|7 Gamification Predictions for 2012|
|Written by Mario Herger|
|Wednesday, 28 December 2011 20:09|
Ever since I closely started following and contributing to gamification and the gamification industry 18 months ago, I've seen many interesting discussions going on, as well as examples from many areas, and - as expected - the first consolidations. Just as a refresher, how fast gamification has gone, we don't need to look further than the number of search results for "gamification" from Google: in summer 2010 barely 500 results were returned. Fast forward end of December 2011: 2,3 million.
Between then and now, we have seen the first two installments of the industry's conference Gamification Summit, gamification gurus speaking at large corporate conferences like SAP TechEd and BlackBerry DevCon, or influential forums TEDxKids@Brussels, the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Forbes, and Informationweek covering the topic, social game startup Zynga going IPO, and of course passionate discussions between gamification supporters and critics.
The general expectation from leading industry experts and analysts is that 2012 will be the year of gamification. Joshua Greenbaum from EA Consulting, Wanda Meloni from M2 Research, Gartner, Deloitte and so forth have all put gamification on their radar. When Badgeville – one of the leading gamification platforms – reported 400% growth this year (beside raising $12Mio in a second round of funding), even sceptics like CRM management consultant Paul Greenberg admitted that they should have paid closer attention.
Considering this all and much more, I am giving a shot at predicting what we will be seeing around gamification in 2012.
Gamification Platform AcquisitionsAt least two acquisition (Bigdoor acquiring OneTrueFan, Salesforce acquiring Rypple) in 2011 marked the beginning of consolidation in the gamification industry. This trend will definitely continue and intensify with gamification niche players being acquired by larger software companies. Many deep pocketed corporations in the Silicon Valley experiment with gamification. Adding expertise and technology through an acquisition helps to capture the market and show leadership faster. Maybe even one of the universalist gamification platforms will join the ranks of Rypple & Co. Watch out for the price tags: it'll be expensive.
Business GrowthBadgeville reported 400% growth this year. They had three different offices this year, way up from the 15 when I first visited them up to soon 100. In the mean time I have their office address on their website favorited, as each visit takes place in their newest, larger office and a few weeks before. And other gamification platforms like Bunchball or Bigdoor report similar success in getting funding, acquiring customers and number of users.
According to M2 Research the industry will double market size nearly every year, and I strongly support the prediction.
The ROI Holy Grail
So far, KPIs that measure the impact of gamification on gamified systems, processes, applications, sites, campaigns etc. have yet to prove the cost benefit, ROI and in general everything that can be measured in real currency. While I question the overall importance of the latter ones – comparing them to social media, where the ROI is not really tangible either, but where the corporate world has understood in the mean time (sometimes very painfully), that you need to have a social media presence – I am certain that in mid 2012 we will see the first hard numbers on ROI, cost savings, revenue increase etc. coming.
While we are waiting for them to come, follow my collection of some of the available numbers in Gamification Facts & Figures. I will keep the document updated.
More SophisticationHonestly, I am sick and tired of yet again Foursquare and Nike+ being mentioned as prime examples of gamification in blogs and presentations. Not that I think those apps are bad – I use both apps very frequently and they are very good – I think that they have been milked to death in 2011. I recognize the same fatigue that I experience in many other gamification aficionados. We should use a wider spectrum of examples. Instead of an overly simplistic and so totally misunderstood application of gamification to examples like emails in The Email Game, we will see real world examples from the business world and Gamification 2.0 in communities, marketing area, or training (amongst others). I myself will focus on the enterprise related gamification examples, which you can all find here.
CriticsA number of voices have been criticizing gamification for multiple reasons in 2011 (see a collection of them and how to counter them in this slidedeck). While criticism is necessary to improve the concept and make it better, it's useless, when it's not constructive. We should not deal with latter type. And we will learn not to care or waste our time responding, because the gamification train has left the station and is on track. It will be bumpy and we don't know yet where we will be going at the end, but there is no way that they will be stopping gamification. While in 2011 the critics could dominate the gamification dialog, 2012 will deal with them like it happened to the social media critics: they either jumped on the train or were left behind.
Gamification Gurus & Game Studios
What better way to prove the working of gamification then to apply game mechanics to rank the gamification experts? That's what Toby Beresford from Pailz did in 2011. His Gamification Guru-leader board will be becoming even more important and sophisticated in 2012. Gamification experts who'd like to expose themselves as knowledgeable on the subject matter for their clients, need to be on that list. And with the industry taking shape and branching into multiple areas, I see a variety of lists around gamification. And maybe I will move up from my current position #14 to the top (eat this Gabe!)
What I am expecting now as well is the heavy push of game studios into the gamification market. I have met a couple of them over the past months and all of them try to provide corporate solutions for serious games and gamified solutions. So here's to Toby: We need a game studio list for gamification!
Workshops, Conferences and Books
To make gamification more compelling and counter the critics through good gamification design, gamification education will become very important. Understanding a gamification example is one thing, but applying gamification design and methodology to an application, process, system, site, campaign etc. is another. Considering legal, moral and ethical pitfalls once you move beyond the consumer to the employee in the corporate world, you need to know way more. This why we see a lot of workshops and books on the subject matter being offered in 2012.
Gamification guru Gabe Zichermann has already been invited to speak about gamification all over the world in 2011. Whenever I contacted him, he was in another country and continent. Now me and other frontrunners experience the same. Alone for the first six months in 2012 I have invitations for a half dozen conferences around the world to speak about this topic, and I am expecting that to be just the spearhead. I am thrilled about that. Watch out, there may be a gamification conference closer to you than you would have expected.
Now here is the chance for you to lead. If you are amongst the first to attend gamification workshops and maybe even get certified, then gamification will really have an impact and not stay a buzz word that was overselling its capabilities.
If you want to monitor my thoughts on enterprise gamification, and whether this is all going to be true, follow me on Twitter under my handle @mherger or subscribe to my newsletter (at the left top corner). I also have some workshops and hands-on session on enterprise gamification scheduled, so what better way to start into 2012, be at the forefront and meet up in person? See more details here for my workshops.