5 ways to design Badges and Virtual Rewards

Virtual rewards indicate accomplishing a special feat, serve as a symbol of authority or as a means of identification. How then, should one go about designing badges or other virtual rewards? Don’t fret, below we explore 5 easily-applicable ways to do so:

An easy way to motivate your target audience in a gamification exericse is to provide extrinsic and tangible benefits, such as a $100 Amazon Voucher, or a badge for 10% discount in a pub. However, in the absence of such privileges (which often requires an insane amount of business development/partnership/moolah), the gamification designer, often without the luxury of adjusting the content, would have to rely on designing excellent intrinsic rewards. More popularly known in many gamified experiences as badges (hence the title), while in Gametize, we call them achievements, to open up possibilities, such as to gifting a virtual “Magic Starbucks Mug which auto-refills itself once a day”.

For the sake of discussions, let’s group badges, achievements as virtual rewards. Virtual rewards indicate accomplishing a special feat, serve as a symbol of authority or as a means of identification. How then, should one go about designing badges or other virtual rewards? Don’t fret, below we explore 5 easily-applicable ways to do so:

1. Display Achievement


Virtual rewards can be used to mark a certain level of achievement. Whether it’s completing a set of challenges or scoring a certain number of points, you want your player to be able to flaunt proof of the tasks that he/she has accomplished. Use titles! In the above example we have “Green Guru Superstar” to show that the player has successfully completed a set of challenges in the “Green Guru” quest. For the visual design, one should draw from the features of medals and award certificates. Speaking of medals, we come to the next part, which is…

2. Show Progression


Bronze, Silver, Gold Medals. Even if you’re not a fan of sports, you most likely know this combination of metals and what they mean. Have a set of badges that clearly indicate different levels of accomplishment and set the unlock rules accordingly. As the player proceeds through the gamified experience, they can clearly track their progress as they unlock Bronze, Silver, then Gold medals.

It’s important to give feedback to the player at frequent intervals— we call this kind of feedback “touchpoints“– so the player always has a clear idea of how far they have come and how much is left to be completed.

3. Personalization

European 2 Fanatico BadgeKorean 3 Black Belt Badge

Would you like to fight with a shield and sword as a knight? Or deliver deadly karate kicks as a black belt master?

Different types of people will engage in different types of activities in your gamified experience- sociable types will be upvoting and commenting on others’ posts and competitive types will be fired up to fight for the top spot

Create sets of badges that reward different actions. You can group your players according to Bartle’s Player Types, then each set of badges should reward a distinct group of players. Make badges for Killers, badges for Achievers, badges for Explorers and badges for Socializers.

4. Make it funny

Cafe 3 3D Latte Art

What is the cat doing in the coffee cup?

Humor can be tricky for some, but one easy way we can create humor is to combine two things that don’t normally fit together. It can be in the form of objects, such as the cat and the coffee cup above. Or you can combine a trait with an object, such as creating a “Extremely Small Elephant“. Combine cute with silly. Stop being serious!

Of course, you must have in mind your target audience’s tastes and preferences when it comes to joking around– you wouldn’t want to commit a faux pas by making fun of the wrong thing.

5. Tell a story

Virtual items should tell a story, or make them recall a story… This is where we can use Flavor Text. If you have played with 1980s toys or Magic: The Gathering, you’ll be familiar with these small chunks of story text that serve to add “flavour” to the toy/card without affecting the gameplay. This is like the descriptions of Pokemon in the Pokedex, the in-game Pokemon encyclopedia.

Emo 2 Let It Go

If you are out of ideas for stories, you can use pop culture references. For example, the above badge calls to mind last year’s hit movie “Frozen” and its female lead Elsa, shown as a cute penguin.


After understanding these five tips, try your hand out at creating virtual rewards today! Add these virtual rewards into your very own gamified experience using the world’s simplest gamification platform, Gametize!


This post was contributed by Quek Keng Yong, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Keng Yong has been placed at Gametize to do a 6-month internship through the iLEAD programme of NUS Entreprise in 2014. He studied Business at National University of Singapore. In his spare time, he likes to ride a bike or play computer games.

Towards a new motivational framework

We begin with a hard truth about gamification: success is highly dependent on design. Gartner reported that 80% of gamified apps will fail by the end of 2014. In fact, recent research showed that over US$50 billion was invested in Gamification programs in 2012, and most were unsuccessful due to the lack of use of intrinsic customer motivators. That’s an alarmingly large waste of valued resources. This has led to quick retorts and criticisms of the concept, and a few words such as “over-hyped” and “exploitationware” thrown around in heated discussions about gamification. If you think that just implementing a system where employees simply earn points can improve your workplace, think again.

