Today, I’ve completed 2 months of writing this blog at least once everyday. A few days ago, I spoke to my friend in a vlog about game mechanics. We spoke of one of the game mechanics that I introduced in my life called streaks. Today, I wanted to talk a lot more about game mechanics.
Games Are Awesome
Games are very very interesting in psychological terms. They are interesting because they don’t (directly) solve any problems like email or Uber does. Despite not solving any problems, game developers retain the users. And they can only do that because they hack human psychology. Because games work in this particular manner, it means game developers must have learnt a great deal from psychology and sociology research.
I Never Played Games
I haven’t really played a lot of games. Then how did I end up studying games? I did that because I read on “gamification” which is the science of taking game mechanics from the games and implementing them in your websites, apps, businesses and even your life. And so instead of reading psychology, I simply studied games as I found it to be an easier hands-on case-study of implementing human psychology for user retention and other reasons.
Why Game Mechanics
As already spoken in a post I made earlier, user retention is often much cheaper than user acquisition. So the startups are always trying to learn new ways to retain existing customers. And there’s no better way to do it than gamification of your startup.
What Can You Do With Game Mechanics
There are many many types of game mechanics. We’ve already spoken of streaks and I’ve first hand seen benefit of implementing it in my life, time and again.
Other types of game mechanics could be points, achievements/badges, leaderboard, etc. Have you noticed Careem gives you both points and a gold status badge, if you use it repeatedly. It’s done to retain you as a user.
Another type of game mechanics is to make user feel like he’s the chosen one. The chosen one feels he was born to carry out the task given to him by the business or the app. When you receive marketing material stating that you’re chosen for something, they are basically just trying to hack your brain.
Users are also driven by sense of accomplishment and progress. A lot of apps try to integrate progress into the app usage to make users feel like they are in process of solving great challenges. This makes users feel accomplished.
Another kind of gamification is creating impatience. It sounds insane when I think about it, but revoking access to a certain feature for certain amount of time and only enabling it after a certain time has passed has a positive affect on user retention. The user craves the feature despite not even wanting it otherwise. This is creating unessential impatience.
And my favorite, scarcity. Almost everyone in e-commerce uses this. Because the stock is obviously always running out and there are only 4 pieces left that would probably go away in 8 minutes and 7 seconds. The fear of missing out is triggered and you make an impulse buy.
There are many many more types of game mechanics and I’d actually like to learn some more from you in the comments below.