting game that can be quite complex and where you can have up to five or six people playing at the same time. Where could a board game be useful in the world of work? Well, actually any time where you have a conference, anytime where you have learning taking place in groups or even at leadership events where you want to address a specific, rather complex situation, board games can be very useful.

I would even argue that often board games trigger more conversation than let’s say any digital type of game or digital type learning or even structured classroom learning. Because what you’re basically asking people to do is apply their limited knowledge to solve a problem, AKA the game.

Games ask you to solve problems

What problem does Monopoly solve? Well, it basically gets you to think about the supply and demand of real estate, the supply and demand of your money, and how far it stretches.

It also makes you think about, “Okay. Strategically, which types of streets do I want? What kind of buildings can I afford to put on them? And how lucky am I in rolling the dice?” Because there is an element of luck attached to the Monopoly game as well.

Whatever game genre you pick, it needs to be fitting to your audience, but also fitting to the problem you’re trying to solve.

If you want people to be able to access your game remotely, then obviously it needs to be in some shape or form digital or able to be posted to them.

Imagine how the losers feel and experience the game (as well as the winners)

In Monopoly, each player plays for themselves and plays against the other players and ultimately there is a winner and a whole bunch of losers at the end. Some of the losers will feel the pain as they go through the game. Some of the losers just have been playing all along but just didn’t end up with all of the money in the end of the day.

To compete or to collaborate that is a purpose driven question

The thing to consider is what you wanted the game to do. Do you want it to be competitive? If you have competitive people, we often ask the question is that the best strategy for your game? Because often when you have really competitive spirits, then I would suggest look at a collaborative board game. If you want to make it a social event-related … because you still want people to talk to each other after, you still want people to work together. And for a workplace setting, often collaboration is something that’s desired by many employers that we’ve met and it could be useful.

Is team play important to you or is it individual? There are some considerations to take into account when you pick the game type. Monopoly is what we picked for now. It’s social in nature, it’s every person for themselves. And whoever has the best strategy on claiming maybe the most expensive streets and build hotels on them is the person that wins the game.

Have clear win conditions

How do they win? Well, obviously, here it’s about money. It’s about landing on the right places. So, there’s an element of luck but there’s also an element of critical thinking. Some people buy every item that they land on. Some people only buy the ones that they really are looking out for. Some people like to own the utilities. Some people like to own the stations. Whatever strategy you pick, it’s up to you. It’s up to the player.

Now the winner will realise over a number of rounds that they’re winning because people are paying them big money and bigger and bigger as they build more and own more streets. So, they’ll probably feel mighty chuffed and mighty lucky that they got this headstart and now their winning. Now for the loser who’s trying to penny pinch, still buy, and stay in the game, it’s a whole totally different experience. It’s more about, “Okay, what can I do? How can I escape having to pay out?”

If you’re unfortunate and you have to go to jail or you pick a really unfortunate, a few set back cards, you know your game can be made miserable in a few very quick steps. So, how do you want people to feel when they’re playing is something I often ask our clients. And it’s something to consider about the games you’re playing and looking at for inspiration for potential gamification or a serious game that you’re going to use to solve a problem in your company. I would always say, “How will the winners feel?” And, “How will the losers feel?” And, “Are those feelings desirable for teaching them something that’s important in business or is that something you don’t want them to feel?”

So, for a board game, for example, if you choose collaboration versus competition, if you have a collaborative board game, it’s the team around the table against the board. So, the game needs to be hard enough on the board for the team to all get stuck in and feel like they have a role to play to defeat the board. If you go for one to one or competitive play where all the players sitting alongside each other can win or lose, you’ll cause an element of peer to peer pressure, a bit of banter hopefully.

Because if you think about the people that play Monopoly specifically, for us, it’s usually was a game that came out around holidays or when friends or family were visiting. So, it’s clear that you have that kind of relationship with one another that you’re going to have a bit of a joke and a bit of a laugh. “Oh, well, you go to prison.” Or, “Hey you. She always gets the most expensive hotel on the most expensive street in that particular city.” So, the banter can be something you do want to encourage.

We learn from losing

When there’s losers, also look at your people and say, “Okay. How did they cope with losing?” “Is it a useful skill?” Because if it’s useful to learn and remembering that we actually learn more from our mistakes and we learn from how we win. Because winning might be accidental, we might strike lucky. We might be the first that ended up on the most expensive street and had the funds to buy it and therefore you should have and you did.

Winning teaches the person what it feels like to win, most of the time. Losing, teaches them, “Okay. I played a strategy and the strategy didn’t work.” You often find that people who lose are more reflective and would think, “Okay. What could I have done differently?” If you’re using serious games for learning, for specific context, I would even encourage you that you do a debrief and actually get into that discussion, “What did you learn from the game? Why did you win? Why did you lose? What would you do different?”

Game design is about creating emotional connections

Remember also that game design is about creating an emotional connection and an emotional experience as such. In most cases, when we design a serious game and games for digital purposes or for learning, we often think about: “How will players feel?”, “Is that intentional?”, “How can we make them experience something more or something less,” in some cases. The emotional connection is what sets games apart typically from traditional learning, traditional information processing in companies, even mailshots and information passing from your company to your potential clients.

Decide what are the critical game mechanics

Then the next thing to look at, what are the critical game mechanics that make it so much fun? So, is there such a thing? Is there a critical game mechanics? So, the element of luck, the rolling of the dice in Monopoly is a game mechanic that actually adds to the game because it makes it less predictable who’s going to win and who’s going to do well or not.

The other critical thing is that, obviously, you have a board with set squares on it which each provide a function. The fact that there are so many squares on the board and how they’re distributed, is a question of balancing the game. That’s where the art of game design really comes in. Balancing a game, making it fair for all the players to be able to potentially win and do well is what game designers, like ourselves, actually specialize in.

And it’s not so easy. Most of the people that design games for the first time find that it’s an element of luck to get it right or an element of testing to get it right. It takes multiple tests to take multiple pieces of feedback to understand, “Is this working? Is this fair? Is this fun?” Because those are the kinds of things you do want to put in.

In Monopoly, you have the squares where you go to jail, but you also have free parking which is a resting place where nothing actually happens. You have squares where you’re asked to take a particular card which can drive you forward or set you back depending on the card. And the money in the game is important because that determines how well you will do. So, if you throw more higher numbers, you collect more money at each time starting a new round. You also, if you have started building houses and you have bought land, you start collecting rent.

There are different ways on how the money is super vital in the game of Monopoly. If we were to distill it down, the board and the various pieces are essential, the dice are essential and the money is essential. And how those interact is what creates the dynamics that makes the game of Monopoly work. If you were to distill down what makes a good game and how that could apply to a problem you’re trying to solve is you have to look at the narrative.

Does the narrative work for my problem?

Does a real estate narrative, like you have in a Monopoly, help in your problem. Now if you’re in real estate, probably yes, if you’re into anything else, probably not. So, what should the narrative be for your game? How can they win? So, what are the win conditions? How can the people that sit around a table win? How do you want to make them feel when they’re winning, when they’re losing, when they’re playing? So those are critical components. And then what are the game mechanics that make the game work and that are essential to the game?

The temptation for all of us when we start out in game design is to throw as many game mechanics to a game as possible. And I would argue that’s probably the worst thing you could do because you make it super complex and very hard to balance. So, less is more when you’re starting out. Even a game with only one win condition as a game mechanic can work. So, that’s what we’ve realized over years of testing and experimenting, and obviously, the genre needs to be specific to your problem, work for your audience, et cetera.

Those are the critical components that we look at when we’re looking for inspiration from games that are in existence. And this is how we recommend that you could use it in your organisation. So, look out for more content of this type because we’ll debunk a few more game types and see how they can inspire. Thank you for listening and keep sending us your questions and we will do our best to answer them.


The post Podcast 36: How to use a game as inspiration for your serious game and gamification design appeared first on Gamification Nation.

How games inspire us in gamification? We want to pick a game that you all know to illustrate how we work and how it inspires what we do. I often tell our game designers that you can make any game into something that we can... How games inspire us in gamification? We want to pick a game that you all know to illustrate how we work and how it inspires what we do. I often tell our game designers that you can make any game into something that we can... Gamification Nation 1 clean 14:12
Podcast 35: What makes a great learning game? Tue, 18 Feb 2020 11:58:11 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s, a question of gamification. This week, I’m talking about what makes a great learning game. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and also the show host for this show. Serious games must still be...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 35: What makes a great learning game?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s, a question of gamification. This week, I’m talking about what makes a great learning game. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and also the show host for this show.

Serious games must still be fun

We are working a lot on learning related games, HR related games, and games for all kinds of marketing related business purposes. One of the key things we focus in is both gamification and serious games for business usage. We don’t just make games for fun, we want to make games that are fun, but also have a serious objective.

