Service gamification needs more than just points
Gamification has become a significant technological trend in recent years. It is believed to have potential in matters such as getting customers involved with the promotion of healthy lifestyles and in increasing employees' enjoyment of their work. However, as a concept, gamification remains foreign to many and there is still little research-based evidence that gamification works.
'Gamification involves the application of game dynamics and mechanics in different environments, such as various online services. It is used to bring a sense of experience to environments that are not ordinarily considered games,' outlines Juho Hamari (M.Sc. (Econ.)), who examines the phenomenon of gamification in his recent dissertation. Among other things, he presents one of the most extensive empirical studies so far on the effects of gamification.
In his study Hamari followed the changes in the behaviour of users of the gamified online sales location Sharetribe over a period of 1.5 years. He examined how many notifications users submitted, how many deals were made and how actively they commented and browsed the notifications.
In his dissertation, Hamari shows that, contrary to expectations, gamification does not necessarily provide benefits and that design must take into consideration the type of actions that are being gamified, who uses the gamified service and in which context. For example, not all users are interested in the gamified activity and the concept of gamification can be perceived as a kind of add-on curiosity. The results indicated that gamification can better support activities that the users are already interested in.
'Gamification should be considered in a diverse manner, as a design process running through the entire service. The aim would be to increase the long-term appeal of the service rather than simply rewarding users with points for every action that is useful in the opinion of the developer. Gamification should be seen as the same kind of challenge as game design. It's a well known fact that Finland has some of the best game designers in the world. This solid competence could also be applied internationally in ordinary information system design,' explains Hamari.
Public examination of the doctoral dissertation
The doctoral dissertation of Juho Hamari, M.Sc. (Econ.), in the field of Information Systems Science entitled Gamification: Motivations & Effects will be examined at 12 noon on 6 February 2015 (Chydenia building, Stora Enso Room , Runeberginkatu 22–24) The opponents are Professor Joe Nandhakumar (University of Warwick) and Professor Jari Salo (University of Oulu), and the main dissertation advisor is Professor Matti Rossi.