When does gamification fail, and how can we avoid it?

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about gamification from clients is that they believe its sole purpose is to reward users with points to keep them addicted to the product. However, this may be counter-intuitive – research has shown that the provision of extrinsic rewards can decrease a person’s intrinsic motivation to do a task (also known as the over justification effect). For instance, Nisbett and colleagues (1973) showed that interest in playing a puzzle was higher when paired with a monetary reward, but when it was removed the following day participants spent significantly less time playing it.

Let me draw upon a local example: McDonalds Singapore. If you haven’t already heard of the app, it involves an alarm clock function where users are given the opportunity to win rewards, vouchers and free food.

McDonald's Surprise Alarm

In the short run, customers are incentivised to use the app (which may or may not increase consumption of McD’s products; this is highly debatable). However, customers’ perspectives experience a shift, perhaps from “I like McD’s fries” to “I am using this app because I get free food”. Eventually, when the app is discontinued, the same customers will feel that there is no incentive or motivation to continue eating at McDs (because there is no more free food from using the app), and associate this lack of reward as perceived dislike.

To ensure sustained growth and returns on investment, gamification designers have to consider factors other than rewards or complementary goods, and the best motivators are intrinsic ones. As humans, our actions are driven by several factors, such as mastery of skill, competition, and social belonging, but the importance of these factors relative to each other has been debated by psychologists over the past 50 years, leading to the conceptualisation of classical theories such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Devi and colleagues’ Self-determination Theory, and more recent ones such as Drive Theory by Dan Pink.

(See: What’s the best motivational theory?)

In this post, we will focus on the most popular motivational framework to date: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow first conceptualised the Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, and today remains a popular framework in sociology, management training and higher psychology instruction. It is often presented as a five-level pyramid, with higher-level needs coming into consideration only after lower-level needs are met. Interestingly, this theory was not developed specifically for the business context (although HR managers and management consultants frequently refer to it), but rather was developed as a behavioural explanation for why people do the things they do. Additionally, Maslow never used a pyramid to describe the levels of the framework – but the shape serves as a tool to visualise the importance of lower-level factors.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Find out more about Maslow’s Hierarchy and its constituent factors here.

Maslow’s framework was important in establishing the first steps towards the study of ‘positive qualities’ in people, during a time where psychologists were focused on treating disorders and socially perceived ‘faults’ in the mentally disabled. In fact, he basically laid the groundwork for the field of positive psychology today. However, criticisms have been raised about the framework’s hierarchal structure, as well as several lower-level factors that have been observed to be unnecessary for attainment of higher-level factors. For instance, countless individuals who have chosen to abstain from sex are still able to achieve higher-level factors, to the extent of even achieving self-actualisation.

To an extent, the hierarchy was beneficial in understanding why people chose to behave the way they do, but fails in the workplace setting due to several reasons. Firstly, not everyone is interested in career progression, and may be more comfortable with staying in the same stable environment. Secondly, some of the needs he raised are not relevant to the workplace, such as a lack of prejudice or problem solving (in certain professions). Finally, as mentioned above, there is little evidence for a hierarchal structure in management. Even in educational contexts, society has witnessed self-actualisers who have had poor security of resources or property, or people who come from extreme poverty, suggesting that some safety factors may not be as crucial as Maslow believed.

As a result, we conceptualised a holistic framework called the Intrinsic Motivational Network that attempts to capture the important aspects of motivation in the gamification context, lending key principles from contemporary theories such as Daniel Pink’s Drive, and the Self-Determination Theory by Deci and colleagues. It strips away the traditional notion of the carrot-and-stick argument and emphasises the need for focus on intrinsic factors, which will improve motivation in the long run.

Intrinsic Motivational Network
The Intrinsic Motivational Network.

Essentially, for a successful gamification system, the lower tier factors contribute more towards individual motivation. For instance, introduction of leaderboards (Tier 3: Competition) is purposeless when there is a poor environment (Need: Healthy Environment) where users can exploit bugs or cheat to reach the top, or when there is a lack of social community and belonging (Tier 1: Social Belonging). Similarly, the user should be aware of mastery content and existing badges (Tier 2: Mastery, Recognition) before they can set meaningful goals for personal growth (Tier 3: Growth). The beauty of this framework is that it is easily applied to most contexts, and that it draws parallels from the already familiar Hierarchy of Needs, taking its strengths and addressing its limitations, such as recognising the distinction between need and motivator. It also does not assume that lower levels are necessary for motivation, but acknowledges that lower levels have higher contributions to end-motivational levels.