The definition of a serious game is a game designed with a serious objective in mind, in our case that is typically a business related scenario.

I want to make clear, when we say serious games, usually people think, they’re boring. To be honest, a learning game should still be fun to play. If it’s not fun to play, you are immediately causing a barrier for someone to make the most out of their learning experience. First things first, learning games should still be fun.

How do you make a game fun? There are many ways of doing that. Interaction is definitely a requirement. It differs very much from a training setup for eLearning, for example, where you just click next. A learning game should be making you think, making you realize that maybe I don’t know everything here and I need to explore, I need to find out, I need to discover what else there is to learn. Encouraging curiosity to delve deeper into the topic.

Learning by experiencing

What makes a great learning game? In my view, there are a couple of things. I believe a good learning game creates an experience where you are learning by doing, whether that’s the doing of whatever it is you need them to learn mimicked in a digital space or in a board game space where you go through the same motions and emotions of what a real scenario would be like.

For example, we made a cybersecurity board game where the players have to defend the company when a cyber attack happens. The game was created to help salespeople to sell more cybersecurity insurance and understand why a business owner should have such insurance. It’s a very specific objective. We created an experience, there was emotion in the game because people could lose their business, they could be fined a lot of money, they could lose a lot of money based on cyber attacks that happened. You couldn’t control the attack, but you could control your chosen response as a team sitting around the board trying to collaboratively defend the business. We mimicked real life scenarios.

Life like experiences work best for adults

With adult learners, in my opinion, the more closely it is linked to real life experiences, the more chance you have of it being a great learning game. Because you immediately provide the context that they need in order to have the ability to make sense of learning. If you think of our brain as a sense-making device, making sense of something is linking it to things that we can relate to, things that we understand. Complex topics for example, cybersecurity to a laymans person could result in responses like: I don’t know nothing about cyber and it may make them run the other way. No matter how well you explain it in your learning. Experiencing what happens, experiencing what can be done is one thing. Actually going through the emotions and experiencing an attack in a game from the same perspective as the prospective client. Also gives the same kind of feedback as if you would, have expereinced it first hand in reality. It may not be as extreme as what would happen in real life in case you were the owner of a business under cyber attack. Creating an experience that resembles real life, with similar choices and consequences, is one of the key ingredients in my view for a good learning game.

Appeal to the intrinsic motivation of the learner

The other aspects of good learning game, it’s about the intrinsic motivation of the learner. What is it that the learner needs to learn? What is it that motivates that person to learn? Most of us learn out of curiosity or out of necessity. Because we don’t know how to do something or because we are not able to do something, but we want to be able to do something. There are many reasons people learn but curiosity and how to are two good starting points. There are also people who are lifelong learners and they will always be thinking, what did I learn from this, what can I pick up from that person? No matter where they go, what they do, they are always learning.

For a learning game, you want to have a clear idea of what the learners motivation is? what is the kind of learner I’m trying to appeal to? Is it a curiosity learner? Is it, why do I have to do this learner? Is it somebody that’s on a career path and just needs that extra bit of certification to get there? Is it someone that is looking for the quick fix? Different reasons for learning will give you different game set ups and game constructs.

In some case, I would even advise against games in order to facilitate learning. For example, for the quick fix learner, don’t bother with a game, let them go on YouTube or find a checklist on how to do something. A game here would have only caused friction.

If however it’s more skills-based and more practice focused, then obviously a good learning game can help in that perspective.

Have clear learning objectives

The third key point is that great learning games should also have learning objectives. Learning objectives are things in learning design, which we always looked for at the start of a course. Learning objectives explain why should someone take the course and what will they learn throughout the course. They also define how we will know that they have learned it. Those are the sorts of key questions you want to answer before you start designing games. What do we need them to learn, to what level, and how will we know that they have learned it? That could be any topic, any given subject matter.

In the learning game, learning objectives are still important, on top of it being a good intrinsic and emotional experience to learn from. learning game design is more complex than let’s say designing a learning and eLearning course in my view. Great eLearning courses also appeal to some other reasons why people learn. The answer that also should be given is, is this essential for the end user? Is this an essential piece of learning?

In my view, a lot of learning related activities in the workplace are focused around things like compliance, tick box exercises. where every year you have to make sure that you inform your people on how to behave appropriately so the company doesn’t get fined. This happens in the financial sector. This happens in quite a few regulated environments where making sure that people do the right thing at the right time is part and parcel of the practice.

Will the learning game add value?

I would say learning games have a place, but only if they serve the purpose of getting the person to do the right thing and there being consequences. We’ve created gamified processes to let people test out of compliance training when they already know it. Because it’s repetitive in nature, it doesn’t mean that repeating it will make sure that you retain it better the next time. It often means that people switch off and will race to get through it, in order to make sure that box is ticked. Horses for courses.

If you want to make compliance training interesting, make it thought provoking and put people in scenarios where there is a gray area where the correct answer isn’t so clear cut, unless you know your stuff and where potentially wrong choices can be made. Because most companies and most employees don’t set out on purpose to do the wrong thing. Yet, circumstances may create situations where they make the wrong decisions and then they end up in a loop that they cannot get out of.

If you look at some of the big financial misconduct cases where fund managers went into a pattern of very risky investments and kept doing it because they thought they could find a way out of it. It’s those kinds of trends that you want to watch for it and those kinds of trends that actually would make a good learning game because you can test how resilient your people are in making sure that they don’t fall for trends like that and what to do in case that they feel they’re on a slippery slope on the downward curve for those things. It’s important and it’s part of what makes a good learning game. You need a good reason why the knowledge needs to exist, why it’s important and whether it actually is going to help your people or not.

Blooms taxonomy and learning games

The other thing that I often see when I look for information around learning games is that in game design people refer to “do” words, as what can the player do. This is obviously interaction related and giving the player things to do is part and parcel of any game. It’s what we design for.

A good use of a learning technology model in the learning game space is Blooms taxonomy. Some people hate it, some people love it, but if we’re looking for verbs that are ‘to do’ related, it provides you some good ideas and a good yardstick. Bloom’s taxonomy said there is a number of things that we want to encourage. We want to remember maybe facts, concepts, et cetera. You may want to understand and explain an idea, a concept, how something works. You may want to apply a specific new piece of information or a new skill to a situation. You may want to analyse how things compare and contrast, and which would be the better action or did we take the right course of action or not? Games provide a very good framework for that.

We give evaluations in games, true feedback, et cetera so evaluates and then to create a new piece of work or a new way of working or a new skill. If we look at the kind of things that Bloom’s says, that’s the six layers of the taxonomy, create, evaluate, analyse, apply, understand, remember are certainly the big headings, but you can actually find lists of verb on what people can actually do.

When I see game designers talk about, this is how you do it in a learning game and this is new because most people have not thought about that. Actually learning designers, teachers have been thinking about that for some time. Some of the verbs available to you come from these kind of frameworks like a Bloom’s, and there are others. If you’ve never heard of it, I’ll include a framework into the show notes so you can have a look at it and check your verb lists and see if they are actually useful to you or not. I think you should have a look at it. I also believe it’s pretty standard, pretty good practice to include them into learning game design.

Uncovering blind spots with games

What else should be in learning game design? It should provoke questions or raise awareness. I think a lot of the time, we don’t see, what we don’t know or we don’t know, what we do know. The game can help in bringing out either your blind spot or making obvious that you know something and that you can apply it in a specific situation.

We can use games for repetition, we can use games for new skills creation. Most games are opportunities to problem solve and they can be very in depth or they can be quick on the spur of the moment kind of problem solving. It’s a completely different ball game if we’re playing, for example, a role playing game around a sales scenario where the customer becomes increasingly unhappy with how we’re dealing with their situation and we’re not connecting, but the objective is to still make the sale. On the other hand, Tetris, where it’s different prepositions falling into a line and you have to drag them into the right place, it’s a quick decision, you know it or you don’t know it. It’s more of, let’s say, an assessment of how you know it or how well you know something.

In some of the role playing scenarios, you may have linked affects that have positive consequences, linked affects that have negative consequences, and I think they all have a place. In my view, there’s no game type that cannot be adapted to a learning space. We are working on a battle arena for learning, which is an interesting and a challenging concept to work with, but it is possible. We are making it work, and the game designers are stretching and flexing their design muscles to make sure that it fits and that it is also fit for purpose. The reason why we chose that specific game type is because our research told us that the marketplace that we are developing this for, the top grossing games was a MOBA game at a time of research, and most of the subsequent games in that markets are MOBA style games. We’re just jumping on the trend to help people learn in a much more creative way than they have been used to date.

What makes a good learning game?

