Gamification - The reality of what it is... and what it isn't

Kyle Findlay and Kirsty Alberts
The TNS Global Brand Equity Centre, South Africa


Gamification - the application of game mechanics to non-game environments to enhance user engagement - is a term being bandied about the business world. Having only recently made its debut in the business lexicon, the term gamification is rapidly becoming commonplace. Why the sudden interest? Well, promises of enhanced customer engagement and satisfaction, as well as attractive returns on investment, are a guaranteed drawcard. Proponents of gamification sermonise its unparalleled benefits, while a growing number of critics slate it as anything from whimsical and ineffectual to malevolent. In this paper we explore the phenomenon of gamification, focusing on its effectiveness and value to business in general. To reach a balanced overview of the topic, we draw on findings from an earlier experiment and also seek out additional data to test the efficacy of these claims. We interview prominent game designers and front-runners of the trend, and finally conclude with comments on the implications of gamification for the marketing research industry in particular.