A Good Day To Play Hard

Gamification is the use of elements of game design on non-game context. Hey, I know, definition suggestions have been multiplied so far, but let me get to my point. When game elements are the subject, the first concepts that probably come into minds are points, badges and leaderboards. Other than these, game-like screens, WoW concept menus; well; progress bars, so on. The second argument is mostly about that elements; which one is necessary, which one is not, which are more useful when combined. But we have probably missed one point and forgot to re-ask a question after gamification is reconsidered: What is a game element? My answer to this is simple: Smash the game into pieces and find out!

Smashing comes from Smash Your Brand! concept of Dear Martin Lindstrom that I cited below. I want you to tear the pieces of your greatest gaming moments down. Remember the games that you play addictively, were you playing them because you earn badges or points? Because there’s a board of points showing you and your in-game-opponents? Probably not. Icon adventures and Sim series are not the games that I remember keeping any score. Levels can be accounted as badges but if you are an arcade player that likes to play short-termed play-like games, you know that it’s not always about these.

Because you had fun? Mostly, but all the time? How about the times that you play because you feel urged to? Times when you have nothing to do better but try to pass the cursed level that you cannot pass in Candy Crush? Is that fair to name your furious times as ‘fun’? How many times have you tried repeatedly a level of Super Frog in which your Frog dies because you missed to press the jump button with miliseconds? Think about the games that you play the most. Have you been playing them because you had been having fun all the time or because you have had no other useful habits than playing Spider Solitaire?

I think we should seperate formal elements, fun and engagement. Yep, people behave toward feelings, but people have not always had the instinct to have fun. You want to play the game because you like to feel angry but then very relaxed once you pass the level that you try hard to succeed. You may want to play it to pump some adrenaline through your veins by: Horror games, first-person car races or shooters. Even those can be classified as fun factors, I believe fun becomes a secondhand concept if habitual plays or engaging factors like feeling responsibility for playing the game as a series of events.

So, I am not sure if this occurs to me a lot since I am an OB master (never the same, similar or anyhow related to Obi-Wan by the way) but I believe that searching any kind of significance in formal and visual elements for a game design only makes a good brain exercise, optimistically. What really matters is to discover what engages people to use a gamified design that reminds them of the glorious moments of playing their favorite games. If possible, have as much fun as using the tools to playing an addictive game. It might sound weird, but believe me it’s not. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. (That sounds kind of related to Obi-Wan, only indirectly.)

In fact, I started to write for saying stuff about stories, heroism and gamification, but I think that’ll make another seperate blog post. This was also not supposed to be a father-son gathering, just let me use the Skywalkers and McClaines to end the post properly.

 

Related Link(s)

http://www.martinlindstrom.com/smashing-your-brand/

The Game, The Play and the Volunteer

Humor Behavior Factor in Gamification. People volunteered to play? If not, why?

I was thinking to keep up with a more different topic until I realised that I’m missing to tell the obvious after I read the critique below:

http://jergames.blogspot.com/2014/06/save-or-enslave-world-takeaways-from.html

Let’s take gamification from a customer-player perspective: What game shall I play? Well, my company gives me badges for my sale successes, I see my name in leader boards among my colleagues. So? Let’s check out how the site looks like, let’s see screenshots that multiple people connect and view their progress, shall we? No! The first answer we have to take for this question: Do you want to play this game?

You all forgot one thing, a game is “Voluntarily overcoming obstacles when you don’t need to.” (Kevin Werbach Gamification Education on Coursera) You prepare the greatest game or best gamification application, it doesn’t work when no people volunteer to play it. Why can’t they volunteer? Simple, unless he/she has ever had a chance for fun-thinking about the job. This is like buying a website building service and expecting the programmer to create the content. Or more simply, putting a spoon of dried tea leaves into boiled water and expect to drink a tea by pouring down the boiled water to a glass immediately. Yes, you may advertise your game to people, people that haven’t tried your gamification platform may talk about it a lot and help the news spread around. Then what, we expected people to be more engaged and motivated. But when you started the project, the only unmeasured variable would probably be the change in motivation and engagement of people.