To recap, it should be fun. It should be intrinsically motivated or focused on intrinsic motivation, why the learner learns, useful to the learner. It should provide feedback and it should focus on what to do and what to learn and ideally stimulate some thoughts and some critical thinking, as to how did I apply my skill or how do I learn better?

I hope that gives you an insight into my thinking around learning games and game based learning. If you have any questions in this space, feel free to ask, and we’ll be happy to help and answer your questions or work on your projects. Thank you for listening.


The post Podcast 35: What makes a great learning game? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s, a question of gamification. This week, I’m talking about what makes a great learning game. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and also the show host for this show. Welcome to this week’s, a question of gamification. This week, I’m talking about what makes a great learning game. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and also the show host for this show. Serious games must still be... Gamification Nation 1 15:28
Podcast 34: Is gamification different from game design for business? Tue, 11 Feb 2020 09:05:10 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to A Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and the show host for this program. Today I’ll give you a health warning. It’s a bit of a ranty post or a ranty show, because...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 34: Is gamification different from game design for business?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to A Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and the show host for this program. Today I’ll give you a health warning. It’s a bit of a ranty post or a ranty show, because I read up a lot and I follow a lot of technology newsletters, and funding newsletters, et cetera. A few days ago, one of the newsletters came in and the title read How to Move Beyond Gamification. There was yet another top CEO of a technology company saying how gamification completely stinks and is the world’s worst gift to the planet, and you should use game design instead.

Intrinsic motivation is essential

I found that fascinating, because obviously gamification is drafted and distilled from game design. If you’re a game designer or gamification designer who has not studied game design, then I would question what do they base their foundations on? One of the things, and one of the points he went on to make, is that gamification was extrinsically motivated confetti that you put on top of something, and basically game design was intrinsically motivated. Actually I would argue that for good gamification to happen, it needs to be intrinsically motivated all of the time. No negotiation. Whether you’re using gamification to aid with a process, or whether you’re using it to create a serious game, both with the purpose of improving something to do with work.

Ironically, the system that they have designed and the tool that they use is very much a gamified a solution. In some sense it is exactly what we would do for our clients. One thing then that came strongly from the post, is he described what I would describe as good gamification practice. Namely, understanding the motivations of your users. Understanding they can be encouraged one way or another, how they will improve based on what you’re offering them.

Answer the question: What is in it for me?

You have to always answer the biggest question, the, “What’s in it for me?” question. Because otherwise, no matter how cool your system is, people are not going to use it. The same goes for games. Where I think games and gamification often diverge is, the level of emotional intensity that they create in their experiences. In most games, the emotional draw is high, the commitment is high, and the risk of losing that is also high. If you drop out of the game in mid play, you lose out. Typically, that’s what keeps people playing until the end.

In work, you don’t always have the freedom to continue working on what you are working on until the end. Sometimes people interrupt you. These things happen. When we look at gamification design, I still believe it’s good practice to tap into the emotional experience as well. More and more, we see tools from UX around empathy mapping coming into the gamification space and into the game design space, which I believe is a good thing. Superficial gamification, where you are purely rewarding and punishing based on superficial things, like extra bonuses, badges, points, et cetera. They are good mechanics to use, but if they’re not part of a bigger package and if they don’t mean anything to the end user, they’re bloody well useless.It doesn’t take a technical rocket scientist to figure that one out.

I do feel that in the industry in general, that people often slam gamification because it suits them. It’s good click bait for their articles or titles, but really they’re also hurting an industry. Even from within the gamification industry, I see a lot of people knocking what we’re all trying to achieve. I think most of the people I know and have worked with are definitely out to deliver something of value, rather than just delivering something that makes them profit or is the next big thing or has been. Because if we look at it objectively, the gamification big buzz has definitely passed, and thank goodness for that! I feel it means that more serious players are still around.

Good game design knowledge is key for good gamification design

People that are really wanting to make a difference are still around, and they are making a difference. There are really good results based on gamified solutions. What the good ones have done is they have used good game design techniques, so that same CEO wasn’t wrong in using game design principles. Where I felt he wasn’t informed enough is that, actually gamification sprung from game design. For those people that work with gamification and have never studied game design, I urge you to read up on game design mechanics, game design techniques.

There are great books on the market from some fantastic game designers. I personally attend game design conferences. I learned game design, albeit through an online delivered course, from Train to Game. There are many ways of learning about game design these days. Again, LinkedIn learning, I often watch videos by experienced game designers on how they would do it differently. I subscribe to newsletters from game design conferences as well as the newsletter GamaSutra, which is a game design newsletter with fantastic information in it. If you want to be better and get better at your craft, I would also say join game jams, join hackathons, where you can combine the best of your skills with the best of game design, because you will learn new things. It’s just a fact of life.

For all of those tech CEOs or people in our own small industry of gamification, when you are knocking the industry for personal gain, also understand that you’re hurting a small player somewhere. I think it’s a bad idea. If somebody spoke badly about your specific family member, a friend, you wouldn’t like it. Why do it about an industry that’s trying to still find a place, and basically give everyone in it a chance to make a good slice of living, but also to add the value that they all want to add.

For those of you who are not in this space for adding value, please get out. I can’t put it any nicer way. Find yourself something else to do. There are plenty of things you can do. I see it as a positive development that it’s becoming more mainstream. It was mainly the evangelists in the industry that were talking for the last number of years and, to see more general, tech CEOs also dropping it into their conversations, because they feel like there is something to it. Even if they disagree, I think is a positive.

I think it’s gaining notoriety, but don’t be fooled. Gamification should be based on game design. Those that tell you it’s not, in my view, are missing a trick. Gamification should definitely always be intrinsically motivated and focused. All of the great people in this space will have told you that plenty of times. I’m confident that if you’re learning from the right people, you’ll see some great examples too.

Thank you for listening to my rather ranty episode this week of A Question of Gamification. If you want more information on how to do it right, by all means reach out. We’ll work with you. I hope to hear your questions. We’d always be looking forward to answering yours. Thank you very much for listening.


The post Podcast 34: Is gamification different from game design for business? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to A Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and the show host for this program. Today I’ll give you a health warning. It’s a bit of a ranty post or a ranty show, because... Welcome to A Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation, and the show host for this program. Today I’ll give you a health warning. It’s a bit of a ranty post or a ranty show, because... Gamification Nation 9:25
Podcast 33: What are the gamification trends for 2020? Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:34:04 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the Chief Gamechanger at Gamification Nation. And first of all we with our first episode of 2020, I would like to say Happy New Year to all of our listeners and followers. And...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 33: What are the gamification trends for 2020?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the Chief Gamechanger at Gamification Nation. And first of all we with our first episode of 2020, I would like to say Happy New Year to all of our listeners and followers. And if you watch this or listen to this later in the year, not to worry, we still wish you a Happy New Year and I hope it’s going great for you.


We want to kick off 2020 with our glass bowl in front of us and a bit of predictions, trends, what we were expecting for this year in the space of Gamification and everything has to do with game design that’s applied to business purposes. First thing that we think or I think personally is going to happen is that we’ll see more market consolidation. In the past year and in the past number of years we’ve seen bigger business systems buying up smaller players in the Gamification space.

ERP’s and gamification, continued market consolidation

Some of the big enterprise resource planning systems, which you may have come across the likes of SAP, Oracle, those named companies have been probably around for some time in buying Gamification platforms and how they apply to learning and development. We have seen a few of those acquisitions in the past year. I think that trend will continue. I also believe that on the other side we’ll also have more startups entering the market, which is something we’ve seen last year. I think every month we’ve heard at least of two or three or four new platforms, new applications, sometimes very specifically zoning in on, for example, lead generation. Another one focusing in on just purely educational technology and Gamification. No matter where you look, there’s new players entering the market and in some sense that’s a good thing because that means that there’s still a market and the market is still growing.

On the other side, it makes it also more crowded and a bit more aggressive. People fighting for their slice of the pie. We think that’s going to increase and continue to increase in 2020. I don’t think it’s going to stop anytime soon. In some of the market segments like marketing, like business efficiency, like supply chain, we still have plenty of scope for a new platform so if you’re still looking to enter into that space. And some market segments are quite hard to break into or to upset the existing big name platforms that have been traditionally in place and the ERP systems are a case in point.

That’s why they’re buying the other systems. What I always found fascinating about the enterprise resource planning systems is that they were built to support business processes mainly for industrial style companies. They came from the accounting function, typically speaking and then audit in typically engineering, manufacturing, etcetera, and they have since evolved to force fit a little bit into the service space, which is probably the biggest space for most businesses and most countries. Where most money is made, at least in Europe, that’s definitely very much the case.

