Mobile Gaming: the truth – and what we can learn Part 3 – buzzwords

Posted on April 24, 2012


This post was originally posted on my internal IBM blog on 16:28 01/02/2012, Steve Devo, games, gamification, mobile, mobilegames, mobilesocialnetworks, mososo, socialification, Mobile Internet

Part 3 the final part of the short series on Mobile gaming looking at …

Some horrible buzz words that are emerging.

Gamification: (I did warn you)
this is the use of game type techniques in apps to gain traction and maintain interest. A Lot of apps, and by that I mean the vast majority of apps have a short usage life on a device. People download, have a short flirtation with the app, and then it just kinda lurks on your screen unloved and unused. there are figures for this and they are scary.
According to a Harris online survey on behalf of mobile ad provider Pontiflex, only 3 percent of apps downloaded through incentivised install campaigns are used frequently, and only 62% of downloaders use an app more than once. Given this challenge and the popularity of games what can a game teach us to make an app more likely to be used.
Well initially people used “badges and leader boards” like Foursquare did, and this can help but is a little cheesy to say the least.
What games do to increase usage is, I think, the following: –
they take you through a period of learning, where you are introduced to more and more parts of the interface and the application. This prevents the user being overwhelmed.
Then they discover what you want to do, and adjust accordingly, and with the freemium model this means targeting the best upgrades / extensions at you.
Then they let you explore and move around the game as you like.
Seems to me that this is the way to go with other types of apps, understand the user’s journey from wide eyed innocent through knowledgeable user to comfortable expert. Forget the cheese.

Next up games use incentives that appeal to the user at a quite simple level, often involving completing something and feeling good about it. We can see that web sites are using short, chunked up, incentives to get folks to fill in their profile data, for example Linked-in and yahoo! properties do this, encouraging you to get 100% on your profile, but not all at once, they will ask you for more as you progress through your journey with them, and will reward you with encouragement and kind words, and yes sometimes a little competition, especially for men.

Socialification (it’s worse then gamification, and that’s saying something )
Simply put the use of social networks and interactions into an app.
Games are starting to use presence in an asynchronous way, that is knowing about other players without necessarily playing against them. This provides a sense of belonging and with care can become an incentive to return to the game. Multiplayer is not social networking, get over it. OK.

So there you have it, the mobile gaming industry is starting to move from small teams into a full on, well thought out industry, much of it based in central LDN. There are many things that main stream applications can learn from games to increase a user’s attachment to the applications, or to a web site.

I hope you have found this, at least a little bit interesting.

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