If you haven’t already noticed, games have become a widespread technological trend in every industry. From education to corporate onboarding to craft beer, gamification is rapidly becoming popular everywhere, because of its ability to make traditionally dull activities more enjoyable. Why? Because everyone loves games and getting to the next level in them. Games entice everyone’s internal competitive drive to push them to the highest levels of performance. This gamification trend is making programmers more and more valuable to all types of companies, as they find ways to take traditional business functions and merge them with digital gamification. Let’s take a look at four great examples of this trend:
Marriott has been rewarding travelers who frequently stay at their hotels for decades. The premise is simple: the more you stay, the more points you earn and the higher your loyalty tier. The popularity of mobile technology has led to the gamification of another facet of the Marriott customer experience, through a program known as Marriott Rewards Badges.
Marriott Rewards members start off with a simple member-level badge based on what type of Rewards member they are: base level, silver, gold or platinum. From there, members receive badges for things like staying at different hotel brands under the Marriott name, staying multiple times at a single brand, and donating to a charitable cause. Rewards members also earn points to go along with their badges which helps incentivize their activities.
So, how does this help Marriott? It makes people want to expand their Marriott experience. Instead of staying at the same Marriott each time, it encourages them to branch out and try new properties, new locations, and build loyalty with customers.
Are you the type of person who can’t stand going to the gym or “running for fun”? Interested in mixing some traditional elements of real time strategy games with real-world fitness? Missile Wars might be just the app for you. When players sign up and log into the app, other players can launch missile attacks at them. After the missile is launched, players have a 60-second timeframe in which they have to physically get out of the blast zone: this often requires some fast-paced running.
Players earn points for successfully blasting others with missiles; these points can then be exchanged for upgraded missiles with a wider blast range. The app’s developers keep a running leaderboard online so that you can see the top players and those who have recently launched an attack. This is a great example of how gamification took a traditional workout and made it fun and interactive, thus encouraging people to workout harder and more often.
This fun social app incorporates gaming elements to put a new spin on a centuries-old human habit: drinking beer! Users of Untappd can pull up a map of nearby bars and see which beers are on tap. You can also review and rate beers that you have tried and see what kinds of beers your friends are drinking. As you try different types of beers or begin to show a preference for a particular beer or style, you will earn badges and achievements.
To the beer drinkers the app is helpful, but to the bar (and restaurant) owners who sell the beer, this is a fantastic way to get their message (and menu) out to the internet. People who may not have ever come to drink beer at their establishment are now strolling through their doors to earn badges.
For developers who love coding but also have a competitive side, programming competitions and code challenges are an ideal choice. Code golf allows participants to compete against each other to see who can solve programming problems in the least amount of keystrokes. It’s a fun new spin on both code challenges and programming optimization. With such a high level of competition for programming jobs, coding games are a great way to fine tune your programming skill level.
These competitions are enjoyable for participants, but they are also useful for recruiting as well: many companies are now choosing to hire their developers based on how they perform in these kinds of code challenges because they want to make sure they hire the best programmers on the market. And in that regard, there is no better proof than actually programming.
The gamification trend is critical for companies in two ways. First, it’s a new, fun, and innovative way for them to reach their customers, build loyalty, and keep them coming back for more. Whether you’ve already started with gamification or you are still in the planning stages, it’s imperative that you have top-notch developer talent on the job so that you can create a fun game that drives interest in your brand.
Therein lies the catch, however: companies need more and more programmers who can expand their digital presence to include these gamified elements. Gamification to the rescue again! Companies can use the gamification of programmer sourcing, screening, and interviewing to hire the best programmers for these jobs. It’s a beautiful twist of recursion: using gamification of programming to hire programmers for gamification.
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