Updated: Nov 29, 2022
I’ve had many people ask, “Organising an event must be so much fun, right?”. Yes, it is but rather, a mixed feeling.
There’s this gush of emotions. You experience excitement, worry, uncertainty, hope and a constant itch to ensure everything is perfect!
That’s why I won’t make Flyy’s first-ever offline event, a Masterclass on Gamification by Somnath Meher (Product Leader, Zynga India), just about the topic and numbers.
Instead, I’m going to keep it raw.
I’ll tell you all about behind-the-scenes stories on how we as a team made sure that we delivered a meaningful meetup for our product managers/designers/gamification enthusiasts.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1 Week Before Our Gamification Event
“Hey! Share the event post with me, I’ll share it with my LinkedIn network”, said Vaishnavi and I’ve to tell you that it really made me happy.
Because in my past work experience, it was usually just the marketing team who’d promote an event. The other teams would do only when approached multiple times.
And here I was, being proactively asked by our Product Ninja for the event collaterals.
Soon, even other team members began to repost my event post on LinkedIn and this gesture was enough to say that we were in it together.
1 Day Before Our Gamification Event
It was a Friday afternoon. Vaishnavi, Aadhi (Sales Ninja) and I roamed around Koramangala streets, curating all the things we needed for event logistics.
Thanks to our CEO, Sunny, we knew exactly where we had to go looking for them. So all we had to do was finalise the items and leave them for Saroj to collect afterwards.
Later that evening, our office was filled with laughter and echos as our Design Ninja, Prakash set up a projector and mic.
One after the other, we all spoke in mic, as though trying to embrace a hidden anchor in us and just like that, we were ready to roll for the event day.
The day we’d all been waiting for finally arrived on Saturday. Our gamification meetup co-organised by HelloMeets (a startup community that organises meetups) was to start at 11 AM.
We reached the office at 10 AM and started setting our office space up to welcome attendees. Chairs were moved, water bottles were kept, tea was served and snacks waited.
Next, all we did was eagerly wait for 90+ registrants to actually show up.
I use the word “actually” because let’s face it. This was our very first offline meetup. Were we nervous? Big time! Was it because we were under-prepared?
No! In fact, we were over-prepared to make sure everything runs smoothly. So what was that about? It was the turn-up ratio.
We were slightly worried if we’d be able to burst the remote events bubble formed by the pandemic and if people would actually show up.
But all of our worries vanished into the thin air when we saw our first attendee walk in.
Next, we saw a bunch more people walk in and soon we reached a count of 45 attendees with that spirit, we finally kicked off our meetup on gamification.
Masterclass on Gamification
The meetup began with Somnath Meher talking about how core gaming behaviour is for humans.
The global gaming market was valued at $222 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $339.95 billion by 2027.
This itself is way more than other entertainment industries combined (Global Movies Market $95 billion and Global Music Market $28 billion).
After bringing the gamification potential into perspective, Somnath continued to enlighten the audience on various aspects of game mechanics, loop, narrative, motivators and applications.
Let’s understand each, one by one.
How Do Games Work?
Remember the time we used to spend hours playing the Mario game, trying to cross different levels, finding secret tunnels and hidden mushrooms, all to rescue Princess Peach?
Brings back good old childhood memories, doesn’t it? I’m sure it does and if we look closer, we’ll see that the game, like every other, has 3 layers.
Now, every game has the first layer, the core mechanic. It makes players do a very specific single thing over and over again.
That mechanic is moulded into a game loop which goes like
Making players do a task
Rewarding them for doing it
Letting them sync what they have gained based on the progress made
Then keep repeating it
But the core mechanic lets players engage for a very specific amount of time. It helps get the first level of engagement or interaction (D1 - D3 engagement).
So how to ensure that a player is hooked and sustained in the game? By extending engagement beyond this point using the second layer, the game loop.
It makes sure that a player does a task repeatedly (D7 - D14 retention).
The third layer is where the actual design of games comes in which is a meta layer or meta-narrative. This is when you give a player a larger goal to achieve.
In Mario’s case, it’s the princess he has to rescue.
In the case of the Mario game, the core mechanic is running, completing various levels is the game loop and the meta-narrative is rescuing the princess.
Similarly, in the case of the Angry Birds game, players fling to kill pigs (core mechanic).
It becomes interesting because they unlock new levels and collect rewards (core loop) and the meta-narrative is taking revenge on the pigs for eating bird’s eggs which made birds angry in the first place.
In the case of Candy Crush, players solve a puzzle (core mechanic) and then unlock new levels (core loop) but the meta-narrative is that there’s a saga to complete.
How Do Games Work?
Why do people play games or use a product? It’s because of 4 motivators.
1. Achievement (Gratify): People in a digital platform like to own things such as collections, rewards and upgrades. For example, Fitbit badges.
2. Social (Validate): People like extrinsic validation that comes via connecting with other people and exchanging information which is the base of social connection. There are 2 kinds of social activity.
a. Competitive: Making people compete with each other. You can have scorecards or leaderboards.
b. Co-operation: PubG uses this where you form teams.
3. Narrative (Excite): This motivator has an element of surprise like choices. Storytelling games like Episode leverage this.
4. Mastery (Evolve): For every task a player does, their level of mastery increases. Skill-based platforms or games are based on this like Chess.
