In 2010, Ivan Nefedyev read an online article about why people who like games - aka “gamers” - performed very well in a gym. Compared with other newcomers, gamers were different. They were consistent, purposeful, motivated. At the same time, they never went straight to the biggest weights. And they almost never suffered any injuries.
Are former gamers smarter than everybody else? That is an arguable assertion. But while they spent years upgrading and perfecting their game characters, they did learn one thing: not to chase after a quick win.
Ivan is convinced that game mechanics can help you achieve almost any goals. His and Miroslava Bronnikova's joint course “Gamification” on the Stepik platform has twice been voted the best online course in Russia by Europe's largest education conference, EdCrunch. Russia Beyond spoke to Ivan about gamification.
If you call your weekly email newsletter "Treasure Hunt", that is not gamification.Getty Images
At the same time, if you call your weekly email newsletter "Treasure Hunt" and subscription to your company's Twitter account "a challenge," that is not gamification. It maybe
For anything to be called gamification, three conditions must be met: it must be interesting and exciting; it must be useful (this is not about allowing everyone at work to play solitaire)
The simplest way to find out if you need gamification is to ask yourself: do I have a task that cannot be solved either by economic or administrative measures (but that I would very much like to solve). If so, it is for you.
Simple elements really work if there is something more interesting behind them.Getty Images
At the same time, these simple elements really work if there is something more interesting behind them - for example, a more substantial idea.
In the 1990s, Russia opened itself to foreign goods. Children's stores were flooded with Chinese toys. Back then, they were often substandard, and simply harmful to health. But Russian toys were more expensive, so people chose Chinese ones.
There are hundreds of different mechanics: missions, quests, virtual characters, virtual economy, etc. Online, there are decks of 30, 50, or more different mechanics. There is no need to invent a bicycle here.
Russian companies, for example, like to use a virtual character. Its role could be to assist users or to reduce their aggression.
In one Russian city, local officials on social media are represented by an elk. The elk has a complete profile, it writes posts about its life, shares news (mostly about the environment). It also joins in discussions and debates between local residents. At one point, a person may suddenly realize that for the past half-hour they have been arguing with an elk. After that "discovery" they, as a rule, stop taking everything too seriously.
Not all mechanics work equally well with everyone.Getty Images
Digital panels were installed in the city. The game was simple: the digital panel gave a driver
In Russia, they tried to do the same, only with trams. They put a speed radar on a section of the road which required careful and slow driving. And, guess what?
Despite the threat of a fine, drivers began to compete as to who will pass this section faster. They even started putting bets on "the best racer of the week" The organizers simply did not take into account the difference in the mentality between players in Russia and in Sweden.
Rewards are the most obvious and one of the most used elements. But they, like other game elements, are not necessary.Getty Images
A person can be sent to a conference with top managers, where they would not have had access to had they not achieved the game goals. Or they can be offered assistance in developing their own project.
It is important to keep in mind that rewards, especially large ones, are a serious risk. They inevitably shift a player's motivation from the activity itself to the prize. Or you can often see players spending hours "meditating" on ratings, trying to figure out how to get to the top instead of doing something useful.
This list can be continued, but I think you've already grasped that rewards are not always a useful and win-win mechanic.
From Oct. 4-5, Moscow will be hosting a festival of creative industries, “Great Eight”, where Ivan Nefedyev and over 200 other experts will be presenting new opportunities and unique projects.
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