Gamification examples

I often see requests, mostly on Quora, to indicate 10 less known gamification examples. Here’s my take:

times squareThough the word “gamification” is relatively new (its widespread use dates to 2010), the concept itself is old, and never seems to go out of fashion. Using game mechanics such as competition, rewards and sense of accomplishment, creates engagement (aka fun) and , helps people achieve better outcomes.

The US Army for recruiting

The U.S. Army uses “America’s Army” a multiplayer shooter game that simulates a real battle – it’s a real game, not an application of game mechanics. Its virtual combat experience is fairly authentic. Players can choose their training (including combat life-saver and Special Forces), receive honors, get injured and die. Prior to downloading the game the recruit has to subscribe, disclosing factual information. The game is the #1 recruiter tool in the U.S. Army.

Treehouse for learning

Treehouse teaches the “in-demand technology skills you need to land your dream job or build a startup”. You can learn at your own pace, how to build websites and apps, write a code or acquire business expertise. Students may opt for a new skill, or promote an existing career. They decide which track to follow in order to obtain set goals. Along the journey the students are awarded with points and badges, earned through quizzes and interactive code challenges. The points and badges are indicators of the skills the students currently possess and are viewable by anyone online (like potential employers). eLearning (or learnification) can improve greatly with learnification, giving people a sense of mastery and completion.

Recyclebank for greener living

Recyclebank is a company that inspires and rewards a greener life. Its website is set up to create greater consciousness to environmental issues. The user can earn points for learning online and taking actions like recycling. These points can be redeemed for products, or discounts in the site’s online store, which sells environmental products. The reason behind it is simple – awareness and incentive will encourage people who just need a little nudge – game mechanics can be the perfect nudge.

Rewarding teen readers

Another gamification example with good cause is a site that encourages teens’ reading habits. The Pierce County Library lets everyone participate, choose categories and badges of interest, but only members may win prizes. The participant earns points as he makes progress and is measured against other readers. The results are displayed on a dashboard and thus create healthy competition as well as a significant increase in library subscribers.

I spy …. A pretzel

Successful and well established brands need to remind their audience they are still out there. They too have to retain the loyalty of their customers and there’s no better way than promoting engagement. M&M’s published a simple I-spy online game on the company’s Facebook page. A single pretzel was hidden in a full-page graphic design of M&M’s. The low cost operation yielded a boost of engagement which was manifested in a dramatic increase in shares, likes and comments.

Nissan Leaf: making better drivers

Another company that successfully increased its customer engagement is Nissan. Nissan Leaf is Nissan’s 100% electric car. A special program was designed for the car owners. The program gamifies driving by comparing car owners’ statistics to other local drivers. The results are displayed on a regional leaderboard. Drivers can earn medals from bronze to platinum, according to their performance.

Cleaning inboxes: Baydin

Emails, emails and then some more emails. Baydin is a productivity web application that created “The Email Game”. The tool is designed to help the customer with handling today’s infinite amounts of email in an efficient and structured manner. By “forcing” the user to categorize mail, label it, and take action; by imposing time limits and introducing completeness bars, the user has no other choice but to improve their workflow and productivity.

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