Next, Somnath mapped these motivators to non-gaming environments.
How Non-gaming Environment Can Benefit From Motivators?
Keeping brands like Myntra and Google Pay at the centre, Somnath then drew a circle connecting these motivators to their gamification.
1. Reward System In 2020, Myntra introduced Myntra Move which allowed users to sync their fitness activity to their android device. For this, they introduced a reward system by defining a key task and adding point-based rewards for completing tasks.
Users could earn variable rewards for varying levels of skill/pace and even have negative rewards for missed tasks/deadlines. The points users would get for moving were Myntra Insider Points, as part of Myntra’s Loyalty Program and move to various tiers (Select, Elite and Icon). Talking about Myntra’s points economy design, Somnath shared a comparative scenario. Say a user makes a ₹1000 purchase and gets 10 Insider points. Next, a user walks 10K steps and gets 10 Insider points. Would this add business value to Myntra?
Maybe and maybe not. So how could Myntra set the right balance between giving points that are neither too low nor bleeds the business out?
By ensuring that whenever a customer takes action for a gamified reward, the reward sinks in.
There has to be a sinking system inside the platform and for that, you’ve to create avenues for users to sink the currency you’re rewarding.
For example, even though CRED offers points for credit card payments, the reward points don’t really sink in.
Myntra, on the other hand, let users utilise the earned points to avail discount on specific products. This allowed Myntra to make users sink rewards into business.
Users could earn variable rewards for varying levels of skill/pace and even have negative rewards for missed tasks/deadlines.
2. ‘Collections’ Feature Another way to use a motivator for gamification is to add a collections feature. Let’s take Google Pay Diwali 2020 campaign for instance. They first defined a key task - transacting. Then they introduced stamps which could be collected using points earned on transactions.
These collectables were also provided based on certain milestones and this overall was the reason behind the campaign going viral.
3. Social ‘Competitive’ Feature Let’s face it. People like to compete and be on top and this aspect can be used to motivate users. For this, it’s crucial that users have an identity in the app. Post this, they should be allocated points for key tasks and the same is visible on a leaderboard. Based on their leaderboard performance, they can further be rewarded. Byjus, for example, released Math Cup - an exciting online game to commemorate the FIFA World Cup. All students have to do is train and up-skill football players by solving math puzzles, winning matches, ranking up on a leaderboard and winning prizes.
4. Introduce a Social ‘Cooperative’ Feature Bringing in a team player approach is another way to motivate users to engage and Google Pay’s Build Your House game is a top-notch example! Under this, users connect with other users by working towards a common goal and earn rewards based on their collaboration. For instance, they build a house based on energy which can be collected by making a payment to friends, splitting expenses, gifting them energy etc and winning cashback up to ₹111.
Also, going back to the game mechanics, Somnath mentioned how in this case, the task was transacting, the meta-narrative was building a house and the loop was progressing towards building a house.
5. Skill/Progress Path Users can also be motivated by providing them with a means to be a better version of themselves, say by mastering a skill. For this, you can introduce a parameter linked to the key task and let the parameter define the level of progress.
The parameter’s status can be shown in milestones and the same gets upgraded as the user progresses. Khan Academy leverages this in gamified learning. It offers missions in courses which students can use to develop skills. For example, 72 skills in 7th-grade math.
After addressing the crowd on such powerful gamification case studies, Somnath moved towards the session ended by throwing light on why gamification is so important. With gamification, you can,
Drive more organic installs
Engage your users better
Retain your users for a longer period
Make staying on the platform fun
Next came the time that curious minds from the audience had been eagerly waiting for - question and answer session!
Smart folks, brilliant questions and insightful answers. This is what we witnessed as the Q&A session commenced.
Out of the many questions that floated around, I definitely want to share my favourite one with you. When asked “How does an app come up with a motivator that stands out from the competition”, here’s what Somnath shared. “Gaming is very probabilistic. Therefore along with motivators, many elements matter like how good is the core mechanic, meta-narrative or reward system. Since motivators could be the same for games, this is where testing comes in. For any gaming company to launch a game, there are 100 mock games that get killed. Some gaming companies only run ads. They test motivators and run a lot of user acquisition digital campaigns to check what users are responding to like the Pull the Pin game. A lot of data crunching happens. What are CTR levels? You see what percentage of people are responding and then create ads on top of it.
So you see what core mechanic, narrator or design is working for you.”
Handshakes, Smiles and Snacks
The Q&A session was followed by a beautiful group picture where everyone went all smiles. Post this, our office was filled with attendees greeting and networking.
I personally enjoyed connecting with brilliant minds and just when I was thanking one of the attendees for joining us, I got the loveliest feedback which made mine and the Flyy team’s day.
“It was a very insightful event. The audience was so engaging. Please do invite me when you organise future events. I’m taking a lot on my learning plate for sure. Thanks for organising this.”
It’s Only the Beginning
Flyy’s first offline meetup was definitely a win and we can’t wait to organise more in the near future for our gamification enthusiast.
And oh, by the way, are you also someone who has an inclination towards exploring gamification for your product?
Then why not chat with us? As a gamified referral and loyalty rewards solution, we enable businesses to create campaigns using our plug-and-play SDK.
Herein, you can challenge users to perform actions and rewards them via game elements such as spin the wheel, scratch cards, leaderboards etc.
Sounds interesting? Book a demo today!