Meaningful Play: Getting Gamification Right

Uploaded by GoogleTechTalks on 18.02.2011

>> COACH: I'm Brent Coach. I work over in Google Ventures. And a couple of months ago,
I started working with a lot of the startups that we worked with and are all interested
in game design. And so I thought, "Oh, crap. I need to learn about this." And I went on
the web and I looked at all the stuff that was out there in game design and there was
just tons of noise. Eventually, I ran across some slide decks at Sebastian Deterding had
posted and they were just amazing. I was impressed with both of the depth of the stuff that he
worked--looked at, all the different techniques for gamification and the depth. He really
understood why these techniques were working and when to apply them at different contexts.
So, I'm very pleased to have him here at Google today. He is in town just for a little bit.
He currently is a UX designer and a researcher which is a nice combination to have. He's
working on his Ph.D and studies Persuasive Design and bringing game design principles
into different context. So, please join me in welcoming Sebastian Deterding.
>> DETERDING: So, hi everyone and thanks for having me. And just as Brandon said, I've
tried to spread myself a little through the world. Usually, if people need somebody who
played the contrarian then they ask for a grumpy German scholar which I am just sort
of played the opposite to the enthuse venture capitalist [INDISTINCT]. So, that is usually
my role. And one of these advance, actually, last year in London in the Playful, a friend
of mine said, "Well, all of your critiques and your ideas, they're all nice and fine.
But is there actually anything that you do like? And do you think actually it can be
done well?" And for me, that sort of what's the starting point what I'd like to talk about
today. What exactly I believe or how exactly I think gamification? Applying game design
and non-game context can be done right, so to speak. I'd like to do that basically in
three level steps. First of, for those of you who are not familiar with the topic, I
would just like to jump through a quick introduction. What is gamification, what do we mean by that
term? And then basically, for the majority of the talk, talk about three essential things
that I think in the current discourse and in the current applications that I see or
most definitely missing and how to address those missing ingredients, so to speak. And
in the remainder of the talk, I then would like to, say, we'll find what does that mean
for user experience designers for product managers in practice; how to translate that
into your own job practice. So, let's start right of with gamification. And I'd like to
start really with three little stories because in my mind or in my opinion, all of us are
basically game designers or gamification designers, at least, in our childhood. Now, this is not
me but this is basically how mile walk--how my walk home from school usually look like.
It was a very boring dready work. So what I did to make that walk less tedious, I sort
of looked at the cracks in the pavement. I imagined, "Well, let's say I'm not just, you
know, a boy walking home to school, but let's imagine I'm a research scientist and I have
my cover suit on and this here is really a volcano. And out of these little cracks in
the pavement there is hot lava coming." And I basically made a game out of it by deciding,
"Okay. I imagined there is lava and I do not--I should not step on the little cracks in the
pavement," which turned that very boring walk home less boring and more exciting for me.
Second story which some of you might also have a memory of them. They are childhood.
My parents had a pretty big lawn in the backyard of our house and it fell to me to mow the
lawn. And usually, because it was so big, it was a very daunting task. So to make that
daunting task less daunting to me, what I did basically was that I would slice up in
my mind that lawn into smaller chunks and I would say, "Okay. This is the whole lawn
but I'm going to do the third first and that one, I'm going to do in long rows. And then,
I do the second third and then I'm going to do in short rows and so on. Slicing the whole
thing up into smaller achievable goals so that the whole experience got less daunting
to me. And the third example I'd like to give is just the playground, the sandbox that we
had back in our house where our parents would usually let us play or let me and my friends
play. And what they were thinking, it was that basically what we would do there play
in the sand, play little sand castles. But the great thing about the experience for us
is that we were left alone to our own mischief. So what we usually end up doing was doing
all kinds of weird stuff with Lego or playing with weird things. The real enjoyment there
for us was exactly the fact that our parents were not observing us. It was a free space
to play around, to toy around with stuff. And I think, as I said, in these three little
stories, there are already a lot of principles that game and game design put to good use
to make an experience more engaging and more fun. Like having a make-believe story wrapped
around in experience or adding rules and challenges to make it more interesting; setting goals
and having feedback, like looking in the lawn and saying, "Oh yeah. I already made three
lines," or having a free space play--free place to toy around with other people. So,
let's move on today's software word. As you may have or may have not heard that is sort
of the word, although many people don't like the word, that is sort of the word that people
have agreed on, "gamification", describing can we not use elements out of games, elements
out of videogames, use them in non-entertainment software to make them more motivating, more
engaging to the users. Just a quick couple of examples, in fitness of course, there is
Nike Plus, which you'd basically see at every second UX conference now thrown around. And
it's also an example thrown around for how to--at points and challenges and competition
to the experience of just jogging, it becomes more encouraging and engaging. One of my personal
favorite, Health Month by Buster Benson which is basically a game where you set for one
month rules for your own health behavior. Like drink no alcohol or something like that,
and you earn points and badges based on whether you make it or you don't make it.
