Potential clients often call us, asking for a game. When we then delve deeper into the conversation, they have grand visions of “clash of clans” for their sales teams or “Grand Theft Auto” driving their employees performance. Whilst all of those things are possible, if you have a 6 figure budget and a few months design time. Typically this sort of focuses the conversation on something more realistic.
First of all those amazing games, are amazing not just because of the graphics, the game play tends to be well designed and it is aimed at a specific target audience. In work, heavy competition between teams or even worse individuals may drive some very unsavoury behaviour, which really in a game environment is totally acceptable, but in work not even remotely acceptable. My first heart warning is always, make sure it is fit for your players (your employees or customers) and your company culture.
In gamification, we work mainly with understanding the behaviours you want to encourage in specific business situations and adding game elements into the mix for that purpose. The difference is as striking as Pokemon Go being used for exercise or a Fitbit or other tracking device. Gamification is more like Fitbit and less gamy than Pokemon Go. Both have good user experience design and interesting graphics, just the game play serves a much different purpose.
The other common misconception for those in the market for a “game” is to get blinded by the technology. The hope that technology “the game” will fix everything is an illusion at best. Introducing gamification often means embarking on a behaviour change project, which inherently means communication and management involvement is key to its success. The projects where this is not an option, we really have no interests in becoming involved because the gamification is being set-up to fail out of the blocks.
When you want “a game”, know the reasons why, allow for behaviour observation and surveying of your players, then equally make sure the budget you have equals your vision or be willing to adapt accordingly. After that have fun designing and iterating until it hits the mark you are after.