Question and Answer with Gabe Zichermann, Jon Radoff, James Gardner, and Michael...

Question and Answer with Gabe Zichermann, Jon Radoff, James Gardner, and Michael Wu


Moderated by Eric Goldberg, the four previous speakers return to the stage to discuss practical tools for implementing gamificaion.

Wu asks based on an audience question about well connected users who don’t access their base – “What can I do with my million fans?” if a person has a lot of fans but doesn’t or can’t access them. Wu feels that they are able to interact and influence others, which is meaningful, therefore the value could and should be much much greater.

Zichermann asks Radoff about something he’s heard people say – They don’t understand why people love Farmville. It’s so shallow and lame. So he wonders, are we trying to over-design? Do games not have to be so complicated?

Radoff replies that simple is good. There are the social-games-are-evil people and the social-games-make-you-lots-of-money people. He thinks it’s much more nuanced. It’s naive to look at Farmville as shallow game play. It’s shallow if you’re looking for much more emersive challenges. But there is a great market for games with new types of game play. It comes down to people having fun with their friends and there could be a new types of game play in that.

Goldberg talks about how social games can compel a lot of people.

Zichermann adds that he is all for more meaningful game experiences but he points out that companies are designing a non-fiction gaming experience for real peple. For most of our businesses the narrative is already well defined. Campbell’s Soup has a good narrative. It’s soup. They don’t have to create a soup monster on Galactica 5. They can and should winnow the gamification down.

Goldberg asks if there are any rules toward “simpler is better.”

Gardner replies that there seems to be a magic number for his company, between 500-1000 actively engaged players. After that you have a game. The simpler you can make it, the lower the barrier to entry, the better. Onboarding can be the biggest challenge in a corporate context.

An audience member asks about a notification trigger- can it be detrimental or useful to some player types? Will it turn people off?

Wu answered that they had found that it’s not necessary to motivate all user types. Bartles four player model is very simplistic. But it’s a good start. For a brand that doesn’t know much about the customer, it can be useful.

Zichermann adds that there is such a thing as negative reinforcement—If an Achiever type thinks, I can’t win, I won’t win, these people aren’t serious about giving me a prize, he won’t play. For a Socializer– if people don’t respond correctly it’s a turn off.

Goldberg reiterates that the Bartles model (four players) is a very simplistic model meant to study a very small group of hardcore gamers in the 1970’s.

Zichermann thinks it is still important to keep them in the dialogue.

(Note: Bartles types have since been expanded by Bartles if you want to look into it further.)

Radoff, answering an audience question points out where gamification might not work – for example, if you are using a defibrillator on someone. But before, when you’re learning to use the defibrillator it would work. Training is a great place for gamification.

Nurses like it, adds Gardner. “You’d think they are driven by altruism but they are more competitive than bankers.”

Someone asks about the importance of polish and also the onboarding minute (Capture process):

Radoff argues that polish is important – if the individual doesn’t feel like they are a part of things, they will not join or stay in the game. Polish can help to insure that people will want to join.

Zichermann replies that we used to think we had an hour to show a player how good a game is. “Now, can you imagine giving 60 minutes before a game yields value to you? No. Now you have 60 seconds. It’s that first 1-3 minute that makes the absolute determination.” Focus relentlessly on those first three minutes.


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