However, like Maslow’s hierarchy, it is limited in the sense that the framework should be adjusted according to demographics. For instance, young children value social belonging, adolescents self-esteem, and young adults self-actualisation, making them of higher importance in the framework. However, this can be easily addressed by having intended participants complete a questionnaire, which will then be used to restructure the network into tiers that relate better to the target audience as a whole. Ultimately, we designed it to be dynamic in nature, where gates should be switched around and motivational factors adjusted, such that it is able to predict the best outcomes given the demographics provided.

Finally, it should be noted that this framework is a perpetual work in progress; we are constantly pitting data with and against our framework.

How does your gamification design score under our framework? Fill in the form below (takes less than 1 minute) to find out!

Form: Intrinsic Motivational Network


This post was contributed by Jonathan Goh, Business Development Intern @ Gametize
Jonathan Goh is a final year Psychology undergraduate at University College London in United Kingdom, London. His research interests lie in mindfulness, decision-making, and applied psychology.

3 Simple steps to drive motivation

Motivation is a fundamental factor of engagement and in turn, successful gamification. Previously we have briefly discussed and compared the various motivational theories out there. For this article, we will be zooming in on Daniel Pink’s theory on motivation. According to Pink, there are three intrinsically motivating factors: purpose, mastery and autonomy. Let’s take a look at how we can enhance player engagement by applying these 3 elements to game design.

Step 1: Establish Purpose

Say Cheese!
Our Selfiely mascot, Penfie the penguin, helps you perfect the art of the selfie!

Why am I playing? Having a purpose is an essential human need – and if your players don’t understand the purpose behind completing a challenge, they may start to think of it as a chore and eventually lose interest. Tips:

Step 2: Encourage Mastery

Tutorials – keep it short and simple.

What can I do to get better? If players can’t see themselves getting better over time, they may adopt a defeatist attitude and quit altogether. You want to eliminate any sources of frustration for new players, while offering a challenge for expert players.

  • Clarify the rules of the game through a simple tutorial. Most importantly, don’t confuse your players from the start. A well-designed tutorial doesn’t even feel like one – Super Mario is a testament to that!
  • Provide quick, frequent feedback and rewards. How else do players know what they’re doing right – or wrong? Rewards can range from virtual badges and ranks to real vouchers, or simply bragging rights! However, beware of overjustification – don’t be overly dependent on rewards to motivate.
  • Adjust the difficulty of your game. Get players with different levels of mastery to test your game. If necessary, introduce uncertainty to gameplay or rewards to up the difficulty, or opt to offer unlockable levels for advanced players.

Step 3: Enable Autonomy

With Gametize, you can create various types of challenges.

How many ways can I play? Games encourage players to take charge and even test the limits of the game itself. Self-directed play gives players unique gameplay experiences and involves them at a deeper level.

  • Let players choose the task – when and what they do. Although more straightforward stages can help ease players into the game at first, change things up and let players do something different with more open-ended play once in a while. Also, a ROWE (results-only work environment) will give players more flexibility over when they complete challenges.
  • Let players choose the technique – how they do it. Players come in many forms (take the Bartle Test) and gain a greater sense of accomplishment by figuring out their own method of doing things. Even in Angry Birds, there are multiple ways to clear each level with three stars.
  • Let players choose their team – who they play with. Enable players to connect with each other and express themselves, whether it’s through profile pictures, unique avatars or friend interactions.

Of course, this article is by no means exhaustive. What other ways have you found effective for motivating your players? Let us know in the comments below.


This post was contributed by Sarah Ong, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Sarah was offered a mentorship summer 2014 at Gametize under the IDA ELITe Programme. While her special talent is her fluency in the Japanese language, she also dabbles in a bit of design and of course, video games. Recent projects she has contributed to include the Amazing Food Race and Selfiely.

PRESS RELEASE: Gamification and Gametize-powered app increase engagement by 60% in SMU’s pilot group

First SMU module gamified to increase engagement and interactions among students in a pilot implementation shows encouraging results. 94% of students want to see more modules gamified. The Gametize-powered app is designed by four students, facilitated by their professor, Dr Rani Tan. 