always an example that people often give, where you set yourself financial goals, like
get out of debt or save up for a holiday and then it gives you feedback on how good you
make on those goals. Sustainability. Nissan My Leaf just came out with the Nissan My Leaf
challenge where you basically try to beat others in taking a certain a road more efficiently
than your competitors, so to speak. Entertainment. This is one of the example that was just up
in the gamification summit in San Francisco this Thursday. A Club Psych, basically a website
around a TV show where with challenges, with mini games, with point earns for doing stuff
on the website, people would try to bring in more and to engage more with the brand.
Shopping. There's stuff like Barcode Hero where you earn points for checking into shops
or writing reviews for products. And finally, more close to home, even stuff like debugging.
That is--try to be--turned into a game like play nicely where you earn badges and points
for depending on how many and how well you submit box. And to round it all off, in the
past year, quite a couple of service vendors have popped that sort of try to offer a service
platform or a kind of turn key--turn key solution to add game design or to add game design elements
through your website. Now, if you zoom out of it and if you look at all of these from
a little bit more afar, you'll notice that the blueprint that all of them are still thinking
about or that really still sets the scope of what is meant with gamification, was the
initial four square. Basically, you have an activity that you want your users to do more
often. Thus, you give points for the users if the user does that activity. Then, you
have some sort of goals or badges or trophies that the user wins for a certain amount of
points or for a certain kind of activity and then you have some sort of leader boards to
add an element of competition in all of that. And the whole discourse is pretty much split
between the one side, like Scavenger, start up here where they basically think, "Well,
gamification is the future of user experience design in general and it's basically pure
mind control. We can do users--we can make users do anything with this kind of stuff."
And mostly game designers, on the other hand, where you see a big back collision, they say,
"Well, this is really," as Margaret Robertson from the UK says, "an inadvertent con." This
is trying to sell you that there is an easy way and slop on way to make something as motivating,
as engaging, as a well-designed game of just some medley bits there. So, the question that
I'd like to take you through the day today, "Is there something as a secret ingredient
that current gamification designers missed out or is that some sort of snake oil 2.0
talking?" And as I said in the beginning, I think there are three missing ingredients
right now that we have to take care of really. The first one, going back to my first story:
meaning. How to make the experience, the activity; connect to the user in a meaningful fashion?
To his interest, to his passions, to his goals. The second thing, and that connects to me
to the story about the lawn mower is mastery. How to craft an experience in such a way that
the user gets the sense of progressing towards his or her goals? Of achieving something or
feeling competent. And finally, that is the playground autonomy. A sense of freedom: a
sense of being left alone to your own mischief, a sense of being able to curiously explore
opportunities without necessarily any kind of functional outcome attached to what you're
doing there. So let me start of with the first one, with meaning. This blocked post by Arsenio
Santos voices a pretty a common observation among many, many Foursquare users right now
where he says why he quit playing Foursquare. And basically, what he is saying, "Over time,
I begin to notice that the achievements wound up being almost the only benefit for using
the service," and that is why he quit playing Foursquare. Translated, because Foursquare,
underneath the game mechanics, didn't provide anything of value or interest to him. It is
a very shallow effect of novelty. You play around with it, you discover some stuff and
then suddenly you notice there is--there is nothing really there for me. [INDISTINCT],
they go overflow, right? Which is again, it posts a child for having reputation, having
points, having badges for the user. But even if you would take all of that away from that
question-and-answer platform, it would still be immensely valuable, meaningful, helpful
to the user using this platform on a day-to-day basis. To translate that into a sort of more
practical recommendations or gambits as I call them, and I'd like to start of with one
observation that Aaron Patzer, the founder of recently where he said, "Well,
all of the game mechanics that what we're using on this side, all the points that we're
using, all the progress parse and so on, they were basically meaningless to the user unless
they were connected to a personal goal that the user him or herself brought to the platform."
