top of page

Build vs Buy: Which is better for gamifying your app's user engagement?

Do you know one common thing that application developers are running behind? Yes, you guessed it—user engagement, as it drives more conversions and sales. It's the cornerstone of the success of any application. Whether it's a mobile app, a web platform, or simply a software service, engaging the ideal audience is always important but super challenging. 

When most application developers were boggling their minds on how to increase app engagement, they saw gamification as a powerful strategy. 

Implementing gameplay into applications and fostering deeper engagement and user loyalty was easy and promising. No wonder why the global gamification market is expected to reach USD 48.72 billion by 2029. So, you have decided to incorporate gamification, but again, there is a dilemma. Whether to buy & integrate a gamification toolkit or build gamification features into your existing application. This article weighs the perks and drawbacks of both and helps you make a good decision.

Building your own gamification software

Building in-house gamification features is all about creating them from scratch using your team and resources. This gives you complete control over your app or platform's design, functionality, and integration.

Examples of in-house built gamification are CRED and Fortune City. Both of these companies have their own in-house teams that help build their own gamification solutions for their respective applications.

Though this might seem like a good option, you must weigh its pros and cons before deciding whether to build or buy. Now, let's check the factors to consider if you plan to build your own gamification software internally.

Factors to Consider While Building Your Gamification Software

There are several factors to be considered when building gamification software.

Do you have the resources?

First off, make a list of what you have available. This includes your budget and your team's skills and time. For instance, to build gamification, you need team members proficient in Java development, UX/UI design, data science, etc. Either ensure you have the team members skilled in this or check if you have the budget for hiring external expertise. 

If your internal team members take up this task, ensure their workload gets impacted. Plus, assess the risks associated with pulling resources away from their day-to-day activities. 

Because building gamification software from scratch can be complex. So, having the right resources is essential to bringing gamification into your application properly.

Use cases

Next, think deeply about how you want the gamification in your application to be used. Who are you targeting? What's your purpose? As for our case, it's user engagement. Now, this includes end-users, administrators, managers, and other relevant stakeholders. Each of them may have different needs and expectations.

Also, consider the breadth of use cases this gamification will address. For now, you may include gamification for user engagement, and in the future, it may be for onboarding, performance management, etc. So, think about how this gamification in your application will serve.  

Project scope

Be very realistic about what you are aiming to achieve within your timeframe and budget. And be clear about the problem you are trying to solve. Why? Because it's easy to get carried away with different ideas and struggle to reach a point. So, prioritize the features that will deliver the most value to your users. 


Whether you are building or buying a gamification platform to engage your audience better in your application, your team must accept the new processes. Assess if you have the infrastructure in place to support it. 

Integrating a gamification platform into existing processes must be smooth to avoid unnecessary disruptions. So, you must carefully manage this change and ensure that the alignment between organizational objectives and the implementation of gamification fits in properly.


This one's pretty straightforward but crucial. Building gamification software can be expensive. Also, you must factor in not just the initial development costs but also ongoing maintenance and updates. So, ensure you clearly understand your budget and what you're willing to invest.

Advantages of Building Gamification Features In-House

1. Customization and control

You have the freedom to tailor every aspect to fit your specific needs and branding when building gamification features. For instance,Duolingo has nailed personalized gamification. Users who share their year-in-review results get cool badges on their leaderboard that match their learning style. It's a fun and special way to celebrate progress and keep the motivation going.      

This type of customization allows you to align gamification strategies with your brand identity and also boosts engagement.

2. Integration with existing systems

The integration of gamification features with existing systems and platforms ensures a cohesive user experience and zero disruptions, as it's tailor-made. Especially if your software has complex integration with external providers, creating your own solution can streamline the process.  

3. Tailored user experience

What's the use if your gamification tactic doesn't reach your target audience? No worries, with an in-build team, you can figure out who you are targeting and customize your gaming elements accordingly.

This level of customization fosters deeper engagement and loyalty among your users.

Disadvantages of Building Gamification Features In-House

1. Time and resource investment

Rome was not built in a day. So, building your own gamification features for your fintech application needs immense effort, time, and resources. Since you are building from scratch, you must allocate the right resources while balancing other projects and responsibilities when managing your application. 

