Gamification Mechanic Monday: Choice in collecting rewards
My partner and I play a lot of games, some for fun and some to test for features as research. While I was watching him start a game, he started with collecting a bunch of rewards and upgrading his avatar and his armour. I wondered if this was just the way the game started each time and he explained he had earned it previously and saved it to level up when it mattered to him. In a lot of games this is not possible, in the game I often play for fun when I earn rewards including unlimited free play I have to use it straight away and there is no choice when I can collect it. It then means that the reward really is useless, for example I earned 2 hours of free play as I was heading to bed, so that reward went to waste and definitely lost its appeal.
When building rewards into your gamification, I have already mentioned in previous posts that allowing choice will be more motivating simply because people like different things. When it comes to timing of rewards in gamification they are often set in advance and tied to a specific sign off period, again allowing the element of choice when to draw down a reward. When operating a virtual coin system or points related reward schemes, the opportunity to save them for maybe a higher priced item or for a specific purpose can be exactly what some of your players would want. In the quest to make it meaningful allowing freedom in when to use what reward can increase the sense of freedom experienced by players and may motivate them to engage for longer to save for a reward they really want.
Where have you allowed time choice for rewards?