Most consumers aren’t “checking in” at their favorite retail store in return for a discount while simultaneously thinking that they are participating in gamification. However, the process of using game-like incentives in a non-game setting is on the rise, according to a report by Wanda Meloni of M2 Research who says, “2012 is a milestone year for gamification and as it grows will evolve into a serious component of consumer and employee engagement.”
Meloni projects that the amount spent on gamification solutions will reach $242 million by the end of 2012 and by 2016 will reach over $2.8 billion. M2 Research estimates that the gamification market is expected to be 62% consumer-driven and 38% enterprise-driven in 2012 while noting that enterprise represents the largest section of the market for new growth.
The spread of social media has and will continue to have a significant impact on marketers if they intend to use game-like incentives. Meloni points out that “a considerable benefit for consumer gamification is the fact that consumers are constantly evolving their online social behavior. Social networks and aggregators, such as Facebook, Google+ and even Twitter are accessible consumer platforms that are driving social behavior and trends, making them absolutely necessary tools for marketers.”
The report concludes by pointing out that implementing gamification is a long-term commitment that should not be taken lightly. “Only long‐term strategies provide an audience with the incentive to dedicate their attention to an application and will keep them engaged with the community as a whole” said Maloni who goes on to warn that “there will be a reasonable learning curve with variables that are unique to brands/products/businesses and their user groups. A trial and error component should be part of every gamification strategy.”
The Future of Gamification report sought to determine the future of gamification and seemed to support Maloni’s findings. The findings showed that 53% of the respondents mostly agreed with the statement that by 2020 there would be “significant advances in the adoption and use of gamification.” Yet there are still those like Sandra Braman who feel that “there will be efforts to gamify much of what we do, but that much of that will just come and go as fads.”
While only time will tell with certainty what the future of gamification is, my opinion is with Wanda Meloni. Using things like competition, rewards, and status to encourage an individual to behave in a desired way is attractive for most people. It makes an otherwise mundane task like booking a flight well, like a game. You want to fly with the same airline and the further the better. Whatever it takes to bring up those frequent flyer miles and after countless hours spent sitting too close to a perfect stranger, you are eventually rewarded with a “free” flight. So while the avenues that use game-like incentives will continue to change and evolve, it is my opinion that the underlying idea, that people like to participate in games in a non-game setting, is only getting bigger.