August 24, 2013

Gamification News Roundup

The gamification field is growing quickly and changing almost daily. Below we’ve rounded up and summarized a few recent developments in the field worth noting.

Apple Hires Industry Consultant Previously Tied to Nike Fuelband

File this piece of news under the intersection of wearable tech and gamification. While Nike’s successful Fuelband device uses wearable fitness technology in order to monitor a user’s activity throughout the day, a large part of its success is certainly owed to the gamification elements built into the service. Not only can users set goals, but they can compare themselves in online activity leaderboards to other users or friends.

Now Jay Blahnik, a fitness consultant who played a key role in the Fuelband’s development has been hired by Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal.1 While the nature of his role is unknown – in keeping with Apple’s notorious secrecy – it’s a safe bet to assume that some type of wearable tech is in the works. If nothing else, this news is sure to keep rumors of an impending iWatch swirling.

Socialspiel Gaming Startup Names New CEO & Raises Capital

Social media game startup Socialspiel has raised approximately a quarter of a million dollars in additional funding from German investment group FLOOR13, according to TechCrunch.2 The studio has also brought on-board Mike Borras as the new CEO – he previously worked at Rockstar Games.

Socialspiel is a full game production company, and works with established brands to conceptualize, develop, and launch social media based titles. So far, they have worked with Deutsche Telekom and the international advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Their strategy of publishing both original games and developing games for established brands is designed to hedge their bets and hopefully avoid the trouble that solely original social game companies such as Zynga have faced in replicating early successes.

Gamification Luminary Rajat Paharia Publishes Book on Customer Loyalty

Rajat Paharia, sometimes referred to as the “father of gamification” (at least according to his own website bio), recently published a book on the subject entitled Loyalty 3.0 – How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification. In it, he seeks to shed light on how companies can harness big data in order to build customer loyalty using what he terms the “building blocks” of engagement.

Previously, Paharia has worked in technology design at Philips Consumer Electronics and IBM Research. He is the founder of the gamification company Bunchball, one of the first companies to develop a cloud-based gamification platform. The Huffington Post writes that his book is “reader friendly” and recommends it for anyone interested in the field of customer loyalty.3

Gamification Startup Global Foodie Prepares to Launch

A new gamification startup designed to “help you find what foods to try around the world,” is about to launch next month. Called Global Foodie, the mobile app will list the most popular foods to eat in different countries. When users try these foods, they’ll receive badges that can be shared with friends.

While the gamification market has grown wildly, apps such as Global Foodie will have to develop deeper services in order to remain relevant and provide value to users. As Travel site Skift points out, Global Foodie is hardly the first company to highlight popular foreign cuisines.4 At launch, Global Foodies will feature 200 foods in 10 countries.

Sources:

1. Apple Hires Key Person Behind Nike Fuelband – Wall Street Journal Digits Blog

2. Social Gaming Startup Socialspiel Recuits Another Ex-Rockstar Games Veteran – TechCrunch

3. The Man Who Coined “Gamification” Takes Loyalty to a New Level – The Huffington Post

4. 5 Travel Startups for Scoping Out New Cities – Skift

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