The time of year for predictions and resolutions is alive and well, so here are our visions for the trends in gamification for 2019. Like last year we have added our own experience from travelling the globe meeting clients and fellow gamification enthusiasts together with the market research experts to give our view of what we believe will and is shaping our market space.
1. Market overview
The current gamification market size is quite varied depending on which market research specialists we consult, it is estimated to be worth between $3 billion and $12 billion USD. Again sources vary a bit in the growth figures with an estimated continued growth rate of around 30% but most agree that growth has slowed a little from previous years. The net effect is still to expect growth in the industry nevertheless. The sources we consulted include Market Research, ICT Media, P&S Market research and Technavio.
2. Enterprise applications still seeking the ultimate sweet spot
Growth areas where gamification is viewed as beneficial are continuing to come from HR Tech and Enterprise, where both are seeing a significant increase in new players and new features added to existing tools. Enterprise platforms are looking to add gameful experiences into the mix and they have at this stage realised that simply adding superficial elements doesn’t work. Quite a few of the big ERP players in my view have been sitting on the fence and are acutely aware they may need to invest in this space soon or become obsolete in user experience. Productivity and project management tools have seen the biggest increase in gamification so far and we reckon there is much more to come. The HR Tech market is exploring gamification of employee engagement with a lot of effort and activity also in the recruitment space, where gamification is eliminating bias and providing the opportunity for 24/7 feedback.
3. Health applications
The health sector took to gamification quite early on and is seeing more and more wide-spread use. Popular applications for activity tracking have been around for some time, now the medical care with added feedback from sensors and measurement devices is powering the next wave of gamification improvements in this field. More immersive style experience where a regular app is combined with real life or virtual experiences to reduce falls for the elderly, improve calmness for Alzheimer’s patients are just a few of the examples of an ever-increasing list.
A lot of us in the consulting and agency space have been working to professional standards for some time, but as a young industry drafting a lot of gamers into becoming business people has had it’s growing pains. Getting over the hype cycle also saw a lot of the crazy statistics disappear and what we hear now in my view is much more sustainable. The approaches in project management have definitely scaled up a few levels and with quite a few experts around for 5 years or more, solid toolkits and methodologies that are replicable across their client base are more standard now than in 2012.
5. Adaptive and personalised
Personalisation has been seen as a big advantage for and by end-users, very few companies have actually managed to implement it well or at all. We believe personalisation in gamification is definitely key to great results for each individual. Adaptive algorithms are now available and can quickly enhance most platforms to at least adapt to what the user behaviour is telling you. Data-driven approaches will help improve the algorithms through machine learning approaches. When you are selecting platforms look for those who have personalisation already built-in or at a minimum have it on the roadmap.
6. Storytelling in mixed reality scenarios
Mixed reality is the way forward for any storytelling whether it is applied to learning, marketing or internal communications. Combining the multi-modal approach into scenarios that make people think and aware is what has been seen to drive change the most. Whether it is combining online learning with a physical game and then feedback on real performance on the job or adding augmented reality to quick fix retention on how to use equipment you have been trained on before. The scenarios are endless and combine the best of a lot of media coming together where gamification can be the feedback loop that brings it all home for the user.
7. Measuring what matters
For some time quality, meaningful data and reporting have been lacking in the market. The focus in the earlier years has been on interactions and clicks, with some platforms even billing you on that basis. Thankfully we are seeing a shift to much more actionable and meaningful information tracking around data such as the net promoter score, application into practice, feedback on actual performance, retention and turnover rates. I think the industry is finally ready to produce the data c-suites have been looking for. A data-driven approach also starts with clear objectives and then measurables against those, which although we can track pretty much every detail was not being shared with clients.
8. Emotions are on the map
The first research studies around what emotions are most beneficial for learning have been published. Practitioners of gamification design have added empathy mapping to their mix of design tools. Some have been doing this for years, but not as widespread as I am seeing now. It is a welcome trend in my view, especially if we look at gamification as a tool to instigate behavioural change. If we truly want to achieve change then emotions need to come into play.
My wish for the industry is that it becomes more diverse as we keep growing in all aspects such as gender, culture, age and perspective. With a large proportion of practitioners still coming from North America and Europe, we still have plenty of space for more colours, languages, ages etc. to join in this creative space. The Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America are experiencing a bit appetite for games and yet we have only a handful of agencies, platforms and players from these areas. I also wish for more projects of gamification for good to keep us living in a healthy, harmonious and peaceful place with a bit of fun along the way.
I hope you find the trends useful and I wish you a fabulous prosperous year ahead. Feel free to share the trends and keep the attribution or link to our original post, if you would like to republish them on your media.