It’s an understatement to say that gaming has become a juggernaut in the realm of entertainment. So much so, that in 2018, global gaming revenue was $134 billion, dwarfing the combined worldwide revenue from movie box office ($41 billion), video streaming ($36.6 billion) and music ($19 billion).
So why has gaming become the number one source for entertainment? Because it’s more than just entertainment. Gaming taps into deep-seated human motivations.
“We’ve been playing games since humanity had civilization – there is something primal about our desire and our ability to play games. It’s so deep-seated that it can bypass latter-day cultural norms and biases.”
– From Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal
As Jane McGonigal points out in her book, games draw us into their world, challenge us to be creative and adapt to rapidly changing situations, and reward us with a sense of accomplishment, personal mastery and autonomy.
The question is: does gamification have a place in the world of business?
The answer is yes, especially in situations where an organization is trying to make a cultural change stick.
Like anyone, employees are hard-wired to achieve, be rewarded and be part of something greater than themselves. Therefore, gamifying employee experiences that educate, motivate and shape behaviors is a natural extension of our increasingly gamified culture.
But to do it well, organizations must consider:
- Is the experience designed to drive action among employees?
- Is it linked to a greater organizational purpose?
- Do the rewards create an enhanced sense of accomplishment?
- Is it truly fun?
Taken in this light, gamification can truly deliver on its promise to engage employees and serve as a catalyst for personal growth and cultural change. Game on.
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