Gamification apps to hit poor design issues


By 2014, 80% of current gamified apps will fail to meet objectives thanks to poor design

An onslaught of poorly designed game apps made by untalented developers means that by 2014, the majority will fail to make their players happy, a research firm has stated.

As gamification – a game that changes player behaviour, develops skills, or enables innovation – has moved from the leading edge to more widespread use by early adopters, gamification is currently being driven by novelty and hype and many sub-standard games are being pumped into the market, stated Gartner.

Gartner predicts that by 2014, this growth means that 80% of current gaming applications will fail to meet business objectives primarily because of poor design. 'The challenge facing project managers and sponsors responsible for gamification initiatives is the lack of game design talent to apply to gamification projects,' said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner. 'Poor game design is one of the key failings of many gamified applications today. 'The focus is on the obvious game mechanics, such as points, badges and leader boards, rather than the more subtle and more important game design elements, such as balancing competition and collaboration, or defining a meaningful game economy,' Burke said. 'As a result, in many cases, organisations are simply counting points, slapping meaningless badges on activities and creating gamified applications that are simply not engaging for the target audience. Some organisations are already beginning to cast off poorly designed gamified applications.'  Gamification is the use of game design and game mechanics to engage a target audience to change behaviours, learn new skills or engage in innovation. The target audience may be customers, employees or the general public, but first and foremost, they are people with needs and desires who will respond to stimuli.

While game mechanics such as points and badges are the hallmarks of gamification, the real challenge is to design player-centric applications that focus on the motivations and rewards that truly engage players more fully. Game mechanics like points, badges and leader boards are simply the tools that implement the underlying engagement models.

The most common use of gamification is to engage a specific audience and encourage them to change a target set of behaviours. By turning the desired behaviour change into a game, people become engaged and encouraged to adopt new habits. For example, brands can use gamification to engage consumers to better understand their products, and become advocates for the brand to provide product endorsements, and drive customer loyalty. 'As gamification moves from being used by a limited number of leading edge innovators to becoming more broadly adopted by early adopters, it is important that CIOs and IT leaders understand the underlying principle of gamification and how to apply it within the IT organisation,' said Burke.


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