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big trend for the next 5 years: using game mechanics to teach users your product

January 23, 2010

I wrote about game mechanics previously, but this idea is beginning to pop up in a lot of different places.

Robert Scoble wrote a great post about leveraging user narcissism to drive adoption.

Today, @daveconcannon pointed me at this excellent interview with Amy Jo Kim on Mixergy. She discusses meta-game design and how game mechanics are creeping into applications like eBay, programmer discussion boards, and Yelp.

Just now, I saw this where I never thought I’d see it – a music site.

On thesixtyone.com, you complete challenges (like listening to three songs in a row or friending three people) to receive “hearts”, which you can use to vote songs up to the front page.  (foursquare meets digg for indie music.)

The UI is exceptionally beautiful and well done, too.  And their challenges did engage me fully and get me to register.

Techcrunch says they’re experiencing some sort of user rebellion.  That does happen – just look at the various facebook redesigns.  Personally, if I’d seen their old UI, I wouldn’t have used the service at all.

I predict we will see game mechanics and elements become more and more common across web products in the next 3-5 years. This creates some interesting opportunities from entrepreneurs – third-party game mechanics engines, ways for game APIs to talk to one another, and the like.

Next time you sign up for a new social web product, be prepared to play a game.

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What role do you think game mechanics will play in the future?  Please leave a comment…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2010 8:58 am

    Have you seen Ribbon Hero? Same idea.

    http://www.officelabs.com/ribbonhero

    • January 24, 2010 9:10 am

      Hi Dan,
      I was dimly aware of it, but now that I look at it again, it fully supports my thesis.

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