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This put up is a high-level introduction to Octalysis, the Gamification Framework I created after greater than 17 years of Gamification analysis and and Behavioral Design examine. Within a yr of publication, Octalysis was organically translated into 16 languages and have become required literature in Gamification instruction worldwide.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is design that locations essentially the most emphasis on human motivation within the course of. In essence, it’s Human-Focused Design (versus “function-focused design”).

Gamification is the craft of deriving all of the enjoyable and fascinating parts present in video games and making use of them to real-world or productive actions. Click To Tweet

Gamification is the craft of deriving all of the enjoyable and fascinating parts present in video games and making use of them to real-world or productive actions. This course of is what I name “Human-Focused Design,” versus “Function-Focused Design.” It’s a design course of that optimizes for human motivation in a system, versus pure effectivity.

The challenges with Function-Focused Design

Most techniques are “function-focused,” designed to get the job finished shortly. This is sort of a manufacturing unit that assumes its employees will do their jobs as a result of they’re required to. However, Human-Focused Design remembers that folks in a system have emotions, insecurities, and explanation why they need or don’t need to do sure issues, and due to this fact optimizes for his or her emotions, motivations, and engagement.

Why video games drive human conduct

The cause we name it Gamification is as a result of the gaming business was the primary to grasp Human-Focused Design.

Games don’t have any different objective than to please the person enjoying them. Yes, there are sometimes “objectives” in video games, akin to killing a dragon or saving the princess, and typically saving a dragon, however these are all excuses to easily hold the participant fortunately entertained.

Since video games have spent many years (and even centuries relying on the way you qualify a sport) studying learn how to grasp motivation and engagement, we at the moment are studying from video games, and that’s the reason we name it Gamification.


So up to now decade, I’ve been digging deep into forming an entire Gamification framework to investigate and construct methods across the numerous techniques that make a sport enjoyable.

I noticed that nearly each sport is enjoyable as a result of it appeals to sure Core Drives inside us that inspire us in the direction of sure actions. I additionally seen that several types of sport strategies push us ahead otherwise: some in an inspiring and empowering manner, whereas some in a manipulative and obsessive method. I drilled down to search out what differentiates one kind of motivation to a different.

The finish result’s the Gamification Framework referred to as Octalysis, designed as an octagon form with 8 Core Drives representing all sides.

Gamification Framework Octalysis

With a few years of trials and changes, I consider that, moreover a ninth hidden Core Drive referred to as “Sensation,” every part you do is predicated on a number of of the 8 Core Drives.

The 8 Core Drives of Gamification

1) Epic Meaning & Calling

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Epic Meaning & Calling is the Core Drive the place a participant believes that he’s doing one thing larger than himself or he was “chosen” to do one thing. A symptom of this can be a participant that devotes a variety of his time to sustaining a discussion board or serving to to create issues for your complete neighborhood (suppose Wikipedia or Open Source initiatives). This additionally comes into play when somebody has “Beginner’s Luck” – an impact the place individuals consider they’ve some kind of present that others don’t or consider they have been “lucky” to get that tremendous sword on the very starting of the sport.

2) Development & Accomplishment

Development & Accomplishment is the interior drive of creating progress, creating expertise, and ultimately overcoming challenges. The phrase “challenge” right here is essential, as a badge or trophy with no problem is just not significant in any respect. This can also be the core drive that’s the best to design for and coincidently is the place many of the PBLs: factors, badges, leaderboards principally deal with.

3) Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback

Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback is when customers are engaged in a artistic course of the place they must repeatedly determine issues out and take a look at completely different mixtures. People not solely want methods to precise their creativity, however they want to have the ability to see the outcomes of their creativity, obtain suggestions, and reply in flip. This is why enjoying with Legos and portray are enjoyable in-and-of themselves and sometimes turn out to be Evergreen Mechanics, the place a game-designer now not must repeatedly add extra content material to maintain the exercise recent and fascinating.

4) Ownership & Possession

This is the drive the place customers are motivated as a result of they really feel like they personal one thing. When a participant feels possession, she innately desires to make what she owns higher and personal much more. Besides being the key core drive for desirous to accumulate wealth, this offers with many digital items or digital currencies inside techniques. Also, if an individual spends a variety of time to customise her profile or her avatar, she mechanically feels extra possession in the direction of it too. Finally, that is additionally the core drive that makes amassing stamps or puzzle items enjoyable.

5) Social Influence & Relatedness

This drive incorporates all of the social parts that drive individuals, together with: mentorship, acceptance, social responses, companionship, in addition to competitors and envy. When you see a pal that’s wonderful at some ability or owns one thing extraordinary, you turn out to be pushed to succeed in the identical degree. Also, it contains the drive we have now to attract nearer to individuals, locations, or occasions that we will relate to. If you see a product that reminds you of your childhood, the sense of nostalgia would possible improve the chances of you shopping for the product. This Core Drive is comparatively well-studied too, as many corporations lately are placing a variety of precedence on optimizing their on-line social methods.