So, that as a sort of first recommendation try to hark into or try to offer the user
the opportunity to bring their personal goals to the platform. In the case of,
that is very obvious, right? You get the opportunity to say, "Well, this is my financial goal to
be able to get out of debt or to buy a home or whatever." Speaking more generally, the
recommendation there is to ensure that you have customizable goals; goals that the user
himself can input into the system and say the system now help me with all those mechanics
achieving my own goals. Now it need not necessarily be personal goals to--that you bring to the
platform. To make the goals to or to make the system itself meaningful to the user,
it is enough that it connects at some way, in some way, to an interest or a passion or
a curiosity of the user that he already has in his everyday life. That can be pro-social
goals. Like for instance, an interest in science or general care of science and you are not
a scientist yourself. But then, when you come to one of the many, many crowdsource platforms
that offer you to play a mini game and the data that comes out of that mini game is then,
as unfolded or he and philo where it is about matching DNA sequences. The data that you
produced there is then used in actual--in actual scientific number crunching and that
connects to your interests and your passion as a user if you have it for science and therefore,
becomes a meaningful activity to you. The second large way of ensuring that the system
is meaningful to the user is to ensure that you are connecting to a meaningful community
of interest. I'm putting a Bragging Rights here because many of the gamification [INDISTINCT]
say that the core motivator that they use or that they believe they are tapping into
is status and reputation. Showing off, bragging in front of your friends. Now, to show off
and to brag in front of your friends, you better do that with something that is actually
an achievement and that is actually something that your friends would care about. So to
give you a negative example, the entertainment recommendation side allows you
to sort of check in and like different items of pop entertainment and then earn badges
for that. Now, since I'm not that much into pop entertainment, to earn--I don't know.
I'm a movie buff because I like 50 movies batch isn't that really relevant or interesting
or meaningful to me. Nor is it something that I would go around to my friends and saying,
"Hey, I earned that badge", you know. That's something that slips out as an [INDISTINCT]
and I say, "Oh, she should haven't--I'm rather ashamed of that." Whereas if you contrast
that with a more focused community like, which is basically a huge [INDISTINCT] community
site for board games. Now, as many of my friends are board game geeks and as I myself like
board games very much, if I earn one of those micro badges on the site, like I am a hornet
leader to [INDISTINCT] or I am the moderator of, say, the Axis and Allies page, that is
something meaningful to me. That is something meaningful to the community around there.
And if they give me a kudos or a thumbs up or so, that is actually something that I care
about that delivers reputation I'm interested in. The--again, a more practical way that achieves that, they just like the customizable goal, they offer community-generated
goals and community generated badges that the community itself can create with the art,
with the kinds of activities you have to do to achieve them, and so on and so on. That's
automatically ensuring that the community itself cares about these kinds of items. Now
you might say, "Well, usually, with videogames," it is the case that they don't really connect
very much to anything in our everyday life or any everyday relevancy, "how is it that
videogames achieve that kind of meaning to the activity that you use?" And the trick
that videogames usually do is they enwrap the whole thing in a story. And usually, they
don't make it under Only You Can Save Mankind. That's sort of 90% of the standard videogame
stories. The big stories are Save the Princess, Save the Mankind, whatever. And that kind
of overarching narrative gives meaning to all the goals, all the levels, all the activities
in between, connecting them to something meaningful on the long end. And take a game classic like
Missile Command, back in the 1980s by a Atari. I could describe this game for you; this game
screen of--for you without using any element of story, I could say, "Well, you know, the
point in this game is basically that you see these little green dots there going down and
you yourself should other green little dots up on the blue line and they explode at a
certain point and your point is to keep red from reaching blue down below. Not very engaging.
Not very fun. Now if you enwrap that kind of abstract mechanic in the story that Missile
Command tells, only you can save mankind or in this case, defend your city from nuclear
bombs, that becomes a more comprehensible as well as a much more engaging activity.
To translate that into reality, we have a huge amount of crowdsourcing efforts, especially
in the whole transparency movement, right? Where people as here on
are regularly asking, you know, file something you know about your representative, file your
maps or whatever. If you present that just as that kind of activity, it's kind of boring.
You have to be a real policy buff to care about this. However, if you're able to narratively
frame the whole thing more in a citizen journalist, the Untouchables and corruption or discover
corruption in your quarter, that becomes more interesting. And you understand why the little
earmark that you file is actually a meaningful activity. One practical way to do that is
to ensure that you have supporting visuals and copy for exactly that story that you wrap
around the activity that supports you and that cue you into that kind of story or theme
of fictional world around it. Just to give you an example, imagine Mafia Wars, the hugely
popular Facebook game, would be de-voided of all kinds of copy or visuals that would
relate in any way to the world of Mafia. Then it would become a very abstract and quite
frankly, very boring game of fill-up the progress parse. So, take care that the visual carries
the story that you have there. Now, in terms of meaning, there is always the danger involved.
