Gamification has spread into varied fields and no matter which way we approach this, people often respond to similar catalysts and display comparable behaviour patterns which analysts work to identify and develop. By borrowing one of the central features of gamification, websites from universities and yacht clubs to social media and online casinos can introduce an appealing community atmosphere that provokes user engagement, by applying some kind of points or rewards system which is designed to increase a user’s reputation. This can happen either by providing useful advice to other members, by completing previously defined tasks designed by an administrator or moderator, or by being based on what is known as behavioural momentum. This term describes an observed tendency to fluidity in a person, as they are inclined to keep performing in an anticipated way, for which rewards can be tailored in advance.
This is particularly true when it comes to gambling, as each niche has its specific rules and techniques to master. In order to develop our skills to compete in our preferred game more effectively, we might do so by learning in a mock online scenario which borrows heavily from gamification in its method of regular encouragement and gradual teaching, or through seeking out hints and tips directly from other gamers for example by watching let’s plays or educational videos. To do so requires engaging with a medium, either by intaking the information by manually searching or by provoking a subsequent conversation between the members of a relative community. It is the core of every gamification attempt to create an active and loyal community of users who can be relied on to provide advice to new members. The next step is to develop a community by ensuring that recent additions are enticed to remain, with a view to themselves contributing more and nurturing new additions. Extra members and increased activity leads to increasing a user’s presence over time, a process described as acquire, retain and convert.
The future of online gambling
An increase in members, the rate of community collaboration and the number of available resources to both new and old users a gambling platform offers brings value and relevancy to that site, and adopting gamification components to reward and incentivise a membership is an essential tool in doing so. A range of loyalty points that can be exchanged for free spins, cash rewards and bonuses, access to otherwise restricted promotional offers once a specific level of loyalty has been attained and other preferential treatment initiatives are among the more favoured examples used by the customer relation management by operators. A sense of interactivity—or the definition of engagement, on the part of members is essential not just in encouraging their participation in a gambling community, but also in how traditional games such as slots are able to integrate this trend more deeply into their latest versions, so that they will appeal to a new generation of gamers for whom gamification is the norm.
There is an inevitability that online gambling must mimic eGaming as much as possible if it is to stay current, and it is equally inevitable that it must assimilate gamification into its own games to do so. According to CNBC, boutique market research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, which focuses exclusively on the global gaming industry, has forecast that eSports fans will be betting $23.5 billion on its games and tournaments by 2020, with operators generating $1.8 billion in revenues. These same operators must be mindful of findings included in Badgeville’s report however, as it cites research from the National Institute of Mental Health, which demonstrates that people care more about social status, prestige and reputation than money or prizes. Clearly then the emotional rewards inherent in gamification are not to be downplayed, as these are strong factors in adding to a user’s sense of self and their subsequent belonging within a given community. So while eGaming has learned and borrowed from the online gambling industry, the latter must show its own flexibility by incorporating both the financial and emotional benefits of gamification into its own products and services.
Doing so will show that operators treat users as fully developed people with disparate needs and concerns to be catered to, rather than singular commodities with a sole motivation. Users of casino sites and forums generally are, much like the workforces of our clients, are keen to advance their personal attributes and social development, whether by improving their gambling performance or increasing their standing in an online community. Gamification has been key in this respect, as it coaxes from its user base incremental behavioural and technical changes aimed at ultimately achieving a defined goal, while rewarding steady and measurable progression accordingly.