So, sad and unfortunate as it’s unseen, human factor and behavioral approach seems mostly exiled in the Gamification Industry. Surely, it does not seem right to write this several times rather than present some information to support this thought. Let’s make one factor clear: A gamificafion tool is successful only if it’s used frequently.  I’ve recently come across an application called “The Game of Your Life” in Android platform. It actually has all tools to make my life noted as though it was a game.  But I can’t manage to keep up with using the program. Why, well because thing notes has nothing to do with gamification and it’s nearly useless to take notes via an application when I can do the same with a notebook and a pencil.
On the other hand, a Turkish radio application, Jelli Radyo, allows the users to define the playlists of stations with a voting system just like MTV and other channels have used in concept programs. You open a radio channel, there’s a list waiting for you. You may like a song or dislike a song. While songs with more dislikes move downwards, songs with more likes move upwards. You also have “weaponry” to create stronger effects like immediately removing a song from the list or adding the song as the next song. I used weaponry to define it because you “rocket” a song to the top as you “blast” a song to the bottom. In this example, you may see an engaging effect relying on playing a simple game. If you keep up with the game, you get to listen more, you get to know more about songs with the genre of your choice and you listen to music.

In fact, I was preparing about this application such that it would be the example of good gamification. However, the number of followers did probably not support this case as much as necessary, so Jelli application came to an end. So, while I had to change the plan of how I’d write this blog, Jelli still provides a proof of what I’m trying to tell. It’s a proof that gamification is not a solution to any kind of problems. It may not always be the ideal approach to go on with. Thinking on the perspective of music, as an old digital music professional, I have some estimations about what went on. First, people listen to music by focusing on any other activity. We lived a period of time where music sites tried to give full control to listeners. While this was interesting at the beginning, it became obvious later that people prefer to listen to prepared lists. When this property is mixed with social media, people started following the ists of specific people. But one thing they certainly did was that most of them preferred pre-ordered lists to manually preparing a list. Even radio-station-like applications, which had very strict limitations compared to full interactive listings, overran the other applications due to that factor, in my oppinion. So, Jelli was a very good experience for listeners, but in the end not a really succesful one for most people. Well, the base site of Jelli, Karnaval.com, still goes on as a popular music portal with more radio stations than before.

So, it turns out that lack of voluntariness was not one of my personal weakness about persuasion of people to gamification, but it is a factor that shakes the concept of gamification and we are getting close to answering the question of “Is gamification really necessary?” I don’t personally believe that lack of motivation can be erased by a set of points, badges and leaderboards; so I believe that asking the question will carry us to a place where gamification will earn its true value.

A Touch of (Gamification in) Retail

 

Retailing is the sector of all ages, for sure. Aside from any published reference, I might say that Kapalıçarşı in İstanbul is a historic shopping mall. Also seeing bazaars in many films showing earlier city images include various profiles that include various kinds of retailing. As long as someone needs to have an item that he /she cannot produce, it has to be traded. If the trade area includes demonstrated items, well, the rest is the process of retailing. Change the background from historic times to post-apocalyptic, even space-travelling times, the result will be the same.

We have retailing forever. Now, we also know that retail is such a sector that uses every technical and social development. As it lives at all centuries, maybe a quality of the survivor, retailing has the ability to integrate. So why can’t retailing and gamificafion meet?

Take Foursquare for example. Probably the most famous of gamified examples, Foursquare is a perfect tool to gather information about shopping. With the tools that are used so much and are so famous that they alone feel like a different methodology, the site is seperated from its rivals. The tools mentioned are badges, leaderboards and points.

Aside from Foursquare, e-shops seem perfect platforms to develop gamification applications. So when gamification and retail are mentioned together, online shopping sites müdür follow. But are they following, actually?

In Turkiye, gamification followed another path. We have mobile applications that are used to earn points which are traded into discounts and/or bonus products. Yuppi is the initiator; I remember there are duplicants but it’s better not tell more till I can refer to something significant. Yuppi is a mobile application running in Android and los platforms. As long as it is loaded to your mobile phone, whenever you pass near a store, Yuppi balon appears on your screen to pop. If you do so, you earn points. Additional points can be earned but you have to find out how after you enter the store. Well, stalking around, getting to the cashier’s and similar in-store actions add points to your account. When you earn enough points to get some bonus, you go and get it. Free movie tickets and free ice-cream cannot be that bad, is it? To earn them, they say, you just have to do what you always do: shopping!

