Dennis Crowley once explained that he had the idea for Foursquare when walking over a chalk mushroom drawn on the pavement – as an avid gamer, he immediately thought: “Hey, I should get a reward for that!”. Almost three years and over 10 million users later, his initial inspiration has become a pervasive trend with a name: gamification.
Despite taking the cake as the most overheard buzz word in 2011, gamification still has many glorious days ahead. Based on the idea that rewarding the user is fundamental in creating an engaging digital media experience, numerous cutting-edge media campaigns, crossplatform projects and transmedia productions are now putting this concept to work.
Although facilitated by social gaming, the proliferation of mobile apps and inspiring success stories of companies such as Zynga, gamification strategies should not be limited to producing games to complement a media franchise. Progressive structures, rewards systems and other “funware” features are being implemented left and right into non-game projects, and consumers are playing along. The future of gamification is actually about extending these mechanisms to a diversity of activity sectors (health, government, services…), business processes and working structures and to broaden brand-engagement strategies — just like what Samsung has started doing recently with Samsung Nation.