And the danger, in terms of meaning, is that the activity that you do on a platform obviously
has broader meanings in the social context of everyday life. The story I wish to tell
to this platform, Akoha, which basically tries to engage people in doing sort of random acts
of kindness in their everyday life by turning those into missions like, "treat a friend
to your favorite dessert" and then you earn points for completing these missions. Well,
a friend game designer of mine did that with another friend of his, treated him to a dessert.
The other got curious and asked well, "Why did you do that?" he pulled out his iPhone
and said, "Well, you know, I'm just playing this nice Akoha game here which told me to
treat you to a dessert." To which the other friend quite angrily replied, "Have you any
idea how degrading that is? That you treat me to a dessert not that you care about me
but because you want to win some shitty game?" So, the recommendation I would give there
to you, if you're building such a system, do test it in real life with your own real
life friends to see if anything there feels awkward. And if it feels awkward to you or
your friends and especially your non-geeky friends, chances are it will also be the case
for your users. This is another nice example that they found, The Fronty World, where you
can design your own spouse once you made it to your spouse. And one of the game designers
actually did that and designed his own spouse. And then, the senior game designer was called
by his wife asking, "So you tell me, did he on purpose design that kind of spouse for
himself or did he hit the random button and that was the random spouse that he got?" These
kinds of awkwardness, these kinds of meanings in a larger context, it's something that you
have to take care of. So to quickly recap that point, you have to connect to personal
goals and interest and passions. You have to connect to meaningful community of interest
around the activity you're designing for. You have to wrap it in visually supportive
stories and you have to beware of those kinds of social context meanings. Moving on to the
second thing, to mastery. One thing I don't tire of saying or I don't tire of arguing
against is sort of a fundamental misconception, I believe, from the gamification discourse
about why videogames are motivating and engaging. And if you look at their kind of copy and
their materials on the website where they say why is this engaging to the user, they
say, "Well, because of rewards. We deal out rewards. We incentivise behavior." That's
how videogames work. So basically, their ideal is a kind of pop behaviorist idea of video
games as a kind of Skinner box, where every time you hit the right lever, you get a little
sugar pellet as a rat. And then usually liking that to World of Warcraft and say, you know,
if you kill enough creatures, then some [INDISTINCT] pops out and that's sort of the Skinner box
there. But if that would be the case, then this should be the fondest game ever, earning
you a whopping trillion points or a whopping trillion rewards or whatever, every time you
hit the button. Luckily, Jakob Skjerning actually built that thing he called the Progress Wars
just to make a point. And there are lots of these games just to make a point, like "achievement
unlocked" or so. And if you play this kind of game and watch the lovely Progress War--Progress
War progress for a couple of times, you notice it's not really a very engaging activity.
Not really rewarding. It's just like Mafia Wars, exactly. So, why is it that videogames
are motivating then? And to me still, the one sentence that sums it up most nicely is
by game designer Raph Koster, "Fun is just another word for learning." That might sound
counterintuitive because usually, learning we associate with school and school will not
necessarily associate with fun. But let's look more deeply what he means with that.
What he means with that is that, the fun in games, the fun in learning is the fun of mastering
something. The fun of figuring out the puzzle, recognizing a pattern, having developed the
dexterity to make that next step in the game that you couldn't make before. And the good
sense of achievement that you get when you finally master that. That is the core fun
that videogames--that videogames give us. It is between the tensions of, "Will I make
this?" Clenching my tongue and my mouth and then to find a resolution if I make it. That
is the core fun of videogames. But then, going back to school, you might ask, "Well, school
also, you know, poses us challenges like solving mathematical equations. Why is that not fun
and why is playing Magic: The Gathering which, if played well, also requires a whole lot
of mathematics to understand the cards and the strategies, why is that then a fun activity?"
And I think that is one thing we have to add to the sentence of Raph Koster. Fun is just
another word for learning under optimal conditions. And with videogames provide us our optimal
conditions for these kinds of learning of mastery experiences. And the core way they
do this is that they design interesting challenges for us. If you look at most of the current
gamification vendors, the challenge that post to you is like read five block post or fill
out this little questionnaire or check in twice to our website, which is not really
an interesting challenge. It's just as bland as leaving the house. Games create interesting
challenges, taking the example of golf, by setting you a goal first of all, right? In
golf, the goal is very obvious. You have to put that little ball into that little hole.