With smartphones, people google everything as soon as they want to. so it has become a natural habit for customers to compare or provide additional information about the product that they plan to buy. It is claimed that people that move to use smpartphones during shopping is 44%.  As the guys in Yuppie succesfully did, I claim that there are “gamifiable” paths to go in this area to provide customer engagement for brands. Speaking of engagement, how about employees?

In Turkiye, many store managers and brands find it inappropriate for employees to carry phones. Indeed, not many customers may prefer to deal with a retail salesperson coping with anything other but themselves only. With many things, smartphones also make it easier to send messages, play irrelevant games and call buddies and giving promises and even making written pacts cannot reduce the misuse of phones to that minimum. So, why can’t we search for efficiency? Barcode scanner programs make it easy to locate products and report their barcode information via e-mail. Also web search can be made and product information could be seen in the web search. Also it must be admitted that especially in larger stores people can be reached easily by their mobile phones. The game in that? I know none, but there’s potential for sure, but if we don’t have smartphones then what?

In my opinion, this refers to a problem which slows the development of gamification areas. Just like the points, badges and leaderboards (PBL) framework that I mentioned earlier, there is another gamification paradigm and it is about making gamification in programming only. Surely, when gamification is spoken, the elements are compared to video games which can only exist into machines and computer systems and their derivatives: consoles, smartphones, etc. But gaming should not only be about playing video games. There are traditional simple games that have elements like video games. Surely, not that complex but these might also be used to gamify a process; therefore creating engagement and motivation.

Simple example, I am sure I cannot be the only person who throws a tissue into a dustbin as if I throw a basketball into a basket. In a market, as an employee, I play a game in which I try to detect inappropriate price tags and change them. With this explanation, it is a routine, not a game of course. Then I added a rule that I have to do these without any other employee noticing it. If I was noticed, then the game is over. A form of hide and seek into a market! Also a Metal Gear Solid variety with the concept of department store.

I collected the inappropriates and change them with a correct one. I put them in my pocket until another colleague noticed me and asked what I was doing. Game Over! Then I put the collected items out, counted them and calculated my points.

Of course, it should not be a “play” and we have to design it as a game. For instance, employees might be seperated into teams (in some stores, there are departments and this might also be used) and if a team catches others’ inappropriate price tag, that team earns points. While this may also turn out to be applying the PBL framework in the real world, I am suspicious that gamification of the daily routines that do not include any technological tool is a way that must be taken. And for retailing, aside from enriching the customer experience, gamification should be used to increase efficiency and break the ices of routines in the world of retail employees.

References:

http://yuppimobile.com/

İleri Görüş, May/June/July 2014, Harward Business Review Türkiye.

Gamification Course of Prof. Kevin Werbach on Coursera.com.

… And Justice for Gamification

Long before I started preparing my dissertation, my consultant predicted that justice would be a very popular topic and should be researched over the years. And when the time came it was decided that one side of my dissertation will be about organizational justice. I was very happy about that I made a research including organizational justice (perception of justice) and its correlation with commitment. On the other hand, preparing a study on a topic that has been researched several times but not been  classified as I did was another “excitement”. Also justice fed me a lot, and I am happy to say that the results I found and the research I made will be very helpful for the next chapter in my mastery: gamification.

But first of all let me tell you in brief what justice is, then let me explain what uniqueness I suggested for the field of justice perception and finally why I think it is bound to gamification.

Justice is by all means can be defined as the situation which people get what they deserve. Organizational Justice only differs for its structure. While justice for a single person is the situation that person perceives; organizational justice is the average level of justice perception of all people forming that organization. Different than many people can estimate, there are different types of perceived justice.

The first one is Distributional Justice. This kind is probably what many people understand from the word justice, a traditional approach. Distributional Justice refers to the comparison you make for you and another person that you think is your equivalent depending on the conditions you seek justice for. I’d better clarify this; think about your workplace. And think about another colleague of yours that you may compare yourself to. If you think that you get the proper amount of salary compared to that colleague, you may perceive Distributional Justice high. But if that colleague gets the same salary with you but has poor qualifications comparing to yours, then you will probably have a negative perception about Distributional Justice.