I questioned how useful and reflective of work practices these systems are for real because some of the time, my question is when a client comes to us and asks us, “Oh well I want to add the Gamification on top of my X big name system.” I often ask why. And typically the answer is, “My people aren’t using it.” And then the question really should be why?  It’s also my first question, why are they not using it? Typically the answer is a combination of factors. Some don’t see the purpose for it, some think it’s too slow, some feel it’s not up to the job. Let’s not forget that a lot of these systems were designed in the 50s to serve businesses in the 50s. Business has moved on, systems have been developed, but are expensive and often the contracts in place are not easy to break.

That’s why people don’t move on. And the bigger the organization, the less easy it is to just jump into another system. There are many reasons for that. When you’re looking to add Gamification into a platform, do it for the right reasons. If not, buy a platform that suits your needs better and that can be a gamified system out of the box to solve specific problems you’re dealing with or it can be a completely different system that maybe today hasn’t been designed yet. There’s your market opportunity. First trend is that the market will continue to consolidate, but that will also still see a large volume of new solutions, new platforms entering the market.

Blended and immersive gamification

The other thing that we see as a big trend, and it’s a continuation of a trend because in previous years I’ve also put it on my trend list, is that Gamification will be blended and immersive.

Now what’s the difference and how does that work? Well, blended means that you use it as part of a mix of things that you do. Just like in a learning environment, you can have classroom training, e-learning, learning games. Gamification can be the bit that basically pulls the learning quest together and pushes you through the variety of blended technologies or blended modalities for learning, for generating content or for assimilating content. Immersive is also where you bring in experiences where the person gets so engrossed into the experience that they forget about time. It’s as if you got stuck into a piece of work and you just completely lost all sense of time and all of a sudden it’s lunchtime. It happens to all of us. We’ve all had it. That’s what I mean with immersive. To recreate that through Gamification is not an easy task and I actually think not some of the work focused platforms already are edging in that way.

For example, we have inbox zero or inbox management systems that basically act on your behalf and help you through teaching your system to act on your behalf in the best way through machine learning and Gamification combined to set it up so that it helps you be the most focused. We have focus mode on some of the platforms we use. I see it on Microsoft, I see it on WordPress, I see it on other systems we use where you can basically block all out all distractions and then things like nudgers, feedback loops are the bits not Gamification adds into the question where Gamification can actually find value. I think there is a few things that are into the mix. I also believe that virtual worlds can assist us in creating immersive experiences. You don’t necessarily have to step into full VR experience if locking yourself out of the real world is an inhibitor, but stepping into a virtual space where you can try and assimilate learning or work can also be very useful in this space.

I think the combination of good practice will make the experience better. Will also set people up to take charge of how they want to experience and how they basically get the best out of Gamification and game based work environment. In my view, blended and immersive is going to continue. Augmented reality, virtual reality are in the mix. I think they will become more standard practice and they serve a great purpose. Each of them in their own rights. I think that’s only going to grow.

Climate and sustainability

In terms of topics of Gamification, I think this year the focus will be more around climate and sustainability and as this is a very much, I think driven by what’s all around us. I think global warming is not out of the news since well before Christmas from the bushfires in Australia to all sorts of eruptions with volcanoes, flooding in regions.

We all see it, we all feel it, we all experience it. And I reckon you have to have been living under a rock if you haven’t followed any of the stories last year of young people standing up to their governments and taking time from their classes to go and protest in favor of climate change. I think it’s topical, but I also think it has brought a bad behavior shaming to the floor, which I don’t necessarily think is always a positive, but pointing out that look, you can do better, you can improve. And how can you individually contribute to make a difference? I think that’s where we’ve seen the shift from debates to actual activity and action. I know for sure that’s a lot of organizations are putting more effort into more climate friendly manufacturing procedures, more climate friendly ways of meeting, more climate friendly approaches to running the business.

And one of the big industries that responded quite quickly to this protesting and what’s alive in the market is the industry of entertainment where concerts and some bands decided, “Okay, we want to take an approach that’s different. We don’t know how we’re trying to figure it out.” And I think this year will be the year where a lot of companies are figuring it out. A lot of cities, a lot of regions and nations are spending money in this space. And in a corporate sector, the corporate sustainability function, which typically was tasked with looking at climate and sustainability and reporting on it will also be tasked with, “Look, what can we actively get our people or employees to do to make a difference.” We on our side have won a project with the city of Brugge to assist companies but also schools in encouraging people to take the most climate friendly commute.

If you’re interested in that, we’ll be keeping an update and a live project schedule relating to this project because they actively encourage us to share. Keep an eye out. If you’re interested for your organization or your area of city, nation, let us know. We’d happily talk to you and explain what we’re doing and how this may work for you.

Multi-device design

The other trend we see, and this is a trend more from a practical I suppose, design perspective because we’re in the design space, we would have to include some design trends. Multi devices. Bring your own device has been a thing for some time in the workplace and with many more organizations operating in a virtual sense where people work from home or from different locations. More and more freedom is given to what types of devices are being used.

Now in terms of Gamification design, that means that we have to make sure that it works on all devices. We have had a number of projects in the last number of years where cross-platform was a requirement and that for some of the older Legacy platforms, we had an instance last year or the year before, even with Windows phones. They were no longer supported. Similar with [inaudible 00:09:09] operating systems that were no longer supported or very bespoke Legacy systems that have been developed in some industries to support their very specific workflows. And making Gamification work in these environments is sometimes a challenge, sometimes tricky and sometimes outright not possible.

I think the trend for multi device and that means Mac, PC, iOS, Android, those things will keep increasing. But integrating things like machinery through interfaces that work with the machines, interfaces that work with points of sales software or tools will be on the increase. I think multi-device, multi-platform, cross platform is something as Gamification practitioners, we cannot go around and if you are a platform provider, your APIs, your SDKs need to be able to connect with many platforms and perform equally well on all of them.

Artificial intelligence and adaptivity

The next trend shouldn’t come as a surprise and is probably again an extension from one of the trends we spotted last year and that is artificial intelligence and adaptivity. Now adaptivity is an algorithmic based construction that basically allows for a gamification or a game to adapt to the ability of the user and the performance of the user. So if you do well, it should make it harder for you so you remain challenged. If you do badly, it should make it slightly easier for you so you can catch up and also learn what’s most important for you or where you next need to focus. So I think those integrations are seeing their way into more and more applications. I know in the past year quite a number of platforms have received generous funding to build this internet platforms. Going forward, I think we cannot go around the fact that this will become a regular demand for practices.

If you are still working on a one size fits all products or style gamification, I urge you to start looking into tools that make personalization adaptation possible because I think your users expect more. Of course, ask your users both their systems that they play with at home. The systems that they use on their way into work from social media to games, all are adaptive in most cases. All give very personalized feedback, personalized messages, et cetera. So one size fits all I think is on the way out. But artificial intelligence on the way in, the key thing to realize with artificial intelligence and gamification is that one can train the other. So a lot of artificial intelligence improves with true machine learning. Machine learning often uses game mechanics to get the feedback for the machine to improve and get better. A game mechanics like upvoting downvoting plus one minus one or like a dislike different emojis.

Those are the kinds of feedback mechanisms not algorithms use or machine learning uses to improve the algorithm that’s inside and behind everything. It also poses a risk. And this is something that I think from an ethical perspective we need to be mindful of is that it could technically drive for a very one sided and very one spectrum focused experience. For example, if we choose to only be friends with people that like us are like us, think like us and behave like us, we start living more and more in a bubble. So having some way of encouraging people to engage with differences of opinions, different viewpoints and world points, I think from an ethical perspective will be something that we have to monitor as humans in how we structure our artificial intelligence, especially when it comes to the workplace. And I think that’s where our social media platforms aren’t doing enough at this point.

Some are taking some right moves, but some of the big ones are still lagging well behind in that space. So ethical behavior and artificial intelligence is something to watch out for. Machine learning is used to train in combination with gamification. It’s used to train in algorithms. It makes them more effective for user, but it also makes them more narrow. So be mindful of that and make sure that when you are setting them up that you keep a wide spectrum and that you may have the alternative algorithm that’s actually gives the opposite kind of information from time to time to, to test. The person is still widening their perspectives enough.

Voice-enabled gamification

Voice enabled is the next trend. I think we need to, as designers take a close look at what we bring into the home and wanting, we’ve all started getting used to is devices that we can talk to, whether it’s an Alexa or your car kits or your in phone assistants, whether it’s Google assistant or Siri, they all have a place or have found a place into our pockets, into our homes, into our toys from cars to watches, to all sorts of different things.