SINGAPORE, 6 Aug 2014 – In early 2014, Singapore Management University (SMU) and Gametize Pte Ltd co-produced a pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building (LTB), a core module for freshman students. Gametize CEO Keith Ng, a head teaching assistant in LTB five years back, tapped on this opportunity to improve engagements between students. It was first proposed in early 2013 to his mentor, Dr Rani Tan.  After a year of planning, the GameLead app was made available on both web and mobile platforms. Lessons became more interactive and inclusive with the introduction of the app. GameLead became a success with SMU’s LTB teaching staff and students alike, with 94% of students recommending the use of GameLead for future classes of LTB.

1 2 3        

Gamification is the application of game mechanics and psychology to non-game context, in this case, learning. A gamified experience will ignite interest and build motivation during class, with the goal of instilling lessons as lifelong habits.

GameLead is an app for students by students. The game structure and content were wholly designed by four Teaching Assistants (TA), senior SMU students who had taken the LTB module. With the aid of head lecturer Professor Rani Tan, the TAs were able to design a gamified experience with the course content. LTB students were given a large degree of freedom as there were no deadlines to quests’ completion. Additionally, students can influence their peers by voting on others’ answers, through viewing an activity feed of submitted responses by other classmates. The app facilitated active class participation, as well as enabling SMU and Gametize to collect feedback about the module.

To provide an immersive gamified experience, GameLead consist of challenges for the students to act upon. A series of simple challenges, such as photos, quizzes, and videos prompted students to reflect on and apply what they have learnt in class. Group activities involving discussions and photo challenges were also introduced to bolster social interaction. With every successive lesson of LTB, an additional quest (group of new challenges) was made available for the students to attempt. Supplementary content, such as videos, were provided in weekly ‘bonus quests’ to help students learn better. The students commented that content introduced through videos was interactive, interesting, and relevant to the theories learnt in class.

A core goal of Gamification is to instil strong intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. Rewards such as points and progression acted as extrinsic drivers for challenge completion. The option to choose prime presentation slots is an example of extrinsic drivers.


To experiment with the expectations of extrinsic drivers, students of one of the classes (G1) were explicitly informed that using GameLead (or not using it) will not deliver bonus marks/penalty to their grades (other than logging participation in class discussions, which was a crucial assessment at SMU). The TA left the information dubious deliberately at another class (G3). In the end, G3 had the highest challenge completions, compared to G1’s lower activity, showing the importance of extrinsic rewards to get users on-board or not.However, the provision of a point-based leader board did resulted in some students engaging in unwanted behaviour of not completing the game, seeing that they were nowhere near the top.

“GameLead is an evolution of traditional classroom learning. Through the use of digital technology, lessons can be made more interesting and interactive. The challenge is to find a balance between motivation and rewards” says Keith Ng, CEO of Gametize. “Thanks to the innovative team at SMU, we are able to conceptualize a unique learning pedagogy. From the successful pilot and enthusiastic response of students, we are encouraged to bring this app further.”

GameLead was designed to solve the problem of motivating and engaging students beyond the classroom, by providing a seamless and engaging experience through Gamification. Survey results revealed that over 60% of students felt more engaged through GameLead, demonstrating the pilot’s success. Gamification in education is a fairly new concept. With the success of GameLead, SMU and Gametize are set to develop a second edition with an enhanced storyline and reward system.

The press release can be viewed here.



About Singapore Management University
A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is internationally recognised for its world class research and distinguished teaching. Established in 2000, SMU’s mission is to generate leading edge research with global impact and produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy. It is known for its
interactive and technologically-enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes.


The pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building is helmed by the following Professor and Teaching Assistants:

Professor Dr Rani Tan has been teaching undergraduates at SMU, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, for almost a decade. She is also actively engaged in conducting a HRM module at the Master’s level for the School of Information System and does executive education at SMU. Besides her passion for teaching and coaching, she is also a trained counsellor and is very much involved in voluntary work in the wider community, especially in the area of mediation for the Community Mediation Centre, Ministry of Law in Singapore.

Leon Lim Jun Yang is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Information Systems Management. He is very passionate in the area of leadership studies and strongly believes that learning can be made fun.

Joel Koh Yong Kiat majors in Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship in SMU. He believes in holistic learning and is the founder of skillministry.com. The platform offers people the easiest way to learn and discover new experiences.

Patricia Anne Carthigasu is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Social Sciences, majoring in Political Sciences. She believes in developing and harnessing the leadership potential in students to inspire social change in our society. She strongly believes in providing students a holistic, value-based education; and that learning should never be confined to the classroom.

Tay Weng Yew is a second year undergraduate at SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business and a regular serviceman of the Singapore Armed Forces. His passion lies in leading teams to serve the community and believes that the world is everyone’s classroom.