The second is Processual Justice. This is unique for the field of justice, because when you google this term you may find nothing relevant. Processual Justice is about the application of justice on procedures but you should consider it in two-ways: Are procedures just? Are they applied just? If procedures are just, then we may say there’s Procedural Justice. If the rulers are just, then there’s Systemic Justice. In literature, these two are not seperated and called as Procedural Justice. However, what I found meaningful in my research is that these two factors are indeed should be considered seperately.

The third one is Interactional Justice. This final one is mostly considered as a two-pieced term: Interpersonal Justice and Informational Justice. Interpersonal Justice is the kind of justice that, people may perceive a situation just, for they are behaved nicely, gently and thoughtfully; even if the situation is unjust.  Informational Justice is giving information and feedback to people about a situation in detail. This way again, even though the situation is unjust; people are tend to perceive justice only for they are informed.

Now, what is this supposed to do with gamification? Games give instant feedback; you take a step and boom! You get the answer. So you are tend to perceive more justice in the game. Next, nearly not at any game you may experience a scene of shame or disrespect. Well, I know no game made for self-torture; at least no gamification expert might have a solid reason to do this. So, put informational and interpersonal justice to your pockets.

Next, in games you have distributive justice. No game including a challenge shall serve a situation in which two players starting in the same conditions and be in different levels, right? Choose to be a wizard, your opponent  might be a warrior; but a game should not go in a direction where one of these has significant greatnesses compared to the other player. At the first level of Angry Birds, the number and kind of birds do not change for different players.

Finally, Processual Justice. Well, as the game designer, the procedures should be just and they should be applied just, if not? Then the player has the luxury to quit the game and it is all over.

This attempt of proving had better be made scientifically. On the other hand, I suggest that gamification can be used to help people perceive the organizational enviroment more just. You may create engagement and give people a new cause, something they can depend on when they cannot find many things. They may challenge with situations and/or people in conditions which are definitely just.

I have to say that, my intention is not using gamification to cover injustice, but I believe this may help to cure negative perceptions for some people in some situations. When this perception becomes highly visible at organizational level, you may need an advanced help other than engaging people with games. And don’t forget, games are voluntarily overcoming obstacles when you need not to.

References:

The Effect of Justice Perceptions and Institutional Justice on Organizational Commitment – Dissertation Thesis for Organizational Behaviour Branch of Social Sciences Institute, Istanbul University of Türkiye – 2008.

Gamification Course of Prof. Kevin Werbach on Coursera.com.

Oyunlaştırma – Ne Olduğunu Anlamak

resim8975ekmek

Oyunlaştırma kavramı insanı ilk karşılaştığında saran bir kavram. İlk tahlilde oyunlaştırma sayesinde bir taraftan iş yaparken, diğer tarafta da oyun oynamış hissi almak akla geliyor. Şahsen, küçük yaşIarımdan itibaren bil gisayar programcısı olmak istememin altında da hep bu ideal yatıyordu. Peki, bu niye çocukluğumda tasavvur ettiğim gibi olmadı?

Çünkü programlama işi kendine has bir meslek ve mesleğin iç dinamiklerine uyum sağlamanın yoIu da, belli bir disipline sahip olmaktan geçiyor. Aynı yerde sabit Olarak uzun süre kalıp, saatlerce monitör başında oturmanın asosyallik olduğunu düşünüyorsanız, Üzgünüm, bu işe pek de uygun değilsiniz. Peki bu oyun oynamaya engel mi, elbette ki değil.

Çünkü oyun dediğiniz mutlaka bilgisayarda konumlanması gereken bir şey değil. Örneğin, bir ekmek fırınında ekmek pişiren ustayı düşünün, ekmek hamurları şekillendirilip küreklere konur, fırın başındaki usta da elindeki bir çubukla ekmeklerin üzerinde yarık açar, anlar ve fırına verir. Sonra pişme durumuna bakar, kürek, fırına verdiği tüm ekmeklerin altına girince küreği geri çeker. Ekmekler kürek ünerin de geri geri kayarken onları yakalayıp sepete atar. Rutinde sürekli tekrar eden bu hareket de bir çeşit oyundur ve mekaniktir. Pekala, rutin yürüyen buna benzer işleri de birer oyun gibi kurgulayabiliriz. Hele bir de firmanın sepete attığı her ekmek için puan alıp, puanları da önünde gördüğünü düşünün. Bu tasarım, hareket sensörlü konsol oyunlarından ne kadar farklı?