Sometimes even household tools. So gamification will also find a place there. This is where gamification becomes like your friend that gives you a Pat on the back. Hey, great job. Or a bit of a more abrupt saying, Hey, that didn’t go so well, did it? To remind you that you have improvements to, to make so gamification is possible even in voice technology. It just means that you have to think more like conversation more like real life. And I personally think that’s a good thing cause some of the constructs I’ve seen in gamification designs. I’ve been very, I suppose superficial, mechanical and not reflective of what would happen in real life. And one specific game mechanic comes to mind. The Poke used to be on Facebook. I’ve never ever understood it. It’s not something you would do in real life. It’s not something you would use regularly but hate ups.

Maybe just my personal perspective, but I do think a voice and conversational feedback will become a standard practice. Will it make it into the workplace? I think in those workplaces where hands-free usage is essential, yes. A lot quicker than others in workplaces where for example, knowledge based work is more topical, it will take more time.

I think those are the key trends I see for 2020. I would love to see your thoughts on it and we’d love to expand on it with you if you’re interested. And by all means, read up on our previous years. One’s on our blog, so thank you for listening. If you like it give us a good rating, and if you have further questions, we’d love to answer your question. Thank you.

The post Podcast 33: What are the gamification trends for 2020? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the Chief Gamechanger at Gamification Nation. And first of all we with our first episode of 2020, I would like to say Happy New Year to all of our listeners and followers. And... Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the Chief Gamechanger at Gamification Nation. And first of all we with our first episode of 2020, I would like to say Happy New Year to all of our listeners and followers. And... Gamification Nation 11:48
Podcast 32: How to keep your gamification or game design fresh for the long haul? Tue, 03 Dec 2019 08:00:41 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to a Question of Gamification. This is An Coppens. I’m your show host and also the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week’s question of the week is, “How can you keep your gamification design or your game design fresh? It’s a question we’ve had...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 32: How to keep your gamification or game design fresh for the long haul?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to a Question of Gamification. This is An Coppens. I’m your show host and also the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week’s question of the week is, “How can you keep your gamification design or your game design fresh?

It’s a question we’ve had several times. It’s a question I also ask my clients, how are they going to keep people engaged over the long haul? Sometimes we build gamification campaigns that are short, snappy and just for 45 days, a season, a launch, something like that. In that case, the longevity is not necessarily a question, but a lot of the times we’re asked to build a gamification design for let’s say a learning portal, for a marketing year of. For a product that needs to attract new people all of the time. Now the hint is in it, I suppose in some sense, and it always made sense in my mind, but when I say it to people, especially in the operational side of a business, I usually get greeted with, “Oh, that’s how you do it”, kind of response.

So if you’re in learning, if you’re in HR, if you’re in anything employee facing, you’ve got to think like a marketeer. You’ve got to think like the seasons of fashion, the seasons of nature in effect, because most of the time your business, if it’s like any bit like ours, it has cyclical moves, some periods are really busy, other periods they may go a bit quieter. And how you motivate your people in the up days and in the low days are slightly different so they should be. Now in periods like January, we’ve done campaigns for telecoms organisation to beat the January blues, for example. In another company we’ve built in four seasons into their learning portal and each season brought new quests, new challenges, new interesting things to explore. So you give the impression there’s always something to aim for.

Now in recruitment, it’s probably not the same role that’s open all of the time. So varying that so that your message changes to the marketplace because people looking at your company will also look at is there variation? Is it the same all the time? So one thing that we took away from that is that a lot of companies don’t think about that at the outset of, you know, Oh, I want to do gamification, or Oh, I’m going to play a game. We’re going to need a game for X purpose. And then they don’t think any further. So what’s after the first rollout? So we make them, we asked them to think about that and say, okay, so that’s great, you’re going to invest X amount of money into building this new way of doing it, motivational way of encouraging your learners to come into your learning portal.

What are you going to do to, to make it sticky, to make them come back? No, in last week’s call or last week’s podcast, I spoke about building habits. Habits are a good thing, but again, if you know yourself, and if you’re any bit like me, you have good habits and bad habits and one of my bad habits is that I stop and start an awful lot of things and I may not always finish everything. Like, for example, you know, I have these great intentions of losing weight and I’m still working on it and I keep stopping and starting the whole chain of losing weights, eating right, exercising more, and drinking more water. So yeah, so it’s, it’s a constant reminder of good habits and we don’t always keep the good ones up forever. So we have to make sure that in any game design, but also any gamification design that we build in for those moments where people are just not sticking to what they said they were going to do.

I mean, think about your new year’s resolution. It’s, you know, something that most of us do in the beginning of the year and usually three weeks in they’re all down some dark hole over your memory and you’ve forgotten all about it. Or if you’re good, you’re still going. Give it another three weeks and maybe it starts to ease off a little. So you know, habits are good thing, but again, on their own, just having game mechanics stimulates positive reinforcements and habits, they will help, but they will not be the thing that keeps them going all the time. The key trick is to build in a social elements, so social kudos or social accountability is what tends to keep people moving for a lot longer, tends to keep people focused because there’s somebody else looking. It’s amazing what we do for other people that we don’t do for ourselves.

If somebody else checks up on my work and I know they’re checking and they’re asking questions, then I know that I’ve got to deliver on my promise. If nobody’s checking, I could get weeks with saying, Oh yeah, I’ll get around to that. I’ll get around to that and eventually I typically do, but it might not be straight away as and when it should have happened and that’s I think the nature of the human psyche in some way. Of course, there are always people that are just really good at getting things done and there’s others that you know probably don’t, so you need to help dose people with linking accountability, linking social pressure, having some mechanic in your gamification design or in your game that encouraged them to team up with one or more people so that you can group together and encourage another forward.

The other thing to do is to keep your game on your design fresh. Why is it that games often release either a sequel or an extension pack? Exactly for that reason because they know that over time if you’ve played it a few times that things get boring. So new boosters co me in, new challenges or quests come in new areas unlock themselves. Now when I look at learning design and learning portals in organizations gives us my original background. The amount of new stuff that came out on a year to year basis was typically quite limited. You try to dress up old stuff in new packaging. Most of the time to request from managers also was for all, yet they need more of this or more of that. There were very few managers that actually in the corporate sector, even as an internal trainer and L&D manager sat us down and said, okay, here’s my objectives on how you’re going to make those happen this year.

Now in one of the last organizations that I worked in as a training lead, I did that for some of our accounts and they had amazing results to the extent that then I got asked, well, whatever you did the last time, you now need to undo it because it stuck. So which, which I thought was great compliments for something that worked. But if we’re thinking about internal employee facing, a lot of employees go to work, face the same thing, do the same thing every day. And that’s not because they’re bored with the job, but that’s just the nature of the work. It may vary from one day to another to deal with different people, different clients, but their daily habits may not change a vast amount. You’ll find a sit in the same place, they eat with the same people, they’ll Culkin around the same time, take your same route to work.

So there is daily habits and daily grind that happens in order to jazz it up. is to do something new. Do something different in your gamification and in your game designs, you can do that. You can tease them into trying something new, maybe place the best on their performance. How well are they going to do today? Can they beat their best? And you know, if you have habit building streaks, yes you can use them, but they were out. You want new stuff. And I would say is, think of it like fashion designers do. Think of it like advertising managers do. Every season has different campaigns. So we’ve just ramping up towards Thanksgiving in the US we’re or we just even finished Thanksgiving and I think in the U S we are heading for Christmas and a news years in many parts of the world.

Chinese Christmas, Valentines day, Easter, you know, you name it. Different events have different reasons to celebrate, different reasons to launch new things. That’s how the commercial worlds works towards customers. So why not do it on your website? Why not do it for your employees? I remember working for one organization and I’m still good friends with the lady that used to organise the, we was the main brain behind implementing most of these things. We’re on different days of the year. So for Valentine’s day everybody got a Rose and a chocolate for example, on their desk and that people talked about for weeks. And to me that was something memorable but for something very small that happened. But that was like a moment of delight. A moment of, yeah, that was good. I would say if we can create moments like that in our gamification designs, and game designs, then we’re on to something because that’s what you come back for.

What’s the new random thing that’s going to happen that we don’t expect with dots? Potentially. Interesting. So think like a fashion designer. Think like an advertising manager. And say, okay, what is it in my world today or this quarter, that we can tap into that’s more interesting that we could create something, a quest around, a challenge around stimulate people with keeping it fresh is not necessarily hard. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. It can just be tweaking with some some new settings on the system. Or it can just be an email campaign. I’ve even seen whiteboard campaigns in open plan offices, so it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to change it up if you do want to do a retainer campaigns. We have launched a new service it’s called the game plan. And that means that you can have a quarterly update of your existing game design. So whether that is hat like gamification campaign that you’ve already built or a new game, simple game that you want every quarter. So we have an option for gamification companies or people looking at refreshing their gamification and we have options for games that come back and be refreshed every quarter. So inquire with us, we’d love to help you. We’d love to work with you. And I look forward to talking to you next week.


