[e-book] Debunking the Gamification myths – part 3/10

Learn how gamification can really help you engage and motivate your audience.

– Part 3 : Gamification is based on human-focused design 


Most systems are “function-focused,” designed to get the job done quickly. This may be ok to manufacture a car, but not to create lasting motivation and engagement. However, “human-focused” design remembers that people in a system have feelings, insecurities, and reasons why they want or do not want to do certain things, and therefore optimizes for their feelings, motivations, and engagement.

Gamification is all about understanding what people really want and leverage these desires to engage them. We call these leverages game dynamics and game mechanics.

We like to distinguish between the two as we believe they refer to two complementary aspects. Therefore, we will call game dynamics the main social and psychological drivers that trigger people’s behaviors, while we will use the term game mechanics to refer to the numerous tools associated with each dynamic and used to activate them.

We can identify eight core dynamics that almost everyone reacts to in a way when it is properly activated:

  • Epic Meaning and Calling
  • Development and Accomplishment
  • Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback
  • Ownership and Possession
  • Social Influence and Relatedness
  • Scarcity and Impatience
  • Unpredictability and Curiosity
  • Loss and Avoidance

As for game mechanics, they are too many of them to give an exhaustive list, but you probably know the main ones, such as: points, badges, levels, avatars, countdown, punition, learning curve, leaderboard, etc…


The game mechanics can then be split into two categories: the reward mechanics and the reward acquisition mechanics. The first ones are actual rewards earned by the users, such as points or badges while the second ones are the paths the user has to go through to earn the reward like an appointment mechanics. You can then combine the two categories: “come on Friday between 6:00 and 8:00 pm to win the Happy Hours badge”.

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