This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Milgram’s experiment and Gamification

The Milgram Experiment (Milgram, 1963) is a famous series of social experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram in the early 1960s at Yale University. It was devised to answer a popular question at the time (when the trial of the German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was taking place): whether the actions of his subordinates could be considered criminal, or whether they were just following actions.

The study involved three participants: the experimenter, the subject, and a confederate who would take on the role of the student. The subject would be given the role of teaching word-pairs to the student, and by a trial-and-error method the student had to reply with the correct word from a choice of four. If the answer was incorrect, the subject would administer an electric shock to the student, with 15-volt increments for each wrong answer, up to a lethal maximum of 450-volts.

However, unbeknownst to the subject, there would be no electric shocks in reality, and the volunteer would instead play pre-recorded sounds for each shock level, giving the illusion that the student is in pain. If at any point subjects indicated a desire to halt the experiment, they would be given a verbal prod by the experimenter, such as “the experiment requires that you continue”, or “you have no other choice, you must go on”.


The experiment showed that around 65% of subjects were willing to administer the final 450-volt shock, although many were very uncomfortable in doing so. In essence, Milgram showed that people are willing to go to great (and sometimes immoral) lengths simply on the command of an authoritative figure. When subjects relinquished responsibility, they continued to administer potentially fatal shocks to the student in the experiment. Milgram explained this behaviour with what he called the agentic state theory, which argues that individuals come to view themselves as instruments for carrying out another person’s instructions, and no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions.

The essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and they therefore no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow. – Stanley Milgram (1973)

In the context of gamification, there are some lessons that can be drawn from this study. For instance, when individuals are required to complete gamified challenges or activities, the resulting sense of motivation or engagement may be reduced, or even eliminated (“I want to complete more challenges to score higher/learn more” becomes “I am doing this because I need to pass/qualify”). They are in an agentic state, carrying out challenges as instructed.

A recent study (Mollick & Rothbard, 2013) from the Wharton School at UPenn examines exactly this: even if gamification is fun and employees delight at games in their private lives, they are a lot less engaged by games that are mandated. The authors found that mandatory fun resulted in a decrease in positive affect, as well as a marginal decrease in job performance, which brings home the following point: when the need to utilise gamification systems is imposed on individuals, it becomes a chore, another requirement for employees to fulfil. Consider a time when you were forced to play a game (as part of a class or workplace engagement programme), and compare that to a time where you voluntarily joined a group (of friends or like-minded individuals) to play a game.


Effective gamification taps onto instrinsic rewards that drive workplace behaviour, for instance personal achievement, or the subjective experience of fun. However, when the sense of agency is removed, all corresponding benefits(or harm) follows; although a well designed system can re-engage individuals when they are exposed to it. Notably, there is currently a growing amount of research interest in the role of consent and how it contributes to employee engagement (see Burawoy, 1979).

Failures in gamification ultimately boil down to two main factors: poor platform design, and undue directives by management sources. The latter, also affectionately known as ‘forced fun’, can quickly turn something enjoyable into another dreadful aspect of the workplace. So how can we avoid the ‘forced fun’ trap? Here are some tips (adapted from Darcy Jacobsen from Globoforce):

  • Gamify aspects of the workplace only where necessary: The introduction of leaderboards and badges can be effective when driving competition, such as in sales incentive programmes. However, in other departments of the organization, they can force a false (and sometimes detrimental) dimension of competition onto cooperative work, changing those programmes into something that employees may not be comfortable with. Be cautious where it is used to avoid poisoning your culture in areas like recognition and fun.
  • Make fun voluntary: Many cultures thrive on pizza parties and sack races, so don’t think you have to cancel them entirely. Just ensure that they are voluntary, and there is no explicit or implicit coercion to make employees participate.
  • Understand that engagement isn’t uniform: Engagement comes in many forms. Try not to judge other people’s engagement by your own preference, but rather by the results of their work. Never judge someone’s engagement by their willingness to participate (or not) in activities. This is the surest way to kill engagement. Similarly, make sure your culture has differing modes of fun that can appeal to different types of people. For instance, introverts have unique needs and contributions, and also their own sense of what is fun and what is not. Take the time to understand it and it will pay off.
  • Remember that choice is always fun:  When you recognize employees in a way where they can turn that recognition into whatever reward they choose, they will always maximize their fun. Consider employee reward schemes where awards can be redeemed for gift cards, items, trips, meals, gifts for others, charitable contributions, or even, yes, fun outings with (willing) co-workers. Choosing rewards for others will always backfire for someone; allowing a choice from a large pool of possibilities (or even employee-suggested ones) ensures that the fun will never be forced.