The post Podcast 32: How to keep your gamification or game design fresh for the long haul? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to a Question of Gamification. This is An Coppens. I’m your show host and also the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week’s question of the week is, “How can you keep your gamification design or your game design fresh? It’s a question we’ve had... Welcome to a Question of Gamification. This is An Coppens. I’m your show host and also the CEO of Gamification Nation. This week’s question of the week is, “How can you keep your gamification design or your game design fresh? It’s a question we’ve had... Gamification Nation 11:48
Podcast 31: How to have corporate learning teams provide you with input for gamification and game design? Tue, 26 Nov 2019 08:00:57 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s A Question of Gamification. Welcome to this show. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the CEO of Gamification Nation, and I first of all have to apologise for my absence. We wanted to make this a...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 31: How to have corporate learning teams provide you with input for gamification and game design?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s A Question of Gamification. Welcome to this show. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the CEO of Gamification Nation, and I first of all have to apologise for my absence. We wanted to make this a weekly show and guess what happened? I lost my voice, so it’s taken a while to get back on track, and it’s still not 100%, but it’s good enough so that I can record a new episode for the podcast. I missed talking to you, but I also was glad to let the body heal, and do what it needs to do to get better.

This week’s question of the week is an interesting one. It’s one that we had to deal with recently, so how can you extract information out of learning teams that are useful for game designers, and then how do you use that information to make it into a game? So it’s maybe a double edged question. So on one side, how do you get the information out of learning teams inside a corporate sector? And then how do you make sense of it so that it actually makes sense to make a game with?

Recently we won a project and it very much involves a lot of game design around new content. So it’s learning based games but around new content for the organization. And in order to get to a base level, we obviously need the organization to tell us what kind of topics they want to cover, what kind of subjects their people need to learn, et cetera. So that was sort of a given a baseline. So then we went looking and I said to my guys, I said, “Look, what would work well from our perspective is if we followed a very basic learning design model, which I learned way early in my training career, and it’s called the KASH model, you see it for people talking about performance related training, et cetera.”

And typically it’s used in the context of making training linked to actually translating it into day-to-day on the job work habits. So KASH stands for knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits. And the whole theory behind it from a learning thinking perspective is first of all you need knowledge. Then you need the attitude to want to learn and absorb that knowledge, and then the attitude to apply it and also practice the skills that relate to the same knowledge. Because knowledge without implementation might as well, I think there is a saying, not mine but somebody else’s, that says to know and not to do is not to know. Something along those lines. In any case, I heard it several times in my career of training in the NLP sector, the Neuro-linguistics.

So KASH, easy to understand, easy to remember, but also actually very useful from a game design perspective. Because when we’re thinking about learning related games, the first thing that always comes up, oh we need to quiz. Now a quiz, whilst it has its purpose and it’s really good and very effective, it’s also one of the most overused game types for knowledge testing. The other way of spreading knowledge is to make people curious and to have hidden elements that you have to unlock or crack a code or solve a more difficult scenario in order to unlock the knowledge that they need to learn, the knowledge that they need to use for whatever new skill it is.

So knowledge tests are easily translated into games, whether that is finding stuff, whether that is creative repurposing of let’s say an arcade game or traditional games that you played when you were younger. Even simple games like Mario Runner, crosswords, different types of puzzles, they can all be made into knowledge related games and knowledge related tests, so to speak. Attitude is something not in a game and in a reality is something how you show up.

Now from a game design perspective, that’s really interesting. Your character can always have a positive and a negative side and depending on the circumstance it can choose to play either way. So if you’re thinking in the role playing game style of game, you have the option to choose the rebel who doesn’t do anything they’re being told or know to do or know that’s right. And see how that works. But you also could have goody two shoes that does everything by the book as they’re told, and see if that works, or anywhere in between.

So attitude is something you can bring into a game environment, which you don’t necessarily have the ability to do in let’s say classroom or online learning. So I think that’s where games can add the bonus in order to be more impactful than let’s say … Or add to what you’ve already taught in the classroom or in an online course. So attitude is the second piece.

Then skills is something that you repetitively practice. Now a lot of games, like if you think about games like Candy Crush or Angry Birds, there is a lot what they say grinding involved, so repetitive actions before you can level up. And that in effect is skills practice, because think about it, wherever you ended up in the higher up levels of a casual game meant that you’ve had to repeat the base skill or finding jewels, hitting pigs, whatever the case may be. You learned that and you learned that to quite a deep extent. So you could probably go back to level one and ace that nearly with your eyes closed. Because you’ve learned this skill over time. As you get better, the level should be more challenging and you may have things that are thrown at you that are different.

So the skills level then needs to go up as well and not maybe steadily up, but gradually up. A bit of resting time, gradually up, a bit of resting time, so that you have a chance to embed the new skills each and every time. The habits side of KASH, again you can build game mechanics to build habits. Now in a game environment, what we often see is things like log in streaks or winning streaks, or having to play something every day in order to keep your winning streak. For example, Duolingo uses that to great effect. Things like progression bars, things like different elements that allow you to basically progress, but also encourage you to do a little bit every day.

Reminders, notifications, social peer-to-peer pressure often are the habit building factors that help somebody stick with a game and can equally work in a learning environment. So I would say the KASH framework, although it’s very basic and it’s not necessarily an instructional design framework like an ADDIE or a Bloom’s taxonomy, but it actually offers you all the elements you need in order to translate a topic from what is it that people need to know, what do they need to be able to do? How do they need to show up? And what habits are effective over time that help them level up their general game?

So from translating learning to game design, actually that works quite neatly. The other thing that we all start trying to do was then to look at, so our beginner level, what does KASH look like? What does the knowledge they need to have look like? What is the skills they need to have? The base level? What are the attitudes you typically see at that point and what are the habits you would need to learn and build?

And from some of our very successful gamification programs we know that if we model the habits of very successful people in the organization for new beginners and new starters in the organization, it allows us to sort of map out, “Okay, what are the key things that people need to learn?” And then we reinforce the things that they need to learn and do regularly with rewards, with celebrations, with positive reinforcing messages, et cetera. So it works both for gamification and game design.

So how do you translate a topic area into something that you could work with for game design? Well, it’s called KASH, K-A-S-H. So knowledge, attitude, skills and habits. Knowledge can be translated into knowledge based games, learning games. Attitudes you can make a character around that. Be creative in terms of the gameplay and build that in. Skills is the repetition of a particular skill that they need to master. And then habits are things that you build in game accounting so it encourage people, positive reinforcements, rewards, milestones, having streaks that are valuable if you keep them, and you lose something if you don’t keep up the good work.

So I hope that gives some people some ideas, some inspirations on how you can make effective learning games from even just a one liner topical piece. Thank you for listening and if you want just to help you with your work, by all means book a strategy session. That’s probably the quickest way to see if we can help you. And then let’s go from there. Thanks very much for listening.


The post Podcast 31: How to have corporate learning teams provide you with input for gamification and game design? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s A Question of Gamification. Welcome to this show. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the CEO of Gamification Nation, and I first of all have to apologise for my absence. We wanted to make this a... Welcome to this week’s A Question of Gamification. Welcome to this show. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the CEO of Gamification Nation, and I first of all have to apologise for my absence. We wanted to make this a... Gamification Nation 10:14
Podcast 30: How much does it cost to make a serious game? Tue, 15 Oct 2019 08:00:53 +0000 0 <p>Why is game design so expensive? Hi, this is An Coppens. I’m the chief Game Changer and show host of a Question of Gamification. And today I want to draw your attention to costs because it’s a frequently recurring theme for our company for sure...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 30: How much does it cost to make a serious game?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Why is game design so expensive? Hi, this is An Coppens. I’m the chief Game Changer and show host of a Question of Gamification. And today I want to draw your attention to costs because it’s a frequently recurring theme for our company for sure and also to draw some comparisons because, when people in business are shopping for a game most of them have not looked at what it takes to make a game.

They consider it the same as for example a website or any kind of business application. Now when you think about a game. Even some of the basic casual games that we play on our mobile phones may require several team members several pieces of software and several different lengths of time of development.

So I wanted to sort of address the question. Why is it so expensive to design a game or what constitutes the cost of designing a game? Because, more and more frequently people come to gamification and would actually like a serious game. And because both of them have a serious purpose and usually a business objective, it’s not unsurprising that this happens.

The challenge for us is that they usually come as I say it with a bicycle budget, but would like to buy a Ferrari. And that would be similar in game terminology having the budget for a very simple game like Pac-Man or Flappy Bird and actually wanting let’s say a AAA game similar to a World of Warcraft or and ideally compressed for mobile.