Now, if that would be everything, the game of golf would be very boring because you could
just take the ball, walk over to the hole and drop it in, there you go. So what games
do to make that interesting is they add some rules. There are certain ways in which you
may and may not achieve those goals. And the rule is you have to hit it with this weird
stick and you may not just start everywhere, you have to start at this point, and you have
to play the ball from wherever it ends up. And that together creates all of the interesting
challenges of golf when you're in a sand hole or when you're way off park and so on. That
is what creates the interesting challenges of any game. Try to break that down into a
few more concrete recommendations there. The one is to actually have clear visually present
goals in your interface. This is something that GetGlue actually does quite well because
it welcomes the user usually with some sign--with some kind of invitations saying, "Hey, you're
returning. Here is the next achievable goal for you to make progress, so to speak, in
our game." But then, games usually do not just present us goals, they also take care
that the goals that they set are well-structured, well-ordered. Think of the lawn mowing example.
Just setting me the goal, you know, mow the lawn is a daunting task. But if you chunk
it up into medium and small term goal, so that whenever I entered the game, I have a
small, doable, achievable goal right in front of me. And the game insures that whenever
I finished that, there is right next to goal for me to reach afterwards which is just in
grasp that pulls me through the game experience. A good example for that is the introduced
mission in FrontierVille and now in CityVille, where if you enter the game, you can play
it without any kind of missions or goals. But when you open it on the left-hand side,
you'll see a list of missions that you can achieve. And if you then click on these missions,
you see again that they are structured just in the way that I described, right? You have
the long term goal or medium term goal, build a bakery, which is again, chopped up into
other smaller even more achievable tasks or goals for you. So, the next thing or the next
take, the next twist on that structured flow of goals is to ensure that it is just not
a bland line of goals which are just on the same level but that they get increasingly
more difficult. My most beloved example for that is when Twitter recently crowdsourced
their translation. And you could earn points for entering translations for the different
pieces of the interface and then you could level it--level up by those points. And if
you look at the bar, the progress bar, then you can nicely see that from each level to
each level, the number of points you would need to level up gets increasingly more. It
gets increasingly more difficult to reach the next level, the next goal. And that actually
blends nicely with one of the core psychological theories around why play or games of fun which
is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow Theory where he basically says, "Usually we feel best not
if we're under challenged, then we're bored nor when we're over challenged, then we're
frustrated and anxious but in that ideal middle spot where we're neither over nor under challenged,
where the challenge has matched our abilities and thus we get a feeling of achievement by
actually mastering them." Now, games usually don't pull such a very straight line through
there, if you look at the difficulty curves of games. What they do is they rather have
a kind of flickery line where you have a very steep challenge and then suddenly something
but--that is very low and it just moves on slowly there to keep pace with your growing
ability, to keep it interesting, but they have this fluctuation in there. And the reason
for that is that this, on the one hand, provides you experiences of failure, right? "Damn.
I didn't manage that level", which gives you something to learn from. "Hmm, why didn't
I do that? Let's try something else this time", as well as valuing when you finally make it,
right? When you failed three times and then you succeed the fourth time, the success feels
much more--much more rewarding than when you succeeded the first time. And then, they keep
the difficulty low after that for a certain time to give you the experience of acing out,
of absolutely being the super king finishing everything, and then rising the difficulty
again for you. Again, you're struggling there a bit. So, games have this kind of fluctuating
pacing of difficulty. But not only that, they take care that the kinds of difficulty they
pose to you are not just more of the same, right? You earned a badge for liking 50 movies.
Now, let's see if you can earn a--now, let's see if you can like 100 movies or 250 movies.
That's not fun. That's boring. That's grinding. That's repetitive. What games do if you take
say, Super Mario, they let you--they pose you one kind of challenge. Let's see if you
can make all that jumping. Then another. Let's see when--whether you can make all the shooting
other creatures with fireballs or so and then combine that to a more complex challenge.
Let's see whether you can jump and fire at the same time. So, they vary the challenges
as well as increasing the element for complexity and not just in quantity. So, translate it
into a platform that would mean not just present me, "Oh, even more movies to like. Even more
movies to like." Have other activities in the platform, like, engage in that quiz or
whatever and then try to scaffold that slowly to more interesting complex tasks, like, become
the moderator of a page. The final way--and for many people, maybe the most obvious way
in which videogames give us these experiences of mastery is by providing us with excessive
positive feedback if we are able to master something. My favorite example for this is
the PopCap Game Peggle where, if you look at the screen, you see the little metal ball
and your point is to shoot all the orange balls down there in the--in the room below.
And I already shoot all of them apart from the last one. Let's see what happens if I
shoot the last orange ball.
That's what game designer call "juicy feedback". And that's one way of providing you these
experiences of mastery, sort of underlining that you really made it. Take for--just a
simple example. This is Ribbon Hero, sort of the tutorial game done by Microsoftware
for the achievement of clearing formatting; you get this big fat ad saying, "Congratulations!