6) Scarcity & Impatience

This is the drive of wanting one thing as a result of you possibly can’t have it. Many video games have Appointment Dynamics (come again 2 hours later to get your reward) – the truth that individuals can’t get one thing proper now motivates them to consider all of it day lengthy. This is the Core Drive utilized by Facebook when it first began: at first it was only for Harvard. Then it opened up to some different prestigious colleges, and ultimately all schools. When it lastly opened as much as everybody, many individuals needed to affix as a result of they beforehand couldn’t get in it.

7) Unpredictability & Curiosity

Generally, this can be a innocent drive of wanting to search out out what’s going to occur subsequent. If you don’t know what’s going to occur, your mind is engaged and you concentrate on it usually. Many individuals watch motion pictures or learn novels due to this drive. However, this drive can also be the first issue behind playing habit. Also, this core drive is utilized each time an organization runs a sweepstake or lottery program to have interaction customers. The very controversial Skinner Box experiments, the place an animal irrationally presses a lever ceaselessly due to unpredictable outcomes, are completely referring to the core drive of Unpredictability & Curiosity, though many have misunderstood it as the driving force behind factors, badges, and leaderboard mechanics typically.

8) Loss & Avoidance

This core drive is predicated upon the avoidance of one thing unfavourable taking place. On a small scale, it may very well be to keep away from dropping earlier work. On a bigger scale, it may very well be to keep away from admitting that every part you probably did up so far was ineffective since you at the moment are quitting. Also, alternatives which are fading away have a powerful utilization of this Core Drive, as a result of individuals really feel like in the event that they didn’t act instantly, they’d lose the chance to behave perpetually.

Extrinsic Left Brain vs Intrinsic Right Brain Gamification

Within Octalysis, the Core Drives on the correct are Right Brain Core Drives, being extra associated to creativity, self-expression, and social features.

The Core Drives on the left are Left Brain Core Drives, being extra related to logic, calculations, and possession.

Note: the Left Brain/Right Brain Core Drives usually are not thought of true mind science; they’re merely symbolic because it makes the framework simpler and more practical when designing. It’s helpful dividing issues up between the logical and the emotional, and I simply named them Left Brain/Right Brain Core Drives so individuals can keep in mind them simply.

Interestingly, Left Brain Core Drives are Extrinsic Motivators – you might be motivated since you need to receive one thing, whether or not or not it’s a objective, an excellent, or something you can’t receive; however, Right Brain Core Drives are Intrinsic Motivators: you don’t want a objective or reward to make use of your creativity, hangout with mates, or really feel the suspense of unpredictability – the exercise itself is rewarding by itself.

This is vital, as a result of many corporations purpose to design for motivation primarily based on Extrinsic Motivators, akin to giving customers a reward on the finish. However, many research have proven that when you cease providing the extrinsic motivator, person motivation will usually lower to a lot decrease than earlier than the extrinsic motivator was first launched.

It’s significantly better for corporations to design experiences that inspire the Right Brain Core Drives, making one thing in of itself enjoyable and rewarding, so customers repeatedly have interaction within the exercise.

White Hat vs Black Hat Gamification

White Hat vs Black Hat Gamification

Another component to notice inside Octalysis is that the highest Core Drives within the octagon are thought of very optimistic motivators, whereas the underside Core Drives are thought of unfavourable motivators.

Techniques that make the most of the highest Core Drives are referred to as “White Hat Gamification”,whereas strategies that make the most of the underside Core Drives are referred to as “Black Hat Gamification”.

If one thing is partaking as a result of it enables you to categorical your creativity, makes you are feeling profitable by means of ability mastery, and provides you a better sense of that means, it makes customers really feel superb and highly effective.

On the opposite hand, if you’re all the time doing one thing since you don’t know what’s going to occur subsequent, you might be continuously in concern of dropping one thing, or as a result of there are issues you possibly can’t have, although you’ll nonetheless be extraordinarily motivated to take the actions, it could usually go away a nasty style in your mouth.

The downside with Zynga video games, in accordance with the Octalysis framework, is that they’ve found out learn how to do many Black Hat Game Techniques, which drive up income numbers from customers, nevertheless it doesn’t make customers really feel good. So when a person is lastly capable of go away the system, they may need to, as a result of they don’t really feel like they’re in management over themselves, similar to playing habit.

Keep in thoughts that simply because one thing is Black Hat doesn’t imply it’s essentially unhealthy – these are simply motivators – they usually can be utilized for productive and wholesome outcomes or malice and manipulative ones. Many individuals voluntarily submit themselves into Black Hat Gamification with a view to go to the health club extra usually, eat wholesome, or keep away from hitting the snooze button each morning.

A superb Gamification professional will contemplate all 8 Core Drives on a optimistic and productive exercise so that everybody finally ends up happier and more healthy.

Octalysis Score

Keep in thoughts {that a} good gamified system doesn’t have to have the entire Core Drives, nevertheless it does have to do very well with those it does implement. Some extraordinarily profitable merchandise do very, very effectively with Social Influence, whereas others simply make the most of Scarcity.