Dolayısıyla oyun tasarlamak için yazılımcı olmak bir gereklilik değil; barizdir ki oyun tasarımcılığı ve yazılımcılık birbirinden ayrı iki iş. Aradaki fark, çoğu kimsenin oyun tasarımcılığı adına değil, yazılımcı-programa etiketine başvuracak olmasıdır. “Haydi Oyun Oynayalım” isimli yazımda belirttiğim bazı hususlar vardı. Özetle, oyun oynamak için öncelikle gerekenin, oyun oynamaya gönüllü çalışanlar olduğum belirtmiştim. Burada da durum pek farklı değil, oyunun planlı, programlı ve karmaşık bir süreç olduğu, bunun da tasarlanmasının; özellikle geri bildirimlerini belirli bir sonuç elde etmek için veren oyun projelerinin oluşturulmasının ciddi bir iş olduğunu anlamayan kişilerle bu çalışmaIarı yapmak kolay değil. Günümüzde bilgisayar ve konsol oyunları yapımı yüksek bütçeli sinema filmlerine neden eşdeğer hale geldi? Çünkü insanlara alternatif bir yaşam sunuyorsanız, o dünyayı ne kadar fazla yönüyle algılarlarsa o kadar dahil olabilirler. Ama oyun kurgusu zayıf olup da, görsel olarak çok kuvvetli olan nice projelerin hüsranla sonuçlandığını da biliyoruz.

Oyunlaştırmaya bu gözden bakmak doğru olacaktır, zaten dünyadaki eğilime bakıldığında da bir siteye puan ve rozet özellikleri eklenerek “Oyunlaştırma yaptık.” deme eğiliminin arttığını görüyoruz. Ancak bu işin ileri gelenlerinin görüşü Oyunlaştırma’nın yanlış tanındığı yönünde, buradan benim çıkarımım da bu kişilerin asıl endişelerinin var olan ve oluşum aşamasındaki bir konunun bu gibi örneklerle yanlış tanımlanacağı ve dolayısıyla yanlış konumlandırılacağı üzerinedir.

Yararlanılan Kaynaklar:

Nihat Genç televizyon konuşması – Hacivat ve Karagözler.

Kevin Werbach – Gamification Eğitimi – Coursera.com

Oyunlaştırma 2

Oyunlaştırma kavramıyla ilk karşılaşanlar için tanımını yapmak faydalı olacaktır. ancak burada pek çok farklı yaklaşımla karşılaşmak mümkün. Yine de en genel tanım, oyunlaştırmanın oyun düzeneklerini oyun olmayan veya oyunla ilgisi olmayan bir alanda kullanmak şeklindedir. Burada amaçlanan, kişilerin yapacakları işe bir bağlılık hissetmesi, işle ilgili bir konuda insanların dağılabilir dikkatlerini toplamaktır. Ve en basit yaklaşım da, örneğin Bonus Puan kazanmak benzeri bir işi insanları nişanlar, seviyeler, unvanlar vb. ödüller vererek bir RPG oyunu oynuyormuş gibi kampanya takip etmeye teşvik etmek şeklinde olmaktadır. Buradaki kritik konulardan birisi de, oyunların oyuncuları belirli motor davranışları tekrar etmesine ve birtakım tutum ve davranışlar çerçevesinde hareket etmesini sağlamaktır. Bu noktada kafamda şekilleniyor gibi gözüken davranışları etkileme şekline göre oyunlaştırmanın tanımını ise Mario Herger bir video sunumunda yapmış. Buna göre oyunlaştırma, kullanıcılarını istenen davranışları sürekli yapmak için oyun olmayan uygulamalarla beraber desteklemeye çalışmaktır. dolayısıyla görünen, bazı oyun dışı süreçlerin oyun gibi tasarlanması ve uygulanması noktasında bir ihtiyaç görülmüş. Bu şekilde yapılan uygulamalar pratikte başarılı da olmuştur. Ancak bu uygulamalar sadece var olan oyun dışı süreci oyun öğeleri ile süslemekten ilerisine gitmemiş gibi gözüküyor. Bunun için örnek uygulamaların iyi incelenmesi gerekiyor. Elbette teoride gerçekleşebilir projelerin önündeki somut engeller iyi analiz edilmezse ortaya konulanın geçerliliği tartışmalı halde kalacaktır.