Jacobsen, D. (2014). The Dark Side of Fun | Globoforce Blog. Globoforce.com. Retrieved 21 July 2014, from http://www.globoforce.com/gfblog/2014/the-dark-side-of-fun/

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioural Study of Obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371-378.

Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority. An Experimental View. Harper, New York.

Mollick, E. R., & Rothbard, N. (2013). Mandatory Fun: Gamification and the Impact of Games at Work. The Wharton School Research Paper Series.


This post was contributed by Jonathan Goh, Business Development Intern @ Gametize
Jonathan Goh is a final year Psychology undergraduate at University College London in United Kingdom, London. His research interests lie in mindfulness, decision-making, and applied psychology.

Gamification in events and its impact

Gamification is the application of game mechanics and psychology to non-game context. It adopts the persuasive elements of games, tapping on rewards and level progressions to ignite the intrinsic motivations to do and share.

events-heavenly-headerEvents are staged occurrence and attendance are derived from the ability to participate and socialise. People are grouped together for a defined period of time and it’s an occurrence whereby attention can be curated and controlled. It is an ideal platform for branding and promotion. For it to truly attract and retain target audiences there has to be strong engagement mechanisms. In this post, we will look at how events can leverage on SoLoMo and Gamification to provide a positive experience.

Use of mobile devices enable better engagement

The proliferation of mobile devices has provided marketers with the tools to turn target groups into partners. As an extension of the 4Ps of marketing, mobile enables participation. Passive event-goers can be engage through the use of simple Gamification event apps, all at the palms of the participants. In the traditional sense, games in events have long been played. Merchants staged temporary promotional events at shopping malls, offering rebates or coupons for items on sale. Shoppers are enticed and encourage to shop at these events, to achieve the rewards of discounts. Merchants attain the benefits of increased sales while the shoppers get the incentive of a bargain.

Gamification brings mobility to events. Asia’s first gamified event, ideas.inc. Business Challenge, increase engagement and participation through a Gametize powered mobile app. Participants earned virtual points and items through completing challenges involving QR codes and photo sharing. Virtual points and item can then be redeemed for actual prizes. Participants are encouraged to interact and share, and this creates a more engaging atmosphere for the event. The provision of an immersive experience attracts and retains target audiences’ attention.

A promotional guide to downloading the app.
A promotional guide to downloading the app.

A gamified mobile app can serve as utility for an event. Gametize created an app for Walkabout Singapore 2014, a city-wide open house for technology startups, which allows participants to locate the various startups around Singapore. The app acts as a mobile guide, which complement the theme of walkabout.

Gamification in events creates social unity and motivation

participationGamification in events can steer participants’ behaviours and motivations. It helps achieve the objectives of the event. For instance, should the event’s objectives be about learning and sharing, a Gamified app can have inter-department challenges which require participants to tap on their team mates’ knowledge for answers. Gamification in events can create positive on-boarding motivation, interest and participation. With an app, activities or challenges can be directed at everyone, preventing alienation and boredom. Providing “something to do” at an event give participants little reasons to leave during an intermittent stage of an event’s proceedings.

Good delivery of Gamification at events

Create simple content and friendly interface design.
Create simple content and friendly interface design.

An event would have its own objectives to achieve and a Gamified app would serve as an enabler to a better experience. Delivery of an appropriate game, not for Gamification sake, requires proper planning and execution. We suggest:

1) Create good content through storytelling. Take the participants through a journey of exploration. Let them be the agent on a quest to uncover great bands at a music festival. Awards points (that can be exchange for food) when they take a selfie with the band on stage!

2) Provide an easy-to-use and intuitive platform. Create easy login through Facebook (for on-boarding), for instance. Adopt good design principles in the user interface. Do not ruin an experience due to a complicated set-up.

According to Gartner, 70% of top 2,000 organisations would deploy at least one type of Gamified application. Put your game on and create an immersive event with a simple yet attractive app. Or simply have game elements be the backbone of your event!


This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Why is World Cup such a sensation?

It all started in Switzerland, 1904. FIFA was created with the intention of organizing a European football tournament in 1906 Switzerland. FIFA describes this very first tournament, which nonetheless took place, as a failure. Then, in 1908, football became official competition in the London Summer Olympics. But it was for amateurs, not professionally trained players. Football then reappeared as a competitive sport during the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, again limited to amateurs. The tea magnate Lipton then organized the first football competition between individual clubs (not nations) in 1909, and this is widely regarded as the very first World Cup, although only few European clubs participated.

uruguayFast forward to the truly inaugural World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay. So far, 19 World Cups have taken place (not held in 1942 and 1946 due to WW2) and been won only by eight different national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every Cup.


