This past week has seen the release of a flurry of articles around the web that highlight the business side of gamification. Following an updated announcement by Gartner that 70% of the Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified app by 2014, authors have raced to demonstrate how it has already taken hold in many different industry verticals and proven the power of engagement.
Brian Burke, vice president of research at Gartner stated that “Gamification could become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon. During 2012, 20 percent of Global 2000 organisations will deploy a gamified application. IT leaders must start exploring opportunities to use gamification to increase engagement with customers and employees, with the aim of deploying a gamified application next year. Understanding how to apply game mechanics to motivate positive behavioral change is critical to success.”
A series of articles go into depth about how games can influence different verticals from insurance to travel to corporate events at Dell. Gamification is being used to drive participation and engagement with corporate initiatives.
But there is a disconnect between Internet giants–such as Facebook, eBay and Amazon–and gamification, specifically the lack of a industry giant in the gamification space. Although competition is tight between the leaders in the space such as BigDoor, Badgeville, and Bunchball, there is currently no industry top dog that has developed the “killer-app” in gamification. Drawing a comparison from the development of social media, perhaps we are in the age of MySpace and Friendster before Facebook took the scene.
The alternative is that there won’t be a business leader in the gamification space because the field is significantly different from social media or e-commerce. The power of gamification lies in applying the design philosophy of gamification to industries, products, and websites that already exist, which is why gamification is, by definition, a process. A few articles from CIO.com and SmartCompany have gone into how gamification should be implemented as a business strategy rather than an independent business model.
This may be exactly why Gartner, a consulting firm, is banking on the gamification movement. Gamification as a process is better suited to companies that consult on business strategies rather than the companies that drive technological innovation.