Oyunlaştırmayı Kevin Werbach `Oyunlardan öğrenmek` olarak tanımlamıştır. Herhangi birşey öğrenilebilir.

Oyunlaştırma, oyun olmayan sosyal modellerin geliştirilmesinde oyun geliştirme tekniklerinin kullanılması olarak tanımlanıyor. Kişilerin oyunla ilgisi olmayan bir sürece duygusal bağlılıklarını, gönüllü katılımlarını sağlayabilmek için sürecin ve/veya alt bileşenlerinin oyun geliştirme tekniklerinin kullanılarak yeniden yapılandırılmasına Oyunlaştırma denir.

Kaynaklar:

http://www.udemy.com/enterprise-gamification

http://www.enterprise-gamification.com

Oyunlaştırma

Kendimi icat yapmış biri gibi hissediyorum ama aslında bulduğum kavramı başka bir yerde değil, bizzat kendimde keşfettim. Bu kavramın adı da oyunlaştırma, İngilizce’de gamification olarak geçiyor. Oyunlaştırma, oyun olmayan bir içeriğe oyun kurgulama tekniğiyle yaklaşma veya oyun öğeleri serpiştirmek demek. 1 Oyunlaştırma dünyada bir süredir var olan bir kavram, Türkiye’de de 2012 Mart ayı içerisinde Oyunlaştırma Konferansı yapılmış ancak konferansı düzenleyen Pixelplus’ın özel konukları arasında bu kalmış durumda. 2 Ancak benimle ilgili olan tarafı, hayatımda genel olarak oyunlaştırmayı zaten kendi kendime yaparken bunu bir iş olarak düşünmemiş olmam. Aslında klasik kavramlarla hep düşünerek, ya bir oyun tasarımcısı, ya bir oyun programcısı, ya oyuna benzer bir danışmanlık şekli hatta bir mülakat tekniği geliştirebilir miyim diye düşünmüştüm. Ama burada hep, var olan bir gerçekliğin farklı ifadeleri söz konusuydu. Ancak oyunu, belirli davranışları tekrar ettiğiniz bir alan, belirli davranışlara insanları yönlendiren bir araç olarak ele aldığınızda durum değişiyor. Dolayısıyla var olanı tanımlamak yerine, yaşanmış bir tecrübeyi yorumlamak yerine neden yepyeni bir tecrübe yaşatmayı düşünmemişim ki?

Haftalık yazılarımı kahramanlık, öykü anlatma gibi konuların üzerine inşa etmeyi düşünüyordum ve bunların hala değerli başlıklar olduğuna inanıyorum. Sadece şu var, kahramanlık ve öykü anlatma üzerine kurgulanabilecek bazı teknikler üzerinde düşünmüştüm ve bunlardan bir kişisel gelişim veya örgüt geliştirme aracı çıkar mı acaba diye düşünüyordum. Sonuçta öyküler ve kahramanlar kanımca belirli değerleri ve ana fikirleri temel alan kavramlar. Dolayısıyla var olanı bu çerçevede yorumladığınız zaman hayatta yaşananlardan destanlar, erdemli insanlardan kahramanlar yaratabilirsiniz.

Ancak, değerler ve erdemler ancak gerçekleşen olayların toplamında oluşan kavramlardır ve anti-kahramanların ağırlıkta olduğu günümüzde değer ve erdemler yerini çıkarlar ve hayatta kalmaya bırakmıştır. Ama durun! Belki yaptıklarınızı toplayıp biraz allayıp pullayarak sizi portföyümüzdeki bir kahramana dönüştürebiliriz: Örümcek Adam? Dr. Manhattan? V? Boğaç Han? Fatih Sultan Mehmet?

İşte bu iyi bir fikir gibi gözüküyordu, ama şu an çok da iç açıcı durmuyor. Şu anda düşünüyorum ve hep oynaya geldiğim oyunu oynuyorum: Yatmayı düşündüğüm vakitle şimdi arasına ne sıkıştırabilirim?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification

2 Kapak Konusu, Oyunlaştırma, Digital Age, Kasım12/04-54, S.72.