I mean not unusual as a request to be honest in our world, so. What constitutes the cost? I mean and I wanted too to paint a picture as large as possible. If you’re looking for something to the style of a Flappy Bird a simple quiz, one person can develop that. Design it develop it and you probably need only a couple of weeks to do it and then maybe a week or two for testing.

If you are aiming to build something much more engaging much more graphically interesting you end up already needing different tools so different softwares to get you started. So that’s the first thing. So you need different software licenses, different graphic design tools, game development tools, hosting etc.

Now for a big Triple A game and a triple A game. I would want you to think about it along the lines of a Grand Theft Auto, a World of Warcraft and OverWatch. Games that have typically a development team of minimum, five to ten people on them. So in a development team for these kinds of big big name games, you typically have lead game designer who sets the overarching concept.

You have level designers you have which are all responsible for one level and that needs to be consistent with the main story arc and the main storyline and fit into the overall vision of the lead game designer, then a narrative designer. You may also find in the larger organizations where the actual narrative is worked out based on levels, based on characters.

You may even have character designers who work out a whole story board as story Bible so to speak for each character in the game nearly as developed as let’s say a script for a movie if you will and then you usually have several programmers. Programmers tend to program games of that nature in either Unity or Unreal, the two big engines for game design and they will typically Master skills like C# or C plus. So both Unity and Unreal allow you then to push it through to different platforms whether or not it’s Android, iOS, PlayStation, web apps, Nintendo’s you name it. Most of the development tools allow you to do that.

Then on those games you also have graphic designers and animation designers. So the graphic designers may have specialties some are background designer some are character designers. And then the animation designer basically makes sure that the characters can animate the anything that needs to move also moves.

Those Graphics can be 2D, 3D. So you may have specialists in 2D graphics or 3D graphics and basically, visual effects need to happen so you could even have a visual effects artist working on a big game as well.

So as soon as you enter a real world game scenario where the world looks real and looks interesting, you’re actually talking nearly two to ten graphic designers and animators. So I mean immediately you’re into big budgets.

Just think about it people like that come with significant skill, significant training. And that goes from game designer, to level designer narrative designer, graphics animators, programmers and then you haven’t even thought about sounds so you have sounds designers and special effects designers who typically work on these games.

The game like an OverWatch could take anywhere from 12 months to two years to reach fruition and actually reach the market. So what you see out today was probably, you know dreamt up somewhere couple of years back. So, you know and the budget required a ranges from 1 million to hundreds of millions, depending on the number of levels, the number of storyline, the number of people that need to work on it.

So if you think about it while we’re a small studio and a small Agency for gamification design as a small agency, we can give you very good quality game design and gamification design within reason. I mean. Last year, we stretched to a very tight, I supposed tight goal.

We had five minigames or 10 minigames in five months rather which were basically developed for web and men stocking up on our original team of three by quite a significant number of people to get the job done. So if you think about on average, a person each month cost you two thousand pounds you’re immediately up in the anti quite significantly based on experience level based on the time we require them for, ETC.

So from my perspective, I feel often that we have to let the client down or we have to make the comparison as to okay, “What can you expect for what budget the number of interactions again that you want in a game or a cost factor and will impact how much you pay the number of players you expect the play at any given time will have impact on the infrastructure in the back end from the hosting’s perspective.

If your game over soon becomes a big Blockbuster hit your servers will server costs will skyrocket for temporary moment in time and depending on how important that is for the gameplay. This may impact the whole user experience. So, I mean that’s just to design the game then you have testing and I would recommend testing for all the games.

Even board games that we create require several play tests. So think about it. If you were giving a board game to let’s say a company like a Hasbro or other Publishers of mainstream board games. They would have to have multiple tests by multiple audiences for it to pass their quality assurance. Now, We aim for minimum 20, but ideally ninety or a hundred and that’s sometimes really six, but sometimes not given the timeline that we work towards so who it is, you know giving perspective.

So if you’re thinking of a simple game like a quiz like something, you know 2D very basic where you might have to collect something like a treasure hunt or a text adventure something along those lines. Your budget can be dealt with with let’s say two to three people in the company to give it a bit of good graphic design and I would say starting budget of about 10K seems realistic for some of those depending on how fancy you needed and how much analytics you need from it and whatever else needs to integrate with it.

You’re immediately talking about doubling or tripling the budget required. If your however thinking more along the lines of a Pokemon Go, you’re immediately in multiple of tens of thousands because you’re talking several interactions. So each Pokémon you catch has several points course interaction score is different elements that need to come into play.

So. If you think about it, there’s an awful lot more going on than just a simple text or one letter transaction. So at any given time there is probably five or six game elements in play other minimum in those kinds of games. But if you think about Grand Theft Auto any kind of racing or multiplayer online role-playing game you’re talking about tens of thousands interactions in very short spaces of time server capacity needs to be great, bandwidth needs to be great.

The interaction from a graphical perspective and the special effects The Sounds everything makes for a fabulous game experience. But those games you do not create for anything less than several millions. So, you know, and they may have had their first release on a bootstrap budget which probably still had six figures on a minimum.

If not seven and yeah, you know when we deal with clients in terms of gamification and and serious game design. We often get major push back. If our numbers even start to get close to its reviewed four figures five figures even and you know, God forbid if it’s six figures and you know, let’s be realistic if you’re not willing to put a good budget on the table then what you create on the other side is limited.

So our limit see, you know, our most basic game that we can create will still cost you 10000. But if you want something more exciting more interesting. Do make sure that you have something that’s that’s closer to two six if six figures because the reality is we will need to bring in the manpower to do it will also need to set you up on special servers to make sure that the game runs for you.

And it will require at least six to nine to 12 months lead time before it goes to Market. I mean, we have delivered crazy things and crazy deadlines. It’s not how we love to work. I can tell you that because it could puts massive strain on everyone because we’re asking people to work nearly 24/7 and to get people to do their best work flawlessly.

That’s that’s really harsh. So, you know, let’s get real. So if you are serious about making a fantastic game that represents your organization, well and represents it realistically then also do your research. I mean a simple search on how much does it cost to create a computer game gave me several comparisons online.

On how much it took to create let’s say a Grand Theft Auto all the way to a Flappy Bird and also a AAA game cost breakdown or  what people spend what on so, you know, there’s several resources out there and you want to compare like with like, so if you want to have a game that’s playable on mobile, you will require different budgets and if you want a game that’s required on web or interactive with multiple access points if you wanted Multi-Device that’s again a different conversation to have so as soon as you didn’t want integration and analytics.

You also need a budget to create the code that actually collects the analytics. The programming by itself and the game engines by itself are set up to collect every single data point, but it may not make sense. To track every single data point because that might be overkill so you need some people that make sense of okay, what actually does make sense in this context to track and to set up reporting for you may have very clear objectives with your game and we sure hope that you do especially in the series game situation or a gamification situation.

So, you know you want to make sure that you have a clear idea of what’s possible a clearer idea of what reporting for which user is you would like to see under more? We are clear on your objectives. The easier it is to a create something that hits those and be to track and measure afterwards.

What works and what doesn’t. Because a lot of the time and this is probably a secret that the games industry doesn’t want you to know is that a lot of the bugs or updates that you receive for a game will also eliminate things where people get stuck it will often be in response to. Things that people have tried and have failed a t.

It may well be that there were things broken not a fixed, but often it’s data observation that makes companies are changed what they do and how they present it to you. So in some sense gamification. He’s probably in a lot of ways the poorer brother of the game design world and you know, nothing wrong with us and also because games are so exciting to play.

It’s also seen as the solution to end all engagement or other boredom related problems and I would say careful with that is sometimes gamification or a game is not your solution. Sometimes it’s simply a management issue. So always be willing to address that question too because some things can be quicker fixed and probably more cheaply fixed if your managers did what they were supposed to do and you know take that from someone who is at least worked 1517.

Years in Industry. So take its widths what it’s worth we know and I’ve been is just as guilty as the next person we all have great intentions, but our execution may not always be Flawless as a manager and sometimes that causes problems and you know, that is part of learning that’s part of growing.

And good support systems will help your people to do better which trying to fix everything through a game or game solution may not be what is required. Some things are just better done through direct communication and good leadership. So. I would say consider your money consider. What’s possible for your budget do the research on don’t believe me and my word for it, but do your own research online and say okay in comparison to X number of games and this is the kind of quality we want what is possible for my budget?

And then come and have a look with us. I personally have major issues with Price Shoppers. We try and do price fixed price work for most of our jobs and to be done pushed for cheaper here and cheaper there. You know that sort of is also taking a ride with our knowledge. So. I would typically at some point draw the line and say well actually this is it take it or leave it or we just don’t have a deal for it not to be avoided and for those on friendly conversation is not to have to take place.

