A Day in the Life of Gamification

Updated: Jan 17


We often play games as a form of escapism from our everyday lives, however, what if our life was made up of several little games? For some, aspects of life such as work and education offer little entertainment value leading to a lack of motivation. Buzzwords are everywhere within business and marketing: infographics, long-form and short- form content, clickbait but not many have captured the imagination and attention of marketers and developers like gamification.

Gamification refers to the implementation of gaming elements within non-gaming environments through a set of activities and processes to solve problems. Simplified: Gamification is designed to be engaging. It is not necessarily about creating games but inserting fun components into existing materials and assets. This can be achieved through elements such as points systems, leaderboards and rewards.

I was first introduced to the concept of gamification through my masters degree. When tasked with listing the ways in which my life is gamified, I released how even the most mundane of tasks are made easier by game elements that provide a sense of achievement. It shouldn't come as a surprise though. We, as humans, are driven by powerful emotions such as joy and curiosity; which gamification triggers.

To put gamification into perspective, meet Jamie!

Jamie is 32 and works in sales. This is Jamie’s Thursday:

8:02 am: On his commute to work, Jamie pops into his local Starbucks. He has earnt enough points in the coffee shop’s loyalty-system app to redeem a free a drink; the morning kick he needs for a long day at work

8:06 am: Whilst waiting for his coffee, Jamie receives a notification from Instagram. He has received 7 new likes on his post from the night before of his new trainers he has bought. They seem to be going down well!

10:22 am: Jamie receives a notification from Tinder. He is encouraged to swipe more and discover other single people in his area. The profiles are displayed like a deck of cards.

1:04 pm: During his lunch break, Jamie decides to take a quick Duolingo lesson to brush up on his Spanish for his upcoming holiday to Madrid at the weekend with his friends. He answers multiple choice questions and earns another badge within the 'phrases' category.

4:49 pm: Before leaving work, Jamie checks the leaderboard tracking sales among the team. He is currently in 3rd place for the monthly bonus. He becomes motivated to earn more sales tomorrow.

5:36 pm: On his way home from work, Jamie heads to Tesco to pick up some groceries. By using his Tesco Clubcard, Jamie is able to get cheaper prices on essentials and gain points for vouchers in the future.

6:16 pm: After Jamie has walked his dog around the local park, he receives a notification from his Fitbit: he has achieved his daily 10,000 step goal. He checks his app, he is beating his siblings in the step count leaderboard.

10:44 pm: Before going to sleep, Jamie checks his Todoist app for tomorrow’s upcoming tasks that need to be completed. He is reminded that he needs to check-in for his flight to Madrid. He is only a few more tasks away from reaching Master level.

If there is anything to learn from Jamie’s Thursday is how much of our lives is gamified. We are encouraged to consistently engage in brands with the incentive of competition and reward; therefore gamification also works to benefit businesses. Businesses from all sectors are looking for ways to implement game elements into their services or products.

So how can businesses use gamification? First, businesses must get to know their player and their desired actions and behaviours. Then, rewards can be created for these established desired actions. It is crucial to create a clear goal for users that details progress throughout. Motivation often thrives off of feedback and knowing what we need to do to get our reward. Most importantly, businesses need to find the correct balance of challenge and skill. This refers to the concept of gaining a new skill as a new challenge arises. If a goal feels unachievable, user's will become disengaged.


Gamification has been particularly useful within fields such as education and research. Learning has become increasingly immersive; fuelled by aspects such as role-play and competitive incentives. For many, learning can be viewed as boring and tiresome however the incorporation of gamification has the ability to create more engaged learners. Crucial research has stemmed from gamified tools. For instance, Pain Squad is a electronic pain management tool, designed by scientists at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where children and teenagers with cancer can monitor detailed reports of their pain. The premise of Pain Squad is a crime-solving police squad in which patients complete a pain report to solve crimes; the reports are then collated by scientists to better understand treatment. Patients are rewarded by the incentive of promotion for every report submitted. This is a prime example of how gamification can be used for innovation.

At Game Doctor, we use gamification to engage difficult to reach audiences and promote positive change. We harness the technology of video games to educate users on various health topics such as vaccines, viruses, antibiotics, genetic research as well as fungal diseases. We achieve this by incorporating gaming aspects such as role-play (Science Investigator) and points systems (Remedy Quest) that create transformative educational tools and data from our games suggests that repeated gameplay is important for learning.

Gamification is still growing with the global market forecasted to grow from $9.1 billion to $30.7 billion by 2025. It pledges to drive and retain more consumers and can be the vital tool for businesses that sets them apart from competitors. For consumers, gamification brings along an exciting era that makes brands and even day-to-day life more engaging. In the word's of Mary Poppin's:

" In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun."

For more information on our game design service, please contact communications@gamedoctor.co.uk

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