Four out of five ‘gamified’ applications will fail to deliver business objectives in the next two years, according to analyst company Gartner.
Gamification refers to the use of game mechanics to encourage users to engage with systems. Gartner identifies three kinds of gamification that can be useful for businesses: encouraging users – whether they are employees or customers – to behave in a certain fashion by turning it into a game; training employees through gamified e-learning systems; and promoting innovation through a gamified portal.
However, according to Brian Burke, research vide president at Gartner, a lack of game design talent within businesses is holding gamification back.
“Poor game design is one of the key failings of many gamified applications today,” he said. “The focus is on the obvious game mechanic, such as points, badges and leader boards, rather than the more subtle and more important game design elements, such as balancing competition and collaboration, or defining a meaningful game economy."
“As a result, in many cases, organisations are simply counting points, slapping meaningless badges on activities and creating gamified applications that are simply not engaging for the target audience," he said. "Some organisations are already beginning to cast off poorly designed gamified applications."
Back in April 2011, Gartner was predicting big things for gamification. It said at the time that by 2015, more than 50% of organisations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. "By 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon, and more than 70% of Global 2,000 organisations will have at least one gamified application."
If all of Gartner’s predictions hold true, the next few years will see a lot of money wasted on gamification.