Gotham Media’s Gamification Panel

Gotham Media’s Gamification Panel


Gotham Media hosted a panel on gamification at New York Law School. This event was definitely more of a gamification 101 event, but still good for new comers into the space. The panel was moderated by Fast Company contributing writer, Adam Penenberg—a non-enthusiast of the words “gamification,” “gamify,” and “avatar.” On the panel, we had (Michael Ahern), Dotmenu (Michael Saunders), BigDoor Media (Matt Shobe), and Playmatics (Margaret Wallace).

In some ways, this panel was debate-like. The moderator would describe what he thought as a gamification weakness and then let the panel discuss. Here are some key takeaways from the panelists:

  • Some users want something more than just a badge. “Badges! Sweet! What do I get for them?” – said about their users when they introduced badges on their Opening Day App.
  • “Surprise & Delight” –Dotmenu said that this is what creates loyalty to their brand.
  • “Rewards down and status up works!” –Dotmenu
  • “Risk is a component yet to be tested well.” –BigDoor Media said. Shobe used an example from Fantasy Baseball—Trading a player is a risk because there is something at stake. This increases engagement tremendously; similar to the way Zynga’s Farmville operates.
  • Gamification is victim in many cases. For example, Tropicana created a game on their orange juice carton. My little op-ed that I’m sneaking in here: I’m no game designer, but I would make one suggestion to Tropicana, which comes from—create relevant partnerships. Orange juice is about health…what does a maid service discount as a reward have to do with health?
  • “Frequency works.” – Dotmenu
  • “Non-engaging content doesn’t work.” – BigDoor Media
  • Although a little contradicting from’s earlier statement about badges Aherns said, “People would rather brag on Facebook about winning their Fantasy League.” Winning Fantasy is a status reward, much like their use of badges.

Club Psych

Once the debate panel was over, Jesse Redniss gave a quick talk about how USA Networks has successfully incorporated game mechanics into their business. He gave some data that proved it’s success—in 2009, Club Pysch merchandise sales were $200k. In 2010 (after implementing game mechanics into Club Psych), merchandise sales were $440k. He said that the game mechanics allowed for “extended exposure” and the “creation of brand ambassadors.” You can hear more from Jesse Redniss at the Gamification Summit in NYC this September 15 & 16.


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