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

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

– Myth 4 : Gamification equals points and badges 

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We often come across people who claim they are doing Gamification because they have added some points and/or badges to their website or app. They are not. That is what we sometimes call “pointification”. It is similar to the previous myth we talked about, in the way that these people believe because they are giving points and badges, people will magically and instantly be more engaged. Wrong.

Again, there lots of ways to include Gamification in your users relationship strategy, many of which do not necessarily include points and badges. Actually in some case, the users will not even know that their path has been gamified. There are too many Gamification mechanics and too many ways to combined them to describe them exhaustively here, so it is important you do not narrow your horizon by focusing on points and badges. Points and badges are mechanics that we use but it requires a great understanding of what they really are, and why people would really want to earn them.

Take badges for instance. What is a badge? A badge is a concentrated piece of information. It is the proud distinction of one’s achievements or skills, identifiable by the other members of a community that shares the same values and interests.

Sounds complicated? Look at the scouts badges system: each represent a particular series of challenges the scout undertook (achievement or skill), they were them on their outfit (distinction and pride), all the other scouts know what they stand for (identifiable) and respect what they represent (common value system). Same thing goes for colored belts in traditional martial arts. Without these characteristics badges are mostly worthless.

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This means that giving people “the silver badge” because they shared five times on Facebook will have no impact. This is not a particularly great achievement or skill, there is no pride in having doing it, and most likely others don’t care… So always ask yourself what is the value of the virtual reward you give to a user, for her personally and as a distinctive sign in the community.

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