The use of game mechanics, or gamification, in websites is increasingly becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Everyone is talking about retention, engagement and acquisition, but is a simple framework of points and badges enough to deliver the results we’re looking for?
Apparently not. Gamification is all about manipulating the behaviour of the online users in a way that is mutually beneficial both to the user and the service provider. To influence user behavior effectively you need subtlety and sophistication. Consumers need to be genuinely motivated and not just tricked. And while it’s great to show off trophies, they also need to represent a true achievement. Game theories have long been addressing the issues of motivation and creating the economics of behaviour. The well-known prisoner’s dilemma addresses the economy of fidelity by imposing different rules of engagement; a reasonable player is bound to a particular behaviour in order to climb up the ladder of success.
Equally celebrated is the Nash Equilibrium, which is used to analyze the strategic interactions of a huge number of decision makers. Both of the examples above assume the intelligence and reasonability of the players, and are comprised of bona fide motivating factors. Data services such as websites, telecommunications, enterprise applications, among others, usually contain a range of challenges that flex and adapt according to the current situation of the participating user. In a way, much like board games, the rules of engagement differ in accordance with the situation and background of the user.
To match such an elaborate engagement system, the Markov chain proves to be the most accurate. The Markov chain is a mathematical system that describes transitions between a finite number of states. This implementation provides the robustness and flexibility of a huge number of challenges that are either with or without accumulation of memory.
Perhaps the best known implementation of the Markov chain is in google’s PageRank algorithm, although the concept can also be applied in something as simple as a board game. So how can the Markov chain be used for gamification? Well TierX has implemented the Markov chain in its gamification platform engine’s algorithms.
TierX is based in Israel and provides a unique gamification platform to its customers. While gamification is all about the continuous interactions of users with websites, the tierX platform includes the first interaction solution in its game platform providing its customers with a means dramatically boosting their customer base whilst keeping costs to a minimum. tierX has been active for over a year now operating primarily in the Israeli market, a market that’s taking its first steps in adopting gamification.
While interest in gamification has already increased and many are recognising the benefits it can bring to their businesses, this tendency hasn’t yet translated into a widespread application of it. However, it is expected that in 2013 companies will already be putting together business plans that include gamification projects and more and more businesses will want to cash in on the very real advantages that gamification can bring them.
Image by smemon
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