However, I’m putting this podcast out there and hopefully address the question why is gamification or game design so expensive? It’s a question. We occasionally ask or get a store and more and more so. And the reason why I mean, I feel like it’s important to answer is to have realistic expectations.

We’d love to deliver and you know, one thing that we all stand for at gamification nation is we want to be proud of what we work on and we want to be proud of what we Handover. Even if we know that if we had slightly more budget, it could be even 10 times better. You know, that is something we have to live with it.

And I think that’s every designer is Bane of their life, I guess. But yeah, it’s important for people to. To realize that okay, a 20K budget will only get you this much a hundred K will get your whole lot more and you know anything that’s so above and beyond let’s say 250 to to 500k will get you something awesome.

So, you know, that’s the reality of it if you’re willing to to put people into place and the butcher’s into place. The possibilities of what’s what’s available become a lot higher does that mean that if you have a small budget that you shouldn’t try? No, it doesn’t it means that you just have to readjust your expectations and I think about okay, what would be my minimum look and feel?

And how much can I get for the budget that I have? I may be in that case a serious game is not your answer but a gamified process because Adam game mechanics to a given process. By using existing tools that are on the market like platform Solutions or even existing apps that can do gamified Quests.

For example, there’s a few that we collaborate with and partner with so those things are feasible even on the smaller numbers, but if you come to us with say with anything less than 10, it will be 10,000. That is it will become a stretch. And it would have to be seriously good for both sides as a showcase or as a promotion tool for it to fly.

Let’s just say that anyway, I hope that answers the question. If you have further questions in relation to that, we’d love to answer them. And also if that sort of triggered an interest on you know, we want to work with you. I’m as candid as I am on the podcast as I am in real life, so hopefully not either.

Triggers you to positive way or maybe not and if not, I wish you luck to find somebody to work with and maybe some people can so in the meantime keep listening. If you like it and you loved this episode, please share it forward. And if you have questions, please send them to us. If you like our podcasts give us a good rating wherever you’re listening.

Thank you very much. This is gamification enjoying the gamification movement.

The post Podcast 30: How much does it cost to make a serious game? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Why is game design so expensive? Hi, this is An Coppens. I’m the chief Game Changer and show host of a Question of Gamification. And today I want to draw your attention to costs because it’s a frequently recurring theme for our company for sure... Why is game design so expensive? Hi, this is An Coppens. I’m the chief Game Changer and show host of a Question of Gamification. And today I want to draw your attention to costs because it’s a frequently recurring theme for our company for sure... Gamification Nation 21:06
Podcast 29: What can gamification unlock in the workplace? Tue, 08 Oct 2019 08:00:29 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation and also the show host for this show. This week’s question is what are the Learning and Development opportunities that gamification can unlock in the...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 29: What can gamification unlock in the workplace?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation and also the show host for this show.

This week’s question is what are the Learning and Development opportunities that gamification can unlock in the workplace? A big question and it was one that I was asked by a journalist recently who was writing about gamification and other new technologies in the workplace and gamification is obviously considered as one of those So my answer was, first of all to say it’s a big question.

What are the opportunities? Well the opportunities are quite large. If you think about it most young people will have played games at some point. They may not all be lets say Esports Gamers or really into the big multiplayer online games, but most people have used regularly social media regular games like things you play on your mobile the casual variety and in the wider spectrum of games like multiplayer online games, role-playing games. I would even consider Sports board Games Etc as part of the larger gaming picture. So most young people know that and most young people have on their devices things that are gamified from the get-go. Then they end up in the workplace and they come across often very archaic looking systems or boring interfaces of the things that we use every day.

I mean, you know, there’s nothing wrong with your Word and Excel and Office products, absolutely, nothing wrong, very functional very, you know very much fit for purpose. So you wouldn’t expect there to be game mechanics on top of it. But what gamification can unlock is productivity to use those tools, productivity to complete.

So if we look out workplace productivity most managers would love to know how long are my people working on things? What does it take for them to complete an item Etc who’s in trouble? Who needs my help? Who’s actually doing very well and you know happy to keep plodding along without any hand-holding or anything else?

So those kinds of things are really vital for a manager to know and vital for a person to understand. And often for the individual we don’t get feedback on our productivity or performance until it’s too late or the person either quits or you as a manager have to have a word with the fact that you know, it’s not as good as you wanted it to be but if people knew as and when they went how things were progressing and what was good about it, you know, they would already be at a better starting point.

So that’s the first thing I would say. So what kind it unlock? More productivity, more feedback without having to be there in person. I only think there’s still a place for the person face-to-face conversation too, I so wouldn’t rule out one over the other but we work with a number of systems where you can have dashboards to see about your performance to look at completion to see how you’re doing within the team, to get basically completion rewards, completion unlocking either rewards in the shape of little items or something that you can eventually trade in for real-world items.

So whether that is a badge or real-world item, it’s a reward for something you’ve done or simply a dashboard that gives you the impression. Okay. This is where I’m at. This is where I need to go. This is how we’re doing.

This is how my work is actually having an impact on the larger company because most of us, especially — and I remember when I was in large organizations, would love to know how our work actually makes a difference to anyone because even the smallest item or smallest thing can have an impact but you don’t always know.

So knowing the bigger picture goals and how your personal goals play into that can be very interesting very rewarding and actually make people feel good about what they do.
I truly believe in workplace productivity and gamification. I think that the two kind of work quite well together. I’m also a big fan of Health trackers and fitness trackers, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The other one that I think works and you know where gamification can house a lot of opportunities in the workplace is to tie learning to productivity.

A lot of the time people go on courses and or take e-learning programs and then they need to make the bridge and putting it into practice. That’s not always a loop that people take so easily and I think this is where gamification can bridge the gap. Where when you have short quest so you’ve just completed a course on negotiation skills and then the next call you take on the phone is from a client where you have to negotiate and I’d say a deal if people see you do that you can do a number of things.

First of all, you can self report on how you felt what you tried how you actually applied something that you took from the course into practice if other people spotted you doing it they can give you feedback on how well you execute it. And if you are on a system where clients also give feedback they can also let you know how well that was received or you could tie it into net promoter scores or things like that.

So, I think you know gamification has the opportunity to make the journey connected and smoother from one end to the other, from training all the way into practice and then again in the training space gamification will tell you or will or should give you indications of progression, indications of habit building, indications of how deep you know the topic.

It can provide for testing things in a safe environment without having to risk. Let’s say, a major equipment failure or major damage to life or other important things in a business. It allows for reflection. And I think good gamification should make you think should make you realize mmmm. It’s not a guarantee that I’m going to do fantastically well, it should be challenging. It should stretch you and sort of say. Oh, how am I going to reach that top level and you keep trying until you get there. So there is a number of things that gamification can unlock and it’s you know, productivity resourcefulness practical implementation of on the job skill.

It can give you feedback and it can keep you on track as in on track to whatever your goal destination is whether that is a promotion whether that is learning a specific skill, whether that is just completion of work, so. From my perspective, it’s quite a linear approach to how we perform things.

And if you have gamification where storylines come in, where simulations are possible, where role-plays are possible you add another layer of reality of learning reflecting what actually happens. I’m making it life like so scenarios are a good example of feedback loops in the scenarios are another good example of gamification actually aiding the learner to be their best self to get better and to perform at a higher level.

So it kind of all look a million of thing. In our feedback what we hear regularly it unlock more confidence. We retain more information. We pushed ourselves further to achieve more. Competition was fun. We learned more about other people in the team.

We had to collaborate and co-create that made us think on how we actually do things for real. So, you know, those are the kinds of things that people tell us when we’ve implemented gamification and they’ve had a bit of time to play around with it. So. I would say there is tons of good applications for gamification and it’s the creativity of individuals designing it and how its rolled out that sort of expanded limited or put boundaries on it. I think.

So. Yeah. It’s a short answer to a long question. I hope there is so many things around it. I personally think learning and gamification by default should go hand in hand. I think it’s setting people up for success. It’s letting people try things out in a safe environment and then encouraging them to practice it for real in their day job.

So I think that’s what learning should have been from day one and often the context and connection is a made because you do everything in isolation and I firmly believe that gamification can be the bridge that sort of connects the dot between just learning and putting things into practice.

So I hope that answers this week’s question of gamification and keep listening.
If you like the show, please forward it on to all your friends and families or other people that you think may benefit, and I love to talk to you. Thank you very much.

The post Podcast 29: What can gamification unlock in the workplace? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation and also the show host for this show. This week’s question is what are the Learning and Development opportunities that gamificatio... Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the chief game changer at Gamification Nation and also the show host for this show. This week’s question is what are the Learning and Development opportunities that gamification can unlock in the... Gamification Nation 10:02