The buzzword “Gamification” has been doing the rounds for quite some time now, gaining huge momentum in parallel with digital learning initiatives during lockdown and the COVID-triggered revolution of the event industry which necessitated a turnaround on teaching and interaction methods.

Immersion included

Gamification is basically limitless in its application. No matter if we are talking about the digitalization of complex processes, knowledge transfer, or product marketing – “video games” prove to be effective tools. At first glance it might seem paradox to train surgeons with “games”, to educate pupils or to convince potential customers. Yet there is no denying the success of the medium. This is particularly due to two exclusive benefits of video games, compared to an educational text or simple film content – immersion and reward.

The first is the ability to dive deep into a fictional context. In video games, it might be an epic fantasy world that captures gamers with its plot scenarios, unrestrained by the laws of physics. So-called “serious games” however enable the implementation of real scenarios in a virtual surrounding. Take the example of our surgeon in training. A mistake during an actual surgery might have dramatic consequences. Still, they need to gain experience and practical training. Thanks to technical innovations it is now possible to play surgeries out in virtual reality. And this application is used daily – countless times.

The stimulus of competition

The reward – the release of endorphins after a successful finish – has been a fixture of game mechanics since the dawn of the medium. Pretty score graphics, satisfying sound effects, high score lists, and level systems may sound nonsensical in a respectable context, yet their psychological effects have been scientifically proven a long time ago. By linking this positive experience with a brand, it is easy to achieve the desired effect of brand recognition. If the combination with immersion and skilled storytelling succeeds, brand and emotion are inseparably linked.

Beware of one-size-fits-all

There are countless possibilities in gamification, yet they require much sensitivity regarding the choice of content, means, and look. Game design, narrative design, and game engineering must go hand in hand with the overall teaching goal. Particularly in times of social distancing there are hardly any better ways to approach one’s audience individually, to share content and to create joint experiences despite the physical distance. Will the MQ! Virtual Innovation Summit yield new impulses on gamification in mobility?