Gamification, Game Design, Game Development – What’s the difference?

Games – everyone plays them. Babies play peek-a-boo, and children have a round of Hide & Seek or Duck Duck Goose. Video and board games are popular choices for all ages. But that’s not all. Games are pretty much everywhere – in both physical form and philosophical terms. Economists apply the concept of game theory to make financial decisions. Marketing and advertising companies use game ideologies to entice consumers to try out a new product. It turns out that the simple meaning of the word game can apply to multiple circumstances.

What is the meaning of the word game, anyway? Merriam-Webster has a few definitions, including:

  1. An activity engaged in for diversion or amusement
  2. A procedure or strategy for gaining and end
  3. A physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with participation in direction opposing to each other (1)

Even software developers use game-based strategies to design systems and programs that have fluidity and are user-friendly. The word game has evolved to expand into several approaches that can be applied to constructing software.

Gamification

Implementing game mechanics including rules, constructs, processes and methods into software and the real world to engage users. Taking an in-development or already existing program or process and applying gamification will most likely increase interest and participation.

Applying the concept of gamification is also very useful for employee engagement in the workplace. This doesn’t necessarily mean that companies should make their in-house ERP system as animated as Pokémon Go, but incorporating game concepts into a company’s culture and daily operations can cultivate healthy competition, encourage collaboration, and spawn creativity.

From a B2C standpoint, consumer interaction can happen in a variety of environments, including mobile applications and social media. Apply tools of play, rule development, storyline, strategy, and psychology to create a more pleasurable user experience. Watch things take off when combining gamification with different types of technology, including LBS (Location Based Services), loyalty & achievement systems, and interactive visualization. Geospatial intelligence depicts time-context, human spatial activity with location related information. Critical data leads to the design of rule-based achievement systems. This process creates the ability to offer incentives including notice to new products, special sales, coupons, and free items. Digitalize loyalty and rewards programs by combining relevant information for presentation in a visually interactive format. Believe it or not, none of these concepts are possible without applying gamification.

Game Design

Take your idea and make it interesting and challenging. Entice your audience with short and long-term goals. Take them on a journey teaching them along the way. Make your complex game easy to learn for beginners and challenge the most experienced users. Whether it’s making a game or applying gamification to a particular situation, the shell of the software offering must have a design that reflects the purpose, and spirit of the product. Simply put, the software has to be easy to use. Technological progressions have enabled engineers to design code that creates programs with advanced offerings. To the contrary, most of the world has evolved into a mobile culture where everyone wants things done fast and on the go. The answer to this query is to design in a way that turns complexity into simplicity – enter talented designers who can work with GUI and UI to create a simple UX.

Game Development

From the standpoint of creating actual games, quality game development is crucial to ensuring the successful transition of a game concept into a functional software program. From board game to video game, making a product compatible with the right types of digital and embedded technologies involves asking a lot of questions before starting development. Single player to Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO)? Live or turn based? Will the environment be standard or 3D? How compatible does the game need to be – will users be able to access the program in both desktop and mobile? Each choice requires a different strategy for requirements gathering that has a major influence on the finished product.

Do you have a great idea for a program? Maybe you can make it into a game. Perhaps apply gamification to entice participation. Remember to use design techniques that boost user engagement. Just remember – gamification, game design, and game development, is for more than just playing games.

Sources:

  1.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/game

This article was originally published on LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/2rLopyT

Robert Endo is the founder and Engagement Manager of Intrepid Data.

Intrepid Data is a full-service developer that builds platforms for web-based applications