World Cups have become one of the most exciting and engaging (even if you only watch) sports happening in the world.

The reason the World Cup is so engaging or motivating is that it’s not just a series of games, but a gamified sports experience, which is equally delightful for those attending and those watching over Internet or TV. The gamification elements and methodologies of the Cup include:

  1. Competition: the world’s best 32 national soccer teams all compete for one coveted world cup.
  2. Narrative: each World Cup lasts for one month, and during that month each national football team builds its own narrative (and corresponding branding, for those of you business-minded)– the underdogs, the former champions, new comers, etc. It all blends into one experience that is memorable, emotional and addictive.
  3. Team-work: football is a team game, and while each team might have stars, the team dynamic usually yields some very interesting and unexpected outcomes and results.
  4. Mastery/progression: with each match won, a team advances (to the next stage) and competes with teams who have also qualified and reached the same stage until only one remains.
  5. Achievement: each time a team makes it to the top three or beats an old or formidable rival, there is celebration.
  6. Sense of belonging: in many cases, people root for their national teams or teams whose country or vision are close to theirs (for example, Egyptians root for any African country as well as Spain, Portugal and Italy).
  7. Surprise/uncertainty: while each World Cup has its favorites pinned many months before its beginning, games are full of surprises. Many an underdog won, and many a Goliath failed. This sense of unknown and uncertain creates additional exhilaration for fans.
  8. Fun: whether one experiences a match in the stadium, surrounded by lots of dancing and singing fans or in front of a TV in a dark room, following the games is a lot of fun.

While there is no overall gamification strategy throughout the FIFA World Cup Brazil site, there are few sponsored games such as Castrol’s Predictor Challenge, McDonald’s World Cup Fantasy and Hyundai’s Your 11.

world_cup_2014_ball_brazucaWorld Cup has become the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games. In 2006, more than 26 billion viewers in 214 countries watched the World Cup on television, and more than 3.3 million spectators attended the 64 matches of the tournament. A true titan of games!


This post was contributed by Hayk Hakobyan, guest writer
Hayk is a consulting partner at Gametize, based mostly in MENA region.
He is a consultant (marketing, innovation, gamification, social media, org dev), entrepreneur (@kartagapp, @engezni), TEDx speaker,advisor/coach (@thezimbabwean, @verdademz, @mtramadv), and volunteer (@takingitglobal).

Building employee engagment!

Research Company Gallup releases this figure in a recent study – only 13% of employees are engaged at work! The bulk of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged, that is, they are either feeling negative or are creating negativity at the workplace. It is certainly not an office where productivity is at its best. We picture zombies!

zombies-at-workTraditionally, organisations dwell on extrinsic motivation for attendance and participation. For instance, an organisation may conduct an optional competition for learning, offering tangible rewards in exchange. It would appeal to the 13% but not for the unenthusiastic employees. They are the zombies, who work to live, and are probably the ones who do the bare minimal at work. Initiatives and innovations are bleak in such a scenario.

Another instance of poor engagement is the presentation of corporate manuals and PowerPoints. Badly designed PowerPoints gave rise to the term, “Death by PowerPoint”, and it is certainly not a myth. As a result, employees become disengaged and may lack the necessary knowledge to excel at their job. The lack of attention translates to terrible performance at work.


Organisations have to understand their employees and build a shiny culture of excellence. A happy workforce thrives on playing, sharing, learning and exploring. It should be fiercely protective of one another and embraces the strength of everyone in the team. A unified culture creates purpose but it must have room for autonomy. Autonomy allows for problem solving and this breeds creativity and innovation. One of the ways to engage is through Gamification, which encourages problem solving with game mechanics. It only let you proceed when you succeed, creating a bias for exceptional results. The element of gaming may not tolerate wrong answers but it is forgiving in mistakes. There is an allowance to repeat, encouraging doing and learning. This develops a work culture that is lean, agile and iterative, removing the need for redundant legacy. Allowing exploration and risk develop employees who are energetic and driven to succeed.


Employee engagement is changing more than ever, especially with the advent of the Generation X and Y. Work structures are becoming increasingly flexible. Unless a job requires stringent control like a factory, employees of today will thrive on group work and collaboration.  Element of fun will loosen up the inhibition of employees and make sharing viable. We should create the chance for quick learning and adjustments. Bring the zombies back to life, just like R in Warm Bodies. Aim for engagements that inspire and motivate employees!


