One of the main objectives in the world of gamification is to make you avoid boredom from those difficult tasks. Gamification helps in the attenuation or even elimination of this boredom. But wont we eventually get bored from gamification itself?
Let’s think about video games for a second… We need to understand that, despite how good a game is, a lot of players tend to get bored and give up on the game after some time. How much time the game stays “alive” depends on a lot of factors, but sooner or later that game will be put on the shelf. Later on, some players might pick it up again, but the game will still get some dust while sitting on that shelf.
This is mainly relevant to the single-player experience where the action is mostly scripted and there isn’t much development on the fly. It’s really difficult to avoid boredom from a mechanical and/or repetitive game. In some other games there is always something new to see or experiment, since the environment is changing, even if slightly. But even these games have a reasonably limited lifetime. Unless, of course, we are talking about an hardcore fan of that specific game – he or she will be breathing the game day and night!
Ok, but what’s the point?, you may be asking. Well…
You can avoid boredom by changing something
Something, really! Anything! We couldn’t be more specific, right? Just think about it… we need differentiation in the delivering of experiences in a gamification environment. If you want to gamify an activity that you plan to keep on doing for a long time, you’ll probably get bored before you conclude it. This means that, from time to time, you (the player) will have to change some settings in your gamification environment.
For example, let’s imagine that you want to gamify your daily runs. You start using the Zombies, Run! app. Even though it is an awesome app to motivate you to run and make this a fun and challenging activity, both for experienced runners and people who are just starting, will you be running from zombies for three months straight? Will you be able to avoid boredom from the same gamification setting, over and over again?
So, what’s the solution? Differentiation. You can play another game, from time to time. Or, maybe, companies who create gamification solutions can include different settings for their games. Instead of zombies, today you can run away from secret agents who are after you, because you stole some important data. Or you can run after someone who stole your wallet (we hope it happens only virtually, in a gamification environment!)
Again, we claim: gamification is only limited by imagination. And you can create your own environments and settings by yourself, in your head, on a piece of paper, on a text editor in your computer…
How do you plan to avoid boredom after gamifying your tasks for a long time?
Another reason why this is important is the fact that different things appeal to different people. This means that a game may seem awesome to a person but awful to another. It happens, and not only in games.
The Rise of the Indie
We live in an Era where people are expecting more and more to have their own opinion considered regarding the object of their interests and passions. (The reasons behind this way of thinking could be subject of a post by itself… maybe another day) This means that, right now, everyone has some kind of vision – no matter how blurred and undefined it can be – about how their favorite things should be built and behave. That’s one of the reasons why the Indie movement is growing.
A lot of people want to share with the world their own vision about the things they love. They want their own experiences to reflect on the things they use everyday and at the same time being recognized for that same things. More than a product adjusted to their needs, people are searching for ways to express their own personality, searching for a place where they are heard and seen, searching for their own spotlight in the world.
In gamification this should always be taken into account – a gamification experience should always comply with the player’s specificities. But it must be taken into account that this is the case in an ideal scenario.