Implementing gamification is no game, says Gartner

Gamification keyboard

By 2014, 80 per cent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design, analyst firm Gartner has claimed.

Gamification, the use of game design and mechanics to engage people and change their behaviour, is becoming more widespread. However, Gartner believes this uptick is being driven by novelty and hype, which, in turn, has resulted in poor game design.

"The challenge facing project managers and sponsors responsible for gamification initiatives is the lack of game design talent to apply to gamification projects," said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner.

"In many cases, organisations are simply counting points, slapping meaningless badges on activities and creating gamified applications that are simply not engaging for the target audience."

The most difficult part of gamification, according to Gartner, is designing applications that are stimulating and engaging players. If the points and badges are not meaningful, the user will not get anything out of it.

Alex Wentzo, CEO of gamification software developer Casewise, concurs. "Games are a complex product to develop," he told IT Pro. "There is one thing we should never forget if we do not want to make mistakes when we do gamification: What value does it bring to the user?"

That said,gamification, when used correctly, can benefit virtually all areas of business, according to Gartner, as it can help change the behaviour of both employees and consumers for the better, can be incorporated into training schemes to develop skills, and facilitate innovation.

"As gamification moves from being leveraged by a limited number of leading-edge innovators to becoming more broadly adopted by early adopters, it is important that CIOs and IT leaders understand the underlying principle of gamification and how to apply it within the IT organisation," Burke concluded.