Why does Gamification Work: A Look into Successful Examples

This is the second in a five post series into all things Gamification. Last week, we posted ‘More Than Just Badges: We Play’s Definition of Gamification.’

The term “gamification” would not exist if it weren’t for the rise in popularity from its successful examples. We believe that the hype surrounding gamification is deserved and appropriate for the future of social media, technology, and behavioral engagement.

According to Forbes, the global gaming industry is set to be worth $82bn by 2017, a considerable increase from today’s $67bn valuation. The deep engagement and connection we have with games goes beyond current scientific knowledge, but we can clearly recognize that games are powerful.

Our Love of Gaming

Why do we love games so much? Because they are fun! So much fun, that gamification has a market of its own. Currently valued around $242m, this white paper published by the Gaming Business Review anticipates the gamification market to be worth around $3bn by 2017. Who is currently dominating the gamification market? Also, how does We Play plan to establish itself in the market space?

Platforms and Solutions—The Big 3

Bunchball, Badgeville, and BigDoor are the key players in today’s gamification market. They provide platforms, software solutions, and consulting services to help clients integrate gamification to their business plan. These three companies work with various industries such as publishing, entertainment, retail, finance, fitness, and many others. However, they are all unique in their approach towards gamification:

  • Bunchball—known to be the most professional of the three. They work with top clients such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft, Adobe, and IBM. They believe that gamification is about designing applications that give people personalized challenges, the opportunity to compete and collaborate alone or in teams, and meaningful rewards. Their platform successfully uses social media tools, points, badges, and leaderboards to help drive fan engagement.

  • Badgeville—known to be Bunchball’s main competitor. Badgeville’s Social Reward Analytics Platform is the key to their explosive growth. The platform allows companies to reward their fans in the front end but also allows them to “look at the numbers” in the back end. Based around the idea of “if you can record it, you can reward it”, Badgeville is committed to driving traffic to sites by rewarding different ways users can interact with a company. Their partners include Oracle, Klout, Microsoft, and IBM.

  • BigDoor—known to be the young “for the people” firm. BigDoor’s platform works as an open source library, so clients can customize the gamification platform to their needs. Although this requires clients to have a development team to handle these tasks, BigDoor has created two pre-packaged implementations that can be installed and used within 5 minutes. They believe that since gamification is a fairly new concept, companies should be comfortable with exploring gamification before committing to it. Because of this, their pricing model is the cheapest out of the three. BigDoor clients include Dell, Nickelodeon, and MLB.com.

At We Play, call us your “specialty” firm. We focus on one industry—entertainment.

At We Play, call us your “specialty” firm. We focus on one industry—entertainment. With the growth of entertainment, technology, and social media, we want to help facilitate the new ways in which fans interact with their favorite artists, athletes, actors, sports teams and video games. We also want to help entertainment agencies identify their target audience’s wants and desires.

Currently, we are working on an entertainment industry-specific platform geared to help build, engage, and retain loyal fan bases. As you wait for the release of our product, take a look at these 5 successful examples of gamification.

Case Studies: The Best of the Best

Xbox Live—This was one of the earliest versions of gamification. Using gamer scores, avatars, and achievements, Xbox Live was able to add a new dimension to console gaming.
Not only were players motivated to beat a game, but also they were now motivated to win additional achievements. Few may argue that intangible rewards such as achievements and a gamerscore won’t motivate people enough, but console gaming’s target audience is gamers. Gamers love being given challenges and recognized for their skill. Microsoft saw this, and completely changed the console experience for everyone. (via iMedia Connection)

Playboy Miss Social—Partnering with Bunchball, Playboy wanted to attract more young subscribers by using gamification. The solution was a promotion for “Miss Social”, a competition in which fans submitted their photos for a chance to be “Miss Social”. Adding game layers to the competition increased Playboy’s revenue rate by 60% and raised their number of active users to 80000 (nearly double compared to before promotion).(via The Next Web)

Nike +—Nike has been able to add a new element to running. With Nike +, users can track, share, challenge and interact with friends and running buddies from around the world. By simply tracking stats and displaying them through a gamified UI, Nike is able to make running fun again. (via The Next Web)

Decoded Jay-Z—Probably the most ultimate gamified marketing experience so far. In the anticipation of Jay-Z’s new autobiography, the rapper, partnered with Bing to create a scavenger hunt style campaign.

The campaign was to place every single page from his book in the locations specific to the context of the story being told on that page. These pages could be collected in order to win different prizes. Using Bing’s dedicated application and map technology, users were able to also hunt for clues online, giving fans the sense that they are included in an epic hunt for content. The grand prize of the campaign was two tickets to any Jay-Z concert. Anytime. Anywhere. (via Gamification.co)


This seems like a match made in heaven. Games. Technology. Behavioral Engagement. Gamification has shown itself to be successful in many high profile cases. Even the rising growth of its market is a strong indicator to the fact that many in the biz/tech sectors are jumping on board the gamification train. Are you ready to gamify now?

Join us next week when we discuss ‘Tailoring Gamification to Fit Your Needs.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

2 × 5 =