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15 Million Downloads to $100 Million Revenue: How To Boost User Engagement With Gamification

Updated: Feb 27

October 1958.

A physicist with the name William Higinbotham was heading a research institute called Brookhaven National Laboratory.

During that time, the lab would host thousands of people on their Annual Visitors’ Day where researchers would exhibit their work.

The problem was - Most of these exhibits were extremely dull. Higinbotham wanted to do something that could better capture audiences’ attention.

The lab had a small analog computer that could display various curves, including the path of a bouncing ball. He made some drawings, blueprints and put together the basic pieces.

Within a month, Tennis for Two was born - the world's first ever video game.

The game was displayed on an oscilloscope and played with two controllers. The screen displayed a tennis court from the side, and players had to adjust the angle of their shots with a knob on their controller and try to hit the ball over the net by pressing a button.

It was a hit at the Annual Visitor’s Day with hundreds of people standing in long lines to get a chance to play. It brought people together and was an important step towards Gamification as we know it today.

Tennis for Two was born out of Higinbotham’s concern that the science community were unable to show the importance of their work to society.

He added game mechanics to a boring non-game situation and made Annual Visitor’s Day fun and engaging.