You cleared formatting." It could be a real challenge to penny. So, those are the ways
to make a challenge interesting, to give you an experience of mastery. But again, in setting
up these kinds of rule system with points and goals and challenges, there is a danger.
And the danger involved there is the kind of emergent behavior that it can give rise
to: all kinds of cheating or exploiting or similar things in your software. This is a
good example. Tumblr put up this dashboard for users of Tumblr back in the May of 2009,
where you have to score this tumblarity score, which was the overall score for your popularity
on the Tumbler platform. Now it turned out the easiest way to drive that score up was
just to post incessantly. Irregardless of what you were posting because for every post
you will get a point. What that led to was that Tumblr, which was previously very much
as a community about handpicking and curating interesting stuff found in the internet in
a sort of incessant dribble and the community back lashed immensely against all of these
times. You know, just etch tumblarity into a Google image search and then you'll find
all the ways in which the Tumblr community said, "We don't want that." So Tumblr finally,
in January 2010, took down the tumblarity score and replaced it with the directory because
they found, you know, it is encouraging but it is not encouraging for the kind of behavior
that we actually want to encourage. Another good example is older kinds of applications
like Mayor Maker and so on out there for Foursquare which help you to auto check-in and onto all
places where you just drive by, thus voiding the actual competition that you have for who
gets to be the major at a certain place because the device does that automatically for you.
At the Playful conference in London where I was, they actually had a kind of voting
by the foot by people of the Foursquare community. They are asking whether this would be deemed
illegal or not in London. I don't know if whether Edwin speaks to that. But again, you
see that you create this kind of unintended emergent behavior very likely if you set up
these kinds of systems. The recommendation I would give there to you is when you play
test your systems, try to game it yourself. Give your play test the task, "Game this system
in any which way possible so that we figure out whether there is this kind of intended
emergent behavior hidden in our system." To wrap that up again, what you should do then
is provide interesting challenges to create experiences of mastery, clear goals which
are scaffolded, paced and varied. Provide juicy feedback and beware of that kind of
gaming the system or exploiting the system behavior that will eventually appear if you
create anything that is worthwhile. Now, I come to my last point, autonomy; the freedom,
the play space in the backward that allows me to be involved in my own mischief there
with my Lego and play mobile figures. And this is something I believe very important
for, especially productivity context. Because one of the four elements of play and games
and one of the core things that makes the motivating, according to a lot of research,
is that they are, by definition, a voluntary activity; an activity that we chose for ourselves.
And the most often told story there is obviously the story about Tom Sawyer managing to convince
his friends to paint the fence for him and even paying money for the privilege of painting
the fence for him. How did Tom Sawyer do that? Well, the friends walked by him. He had to
paint the fence. He was asked by his--by his own to do that. And when the friends were
kind of mocking him, he said, "No, no. You go fishing. I'd rather paint the fence." And
then, they got curious and say, "You're mocking us." "No, no. You got ahead." "Well, can we
paint the fence, maybe just try it?" "No, no. You got ahead. I'll paint the fence."
And he was trying--he was able to create the impression in them that he was painting the
fence voluntarily. And that made the experiential difference there, which Mark Twain himself
very concisely put, as he said, "If Tom had been a great and wise philosopher, he would
have comprehended that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do and play of whatever
a body is not obliged to do." Just to give you a concrete example, one and the same activity,
like filling out spreadsheets can be very dreadful if you do them at work. However,
if you do them in an online multiplayer game like EVE Online in this case, we're very much—-you're
doing precisely the same activity. You're even paying for the privilege of doing that
activity in the game because you voluntarily chose to play that game in the point and you
were not asked by someone else, "Go and fill out that spreadsheet." The point why I'm talking
about this in relation to productivity context in relation to gamification specifically is
because this core element of autonomy is easily damaged if you slipped some extrinsic reward
on an activity; a cash incentive, a punishment, a quarterly evaluation, whatever. The one
thing that we find in research, if you do that, if you add and if then reward to a specific
activity, you curve the felt autonomy of the person. The person says, "Oh. I didn't choose
to do that. Someone else helped me do that. And then, I feel less in control of myself,"
which is usually a very de-motivating experience. Like here, the Scoreboard application just
came out for, right? Depending on whether that is just an innocuous scoreboard
or whether your supervisor actually attached some monetary value or some quarterly evaluation
to the outcome on the scoreboard, it can be empowering or it can be very de-motivating.