This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Will stories triumph or should branded games lead the way?

Stories and branding should work in tandem. Stories create longevity and branding build the critical mass.

onceuponatimeTo build on the previous post, “Storytelling in Gamification”, we would now stress the importance of managing the story. Developing good content matters but it must adapt with changing circumstances. Success of a game depends on continued involvement by the organization, not limited to the initial involvement. There has to be a holistic approach to an organization’s goal and a player’s motivation.

This post takes its influence from the article by Tadhg Kelly of Tech Crunch, “Why does ‘Just Add Gameplay’ Endure?”  Tadhg Kelly argues that games are funded by institutions due to strong pitches but does not really translate into real success. Games are being branded by companies, with the promise of engagement and the higher calling that games can influence positive social behaviour. This manner of creation will endure for a time but real gameplay will still triumph. Players are able to sieve through propagandistic motives for the golden gameplay underneath.

Advocating good content creation has always been core to Gamification, rewards and badges are secondary extrinsic motivations to play. Good content uses storytelling. We should not use Gamification as a branding tool. We have to understand the impact and effects on players.

There has to be proper content design and management. People play with a desire to gain mastery and to achieve personal goals. Organisations use Gamification to create a cohesive and empowered workforce. The intrinsic purpose is enhanced by games. A branded game may aid in building a following but for it to reach its intended goal with time, we have to bear in mind the objectives and motivations of players. This is where good storytelling content will play an important role in setting the course and flow of the game. Long term engagement will blossom and make the game relevant to the players. Here is the post on creating good content through good design principles.

Brand the game but have good stories lead the way. Kick start a story with these tips:

1) Take inspiration from well-known tales


Remember Goldilocks or David and Goliath? These endearing tales are able to leave a profound impact and are stories that teach important life lessons. We set objectives and the lessons to be learnt. Only then, we can lay the foundation for great stories to be told. Stories have to form a connection and give meaning to the recipient, stirring emotions and enabling remembrance.

2) Seed an idea and let it grow


Back in school, teachers would enlighten children’s imagination by telling a story through an object, like a teddy bear. The story would begin by, “There was once a teddy bear which could talk…” and then pass it round the class. Children would then continue the stories, sparking new ideas along the way. Have an idea and let your team build wonders on it!

In short, we should first brand the game for awareness and work hard on creating engaging content. Engaging content will attract and retain players. Seed ideas from your team and build it with a solid objective (end in mind).


This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Now’s the time to motivate employees through Gamification

Motivation is an employee’s intrinsic desire to do work, and this often results in a more productive person. It is the initiative taken by an individual to complete a task. This motivation has to be nurtured and cannot be left alone to grow. There has to be “a pat on the back” for it to grow stronger.

Think about the times when you were praised for your work. How did you feel? It felt good doesn’t it? You have been acknowledged and your labours are starting to bear fruits! This simple act of acknowledgement can do wonders for the employee’s well-being.

teamwork This acknowledgement can take place through the adoption of game elements. Often, employees in various departments indulge in friendly comparison and envy. They embark on a journey of exploration for answers, igniting the motivation and initiative needed to innovate and create exceptional results. Employees are engaged in business processes, just like game players are engaged in game processes. It adopts the mechanics and psychology of games to promote action. Some of the most frequently used game elements include PBL, which fosters at once cooperation and competition inside companies. To advance, departments, like games, require good skills and teamwork, and these elements increase employees’ knowledge and cooperation.

HR-Gamification-trainerHuman Resource Departments have taken note of this trend and has begun using Gamification to engage employees. Gamification can be said to be an evolution of traditional management methodology. The availability of new technological resources has introduced gamification psychology/elements into processes of many organizations. The Generation X and Y are technologically savvy and are slowly replacing the retiring Baby Boomers generation. They are familiar with technology and would feel most at ease with games at work. In an age of information, they are an impulsive and impatient bunch and thrive on instant gratification. Hard work is expected to be recognised. Game elements of points and rewards are instant and it affirms their motivation to excel. Also, points and rewards act as little incentives that serve as a form of acknowledgement. Human Resource Departments needs to re-energize and motivate employees for daily work tasks, to enable better efficiency and productivity.

diy_gamificationGamification is certainly coming of age, with the help of ubiquitous and unrelenting technological advances, and through the understanding of proper motivation, we are set to enter an evolution. Employees’ engagement is set to be more dynamic and interactive, with partnership and participation being the rule of thumb. This will enable a profitable service profit chain – a correlation between employee satisfaction and customer loyalty.


This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.