2. Expertise and skill requirements

Only when you have the right expert team in hand, you can hit the target easily. For instance, you need developers proficient in programming languages, designers, and behavioral psychologists to design mechanisms that truly motivate users. 

3. Maintenance and updates

As already said, building and incorporating a gamification feature is not a one-and-done task. Once you implement it, continuous maintenance and updates are required to make it work as expected. 

If any bugs pop up or need optimizing performance, you must fix them ASAP to keep your application users engaged. It's an ongoing commitment that demands resources and attention from your team.

Buying Gamification Solutions

Buying pre-built gamification features means purchasing a ready-made solution from a third-party provider. This is more like buying a product off the shelf. It's quicker and easier to implement since the features have already been developed and tested. So now you can easily increase user engagement in the app without sweating. However, you may need to rely on the provider for updates and support. 

Here’s an example of a company that has bought gamification solutions and increased user engagement in their application. 

StuCred, India’s most trustworthy real-time student credit app, increased their engagement by buying a gamification solution from a reputed third-party - Flyy. You can find the case study here

Advantages of Purchasing Gamification Solutions

1. Time and cost-effectiveness

The biggest headache of building gamification solutions is that they are time-consuming and expensive. But if you buy a pre-built solution, you are buying into a ready-made system that has already been developed and tested. This saves time and resources needed to build a gamification framework from scratch. The best part? This efficiency directly translates into cost savings.

2. Access to expertise and pre-built frameworks

When you buy a pre-built solution, you get frameworks designed based on the best industry standards and the latest practices. This saves you a lot of time researching and designing your system from scratch. Also, you get access to expertise from the developers or providers of the platform. These experts are likely to have spent more time researching and learning more about gamification and, hence, ensuring their platform is user-friendly.

3. Scalability and flexibility

Like building a gamification solution, buying a pre-built model like SaaS also gives you the advantage of scalability and flexibility. While they may come with pre-built features, they are usually configurable to align with your specific requirements and branding and accommodate increased demand without sacrificing performance.

4. Integration and Customization

Many question if buying a gamification solution would provide the same flexibility in integrating and customizing a solution into their existing systems. Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Third-party gamification providers develop their platforms to fit into any system with any complexity. And they can make changes to make it suit your individual brand’s needs.

Challenges of Purchasing Gamification Solutions

1. Dependency on third-party providers

Buying from a third-party provider makes you reliant on them for ongoing support, updates, and maintenance. In some unfortunate situations, if the service provider decides to stop their services, you might find yourself scrambling to find alternatives and even slight disruptions could affect user engagement. But when you opt for services from a reputed gamification provider, you won't face any issues, and having someone to back you 24/7 helps you relax a bit.

2. You don’t own the code

One of the key drawbacks of purchasing gamification solutions is that you don't have ownership or access to the base code. So, you can't make any fundamental modifications to the gamification system. However, the third-party provider can assist you and satisfy your needs. 

Build or Buy Gamification Software: Closing Note

Whether you are building your gamification features for your app or purchasing one, you must consider the pros and cons listed in this article. But ultimately, by choosing either option, it is important to know how to boost app engagement.

It can be a rewarding option if you have the time, skills, and budget to invest in building your own gamification features for your application. On the other hand, buying and integrating pre-built gamification may be more suitable if you need a quick, cost-effective solution with better support. So, taking a paper and pen to note down your points and carefully make the best decision for your business is essential.

Build a Gamified user experience with Flyy

Are you looking to purchase gamification from a reputed provider to increase app engagement? Look no further than Flyy, a gamified referral & loyalty rewards platform. 

We can create a fun and engaging experience for your users and thus boost customer acquisition, retention, and engagement, as well as make customers come back for more, with our gamification strategies. You don’t have to worry about the customization and integration problems, as our platform can be easily integrated into your existing system and the required tweaks can be made as per your needs. With our SaaS based platform, you can be rest assured of its security, scalability, and flexibility. 

Get in touch with us to learn how to integrate our gamification solution quickly without pinching your pocket.




Want to know how Gamified Loyalty can help your company? 

Thanks for submitting!

Trending Posts