And the second problem with that is that you're basically devaluing the activity if you attach
some extrinsic reward to it, right? If you say, "Please, buy me 1000 Twitter followers
or please buy me 1000 Facebook followers," if I know about that, the fact that you now
have 1000 Twitter followers more doesn't improve the value of your service. It devalues it
because I know where they have to pay for that, right? It's so bad that you even have
to pay to get their own followers. Likely, if you have something as a sweepstake and
you say, "Please, re-tweet this link to our service to enter the sweepstake," the social
that get sent along with that is, "Well, you know, their service is so bad they actually
have to come with a sweepstake to promote it." People would not voluntarily autonomously
re-tweet it to their friends. So, how to deal with that? The first solution done by,
a little knowledge management platform is that in their platform, they're using it for
travel agents, and they have no strings attached. It's a question-and-answer platform, some
game mechanics in there, basically you get to customize your profile more you--the more
active you're on the platform. But that relates in no way to any other performance metric
in the company. It's just what you do on the platform. No strings attached. A second way
which is done beautifully in the--in the whole customer service thing in Zappos, which I
hope you're not already fed up with hearing about, is to set up a shared goal with shared
values and intentions behind that, "We want a good customer experience. Make the customer
happy." But how you do that? Completely up to you. Give the user many possible ways to
achieve a goal once you--once you agreed on the goal. That increases the experience of
autonomy that you say, "Okay. Great. I agree to do that goal together with you and now
I get to choose how to do it." The third way of doing that is to provide feedback that
is informational. Helpful in solving the task versus information that is a pat on the back
and say, "Now that you did it, here's a reward," or "Now that you didn't do it, you don't get
the Snicker's bar." Like, in that case again, in where they give you helpful feedback
on how far you are in reaching your goal and next steps to do if you don't make it; informational
rather than controlling feedback. And to finally way to do that unexpected rewards, right?
Easter Acts as they are called in videogames. If you don't expect a certain reward and suddenly
in the interface there is something popping at you saying, "Congratulations!" If you don't
make a cause or relation in your half between you doing the activity and the reward, hence
you don't feel controlled by it. Hence you feel autonomous. To recap that up again for
you, play is by definition, a voluntary activity. And beware of curbing the autonomy of your
users. Beware of curbing that voluntariness with what you do like extrinsic rewards or
beware of devaluing your product with that. Be very careful about the social signals you're
sending out with these kinds of things. To package it finally for you, what does that
mean in practice for you as a user experience designer or product manager? How do I go about
designing a game, [INDISTINCT] service, if I took care of all of that? Well, the first
thing is think process not features. Think design process, not features. All the service
vendors basically give you this nice list of features that they offer as a turnkey solution.
But just as you will know from the early Web 2.0 days, right? Whether a service took offer,
it didn't take off was not about having a tag cloud or not having a tag cloud. It was
about all the needly, fiddly design details about designing the features that you offered,
the user interface so that it really met the audience you were designing for, and that
you only get out of a process, not out of a feature. The first way there is just read
the rules. Understand core parts of game design. Now, there are some books you can read, books
like the game design workshop which I very much recommend. But the easiest way to do
that basically is to start playing board games. If you play board games and afterwards just
discuss and reflect on how did that board game create a dynamic of competition between
us or a dynamic of collaboration between us or how did it make that end game so dramatic?
You have a very easy way of studying and of tweaking the rules in a board game to understand
how the rules create that kind of interesting challenge or not. The second thing and that
also is obvious for any good user experience designer is, know your users. Understand that
you are not necessarily the target audience. Understand what kinds of play, what kinds
of games, what kinds of motivations, what kinds of play they like, what kinds of motivations
they bring. Just a quick example, the platform was a platform that try to collect
fan fiction throughout the net; fiction brought by fans about Star Trek or Star Wars or Harry
Potter or so. And the way that they did it with these kinds of nice advertising is, well,
we offer sweepstakes and competitions, who's the best the fan fiction writer? And the page
completely went under. Reason you can likely see from the actual advertisement turns out
the audience is 99% female and turns out fan fiction writing is very much about collaboration,
expression, mutual help and not any kind of competition. So, it was a game mechanic but
it was the completely wrong game mechanic for the audience they we're designing for.
Finally--and again, you will know that as a user experience designer, the only way to
get fun ride is to build a prototype, a paper prototype of the rule system or point system
as early as possible, play test it and iterate on what you find. That is essentially the
core of game design. If you look at the bestselling casual game of 2009, Plants Vs. Zombies, with
more than 15,000,000 downloads, and if you look at the design history, there's a nice
presentation and slide show of which the link I will have in my own slides at the end, what
they basically did from the sketch up until the final polished product, they went for
three years of iterating on the product. Not full-time, but three years of iteration. I
don't say you need to do three years of iteration. I'm saying if you want a game that is as fun
and as addictive as Plants Vs. Zombies, there's no way around prototyping, play testing and
iterating. Not only of a qualitative feedback but also my last point over quantitative feedback
that has been as in usability, has been one of the major steps forward in game design
in the last years that they have started to bring in massive amounts of data over user.
