The Outbreak App
The Outbreak App
The Outbreak App

Game and Gamified Are Not The Same Thing

Games are the most engaging form of entertainment on the planet, but gamified products aren’t games. Gamified products lack the foundational mechanics of games that make an experience intrinsically fun and engaging. Unfortunately, all the badges, trophies, achievements, points and leaderboards in the world won’t ever make up for a dull core experience, which is why there is a huge difference in results.

Why isn’t gamification enough?

The problem with gamification is that the real engagement drivers in games come from the underlying core gameplay, not superficial elements like badges or achievements. Most marketing departments don’t know the difference, so they’ll pass off a gamified experience as being just as good as an actual game, but the engagement results won’t compare.

If you want next level results, like 94.4% sustained engagement and a 32.5% increase in participation over your historical wellness initiatives, you don’t want gamification, you want A Step Ahead.

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How to tell the difference between a game and gamification

What is a game?

Games are, at their core, a structured form of play. They’re played according to rules and are typically decided by some combination of skill, strength, decision making, and luck.

They’re a powerhouse of psychology, designed from the ground up to engage the end user. 

Things to look for that tell you it’s a game:

What is gamification?

“Gamification” is a term that means applying game elements to things that aren’t designed to be games.

It’s a marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service, but the product or service itself is not a game. 

Things to look for that tell you it’s a gamified experience:

1. Dopamine

Pleasure is tied to the release of dopamine in the brain. After making a choice and receiving feedback that the choice was correct, there is a dopamine release that prompts the brain to seek to repeat the behavior.

2. Feedback Loops

Games are great at providing feedback for progress. Things like accumulating points, progress in a story, visual success indicators, sound effects, animations, social recognition, all help trigger that crucial release of dopamine.

3. Desire to Repeat

Through feedback, neuronal circuits become stronger, reinforcing the desire for the activity that triggered the dopamine response. Sounds a bit like addiction, no? Well, yes, games can be addictive!

4. Internalization

With proper feedback, the desire to continue transcends external rewards, becoming internal, as the brain seeks another surge of dopamine. This is the basis for behavioral change that lasts.

1. Dopamine

Pleasure is tied to the release of dopamine in the brain. After making a choice and receiving feedback that the choice was correct, there is a dopamine release that prompts the brain to seek to repeat the behavior.

2. Feedback Loops

Games are great at providing feedback for progress. Things like accumulating points, progress in a story, visual success indicators, sound effects, animations, social recognition, all help trigger that crucial release of dopamine.

3. Desire to Repeat

Through feedback, neuronal circuits become stronger, reinforcing the desire for the activity that triggered the dopamine response. Sounds a bit like addiction, no? Well, yes, games can be addictive!

4. Internalization

With proper feedback, the desire to continue transcends external rewards, becoming internal, as the brain seeks another surge of dopamine. This is the basis for behavioral change that lasts.