In order to give you an Octalysis rating, you’re taking how good the topic of study is in every core drive, assign a quantity between 0-10 primarily based on private judgement, knowledge, and expertise flows, after which sq. that quantity to get the Core Drive Score. Once you add up all 8 Core Drive Scores, you’re going to get your closing Octalysis Score.

Of course, the Score itself is just not very helpful or actionable, so I all the time inform my purchasers to deal with what Core Drive is missing, as a substitute of being obsessive about their “score.”

How to use Octalysis to precise techniques

Now that we have now the Gamification Framework laid out, the subsequent step is to determine learn how to make the most of this framework.

Generally, any good and fascinating product or system may have no less than one of many core drives listed above.

The manner to make use of Octalysis is to determine all the sport mechanics which are used to enchantment to every Core Drive and record it subsequent to the Core Drive of the Octagon.

Afterwards, primarily based on how robust these sport mechanics are, all sides of the Octagon will broaden or retract.

If a aspect crosses the within Octagon, then that aspect is extraordinarily weak and the Gamification professional wants to enhance on that space.

Of course, that is all very summary, so lets take a look at a couple of examples.

Just a few Gamification examples with Octalysis

Here’s an Octalysis finished for a couple of merchandise on-line:

Farmville Gamification

Farmville: 414 and usually Left Brain Black Hat.

Diablo 3 Gamification

Diablo 3: 284 and fairly balanced

Facebook Gamification

Facebook: 448 with very robust Right Brain Drives (discover it focuses on reverse ends in comparison with Farmville)

Twitter Gamification

Twitter: 267 whereas being fairly balanced however extra Right Brain.

Candy Crush Octalysis Score

Candy Crush: Fairly Balanced

And that is simply Level 1 Octalysis

10 years of Gamification examine and implementation leads to a really sturdy framework that may turn out to be actionable in the direction of driving increased person metrics. As individuals get increasingly more superior in Octalysis, they will study increased ranges (as much as 5 Levels…there are solely a handful of individuals on the earth who know what’s degree 4 and above), which includes way more superior design ideas and in-depth evaluation.

Level 2 Octalysis

Gamification OctalysisOnce degree 1 is mastered, one can then apply it to Level 2 Octalysis, the place we attempt to optimize expertise all through all 4 phases of a participant’s journey:

  1. Discovery (why would individuals even need to begin the journey)
  2. Onboarding (how do you educate customers the foundations and instruments to play the sport)
  3. Scaffolding (the common journey of repeated actions in the direction of a objective)
  4. Endgame (how do you keep your veterans).

Factoring within the 4 Phases of a Player’s JourneyGamification Octalysis

Getting a really feel about what gamers really feel throughout the journey.

Level 3 Octalysis

Gamification Octalysis.019

Once you mastered Level 2 Octalysis, you possibly can then push it one degree increased to Level 3 and issue in numerous participant sorts, so you possibly can start to see how several types of individuals are motivated at completely different phases of the expertise.

Pushing up a degree additional – Factoring Bartle’s Player Type

Gamification Octalysis.020

This manner the Gamification Designer can really feel out that there’s one thing for everybody at each stage.

The Octalysis Tool

A learner of Octalysis, Ron Bentata from Israel, kindly made a public Octalysis Tool for me and different Octalysis Enthusiasts. The device is just not 100% refined but, nevertheless it has been a really great tool for my very own purchasers and many individuals working towards Octalysis non-commercially. Click right here to take a look at the Octalysis Tool.

The Long Journey to GOOD Gamification

As you possibly can see, making a wealthy gamified expertise is way more than merely slapping on numerous game-mechanics to present merchandise. It’s a craft that requires a variety of evaluation, considering, testing, and adjusting.

While there are 5 Levels in whole, Level 1 is often ample for almost all of corporations making an attempt to create a better-designed gamified product and expertise. Higher Level Octalysis processes are actually there for organizations which are actually dedicated to creating positive that they push their metrics in the correct route, whereas bettering longevity of a gamified system. Many video games are solely standard for 3-8 months, however ones which have good Endgame design can final over many years and even centuries.

If the world adopts good gamification ideas and deal with what actually drives enjoyable and motivation, then it’s potential to see a day the place there is no such thing as a longer a divide between issues individuals should do and the issues they need to do. All individuals must do is to play all day. This manner, the standard of life for everybody shall be considerably increased, corporations will carry out higher as a result of individuals really need to do the work, and society total will turn out to be extra productive. This is the world that I’ve devoted my life to enabling.

Check out the video walk-through of the 8 core drives

Check out the video walk-through of Octalysis

Watch the entire movies within the Gamification Video Guide right here.

Get mentored by Yu-kai Chou

Octalysis Prime Gamification

Every week I hop on a convention name to show, reply questions, and provides suggestions to members of Octalysis Prime. If you need to take your Gamification observe to the subsequent degree, then come be a part of us.

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