Data like how many seconds did it take to win that level and then finding out, "Okay.
That level is too easy. That level is too hard." All the kinds of data that social games
now bring in with monthly active users or daily active users or the ratio between all
kinds of data to understand questions like, "Have we curbed exploits? Is that point system
fine-balanced or is that point system something that encourages the wrong kinds of behavior?
Have we set the right challenges or is that challenge too boring, too hard or too easy
for defeat?" So, finally, wrapping up in summary, if you want to design for something that is
meaningful, for meaningful play for your users, instead of some kind of shallow progress wars,
you have to provide a story or any kind of meaning that connects to the user's everyday
life, a rule system that they can master and a free space that they can play in. You have
to be mindful of the kind of side effects you can create with the rule systems and the
social context of those activities. You have to learn the basic ropes of rule design. And
finally, just be a good user experience designer. Thank you. How long [INDISTINCT] for time?
>> Ten minutes for questions. >> DETERDING: Yes. Sure. Questions, if there
some. >> So, one of things that I've noticed that
mini games is the score has one or two or three zeros and flat.
>> DETERDING: Yes. >> And I always speed off [INDISTINCT] yet
using the advocate obsessive reinforcement. >> DETERDING: There is one thing about earning
one point versus earning 100 points of something, usually in the terms of the core currency
that you run around in your mind. So, what kind of currency that you run around with,
you know; one, that's not so much; 100, that's a little more. If you live in a country with
a hugely inflated currency, there's sort of another sense. It gets something if the point
amount is bigger. But again, you have to make sure that people get the relations between
the different activities right and they just don't get lost and say, "Now, what's this
twice as good or twice as successful as the other thing and just inflated numbers?" And
then, there is a little value there in just having juicy feedback as I said, and just--and
it just being very good tutors in giving feedback. But then again, be sure that the user understands
the relations between the different activities that you're measuring there.
>> Is there a potential [INDISTINCT]? For example, if the user [INDISTINCT]? If so,
how do you [INDISTINCT]? >> DETERDING: I see. So the...
>> [INDISTINCT] this question. >> DETERDING: Yes. Sure. So the question was,
is there a potential conflict of interest between sort of the designer of the product
that wants you to basically click or be more longer on the page and the user will actually
wants a meaningful experience? Yes, there can be. There can also be a conflict of interest,
say, between the user just wanting to be very efficient and get away and get done with it
and the side wanting to keep you there longer on the site, for instance. Ultimately, as
far as my thinking goes, if you're not able to connect to something that the user himself
is intrinsically interested in or motivated by, you get a shallow novelty effect there.
So the user is just curious figuring that out, then it goes away, and then there is
no value in the game mechanics. So, if you're--if you're not able to sort of hook into the user's
personal goals and motivations there, you're likely not going to be very successful. One
way of doing that would be something that [INDISTINCT] calls "games with a purpose".
So you build a full fledge game and just use the data that the game generates for your
purposes as a site. So, say, he uses this for image telling, right? The game is about
you trying to guess which word comes first to mind to another anonymous player but in
reality, the words you're typing in trying to guess what the words is, is used as image
text. Google Image label basically uses that. That is one way when you find that there is
no way in which the user's motivations and interests align with the interest of the site.
More questions. >> [INDISTINCT].
>> DETERDING: I see. So the question as I far as I understood it, the relation between
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and one of the people, I think, it was Rachet Paharia
as well as from Bunch Ball as way as the guy from USA Networks, who talked about this at
the US Networks where they say, "Once we entered the sweepstakes into the whole gamified system,
we had--then, we actually saw user uptake. Before that, we didn't saw user uptake. We
actually added extrinsic rewards." So the relation between their--I think it very much
comes down to how the user themselves and upframing the experience, whether they feel
that the extrinsic motivator is some nice given but something optional for them and
they say, "Oh, yes. Why not, right? I don't feel controlled by that." And how you frame
that experience I believe, is ultimately the question. So, if it's an entertainment side
and you don't really care about it in the first place and it doesn't really relate to
you in your first place doesn't have any harsh consequences if you lose or win in that, then
to add another little sweepstake there, you then just basically buying into people's motivation
of getting something for free, which is also a motivator. But that doesn't curb that kind
of autonomy. I'm more concerned there with actual productivity work context, where I
believe that is more of a threat. Great. And thank you so much. And as you can see, slides
will be up together with lots of linky goodness during this week. Thanks.