You may not have heard of it per se, but you’ve definitely been living by it – gamification is the ultimate winning modus operandi of everyone aiming for success and looking to pave the road to it with a little bit of fun and a hefty prize.
What exactly do we mean by that? It’s simple, really: gamification is both self-taught and socially imposed thrill of optimizing the journey to your achievements for triumph. Simply put, every action you hope to accomplish – no matter how dear to your heart (and wallet!) – threatens to, eventually, become a chore and a drab. To make the journey more interesting and encouraging the human psyche needs a positive stimulus, something that would turn even the hardest of tasks into a fun, entertaining endeavor so it more resembles a gameplay than an actual chore. That’s where gamification steps in; factors such as competing with others, keeping scores, defining a “win”, and having fun in the process of challenging both yourself and others have been around since we’ve rationalized the concept of “working for your goals” and “goals” themselves. All you’ve been (sub)consciously doing all this time on your path to achievement has now been defined through a term called gamification.
The operative structure of gamification
Although we’ve been familiar with gamification (one way or the other) over the last X decades, we are only now able to comprehend its magnanimous effect on virtually all aspects of our lives – from benign everyday activities to our businesses, health, wellness and even our relationships and family dynamics. While it may sound as yet another buzzword we’ll eventually get chocked on, gamification is everything but: as a concept, gamification is an imperative operative method of interactions, shaping the way we communicate with the world and the way we communicate with ourselves.
Is gamification pre-planned, you ask? Yes, it can be. However, most of it goes by unnoticed: when we are shopping, dating, buying coffee, traveling, banking, career planning, learning new skills, managing our health, etc. we are embracing simple game mechanics and letting them shape our thoughts, desires, habits and ultimately – experiences.
Not all gamification results are necessarily positive but they, for sure, are undeniable. The best way to utilize gamification and turn it to our advantage is to, primarily, understand its operative methods. Gamification is not blunt motivation, an actual game or a magic potion that leads to immediate results; it is the art of smoothing up the progress of play. In applying it correctly, we are looking at leading more productive personal and business lives, as well as creating a better climate for our health, fitness and mental balance.
Gamification is in our DNA
As human beings, our brains are wired to adapt to patterns; physiologically and biologically, the benefits and drawbacks of those patterns are multi-fold and can lead to both positive and negative changes in our behavioral patterns. Gamification is one of the patterns our brains respond positively to; its benefits include a boost of confidence, joy, happiness, relaxation, and are known to lead to re-creation. In using game mechanics to facilitate play, we grow to be more open to insights, outer motivation, and inspiration. Through gamification, the brain and body join in a mission to embrace new perspectives all while adopting and practicing new skills; changing the patterns subtly help rebuild our mental and physical structures inspiring play, new knowledge and change. And even though technology can’t miraculously change behavior, it can be a powerful influence and medium for behavioral change.
Is everyone wired for gamification? Yes and no. It is an undeniable a fact that games have incredibly expanded in the last two decades, broadening the gaming market to an unbelievable extent. Judging by Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report, games have not only become a prima societal trend but it turns out that “Millennials and Generation X have been gamified since birth”. What does this mean exactly? It means that the two generations have adopted the gamification mindset from the early age and got accustomed to recognizing it and responding to it. For them, implementation of gamification methods in their everyday life is not a forced or an unusual trait; it’s an optimal, natural way of living. Given that these two generations are currently the dominant group on the markets which are growing into a solely digital arena, we are to conclude that the next wave of business leaders, customers, employees, regulators, partners, and suppliers will also understand the games-mindset and implement it to all spheres of their lives.
Essentially, games are everywhere and you’ll respond to them sooner or later, regardless of your age. Why? Because your brain is wired to do so. Naturally, the level of your personal engagement with gamified content does play a (crucial) role in your becoming more or less involved with it, as much as it plays a role in the time necessary for you to start using gamification to your advantage.
The revolution of business and fitness behind gamification
While the notion of a “game” does sound a bit childish, the idea behind gamification isn’t the game alone but an entire realm of product/service based on gaming methods.
Facebook, Linkedin, Tinder, Trip Advisor, and Fitbit are all gamified, super successful products on the digital market showing how easily we all respond to gamification. With that said, there is no doubt that using a games-mindset as a base for a business approach can revolutionize behaviors, motivation, and engagement; however, the mere use of game mechanisms, such as challenges, leaderboards, levels and badges, points, etc. cannot make any difference on their own. For a business to actually have an impact, understanding of a) its core concept b) the product/service target audience and c) ways to help the user solve real-life problems will make you able to pump up your business strategy with gamification.
The idea is to include that same “win” moment in your service/product that games use as their finish line. Associate your service/product with fulfillment, emotional engagement and the idea of customer’s self-importance; ultimately, this will lead to a change in the behavior of your users and help them associate your brand with joy.
A completely logical question to ask is: why would a game-based fitness scenario help anyone be fitness-motivated and stay focused? The answer to that is: because losing or intentionally gaining weight, staying motivated long-term, and keeping the initial burst of hope and excitement about working out is hard and often – impossible to achieve on your own. Although willpower is the essence (and should be the essence) of all human undertaking, the technology-driven world is trying to help you loosen up a bit while still achieving amazing results.
Although still a new trend in fitness, gimification-based fitness apps are encouraging individuals to ride on a health wave, helping them modify and improve their lifestyles, achieve their fitness goals, stay on track and – more importantly – stay healthy.
The gamification methods we see taking over the fitness world are based on the best segments of gaming – gratification and reward. Unlike working out with personal trainers or on your own where punishment seems to be the dominant feature, gimification-based fitness apps are encouraging and optimized to motivate and support the individual on their fitness journey. In fact, gimification-integrated elements with the fitness app have proven to result not only in the increasing popularity of the app itself but also increased levels of individuals’ motivation. It’s very reassuring to know that these apps work on everyone, regardless of their age. Our limbic brains like gratification in every form and everywhere which makes using mHealth workout methods the perfect option for everyone.
Smart mHealth applications have already made their ways into some modern gyms and workout methods and we are positive that the future in fitness is all about fitness apps and other digital fitness methods.
In the world of today, things are getting pretty narrow: where there’s no digital, there’s no success; and – where there’s no gimification – there’s no positive outcome, either. The games trend is rapidly expanding, allowing new technologies such as VR, AI and AR to be introduced and some old ones to get reinforced by being digitally optimized. In combination with personal data, a games-mindset will push us to self-optimize and win. We are looking forward to seeing it all happen… aren’t you?