Badgeville, one of the most successful gamification companies targeting enterprise, announced yesterday the launch of a “Behavior Lab” research facility, where they will be conducting research and development related to improving their current software.1 While this is one of the first R&D labs to be focused solely on gamification, Badgeville isn’t the first company to think of harnessing researching studies to improve their offerings. Below are three companies who cite game psychology and behavioral research as the underpinnings of their gamification solutions.
Gamification company PlayGen specializes in training and teaching weighty skills and lessons through what they call “serious games.” The topics covered include issues such as social and personal morality, data protection and IT security, and government defense protocols – in other words, not your typical video game topics. PlayGen however, claims that game environments present the perfect opportunity to explore such topics, as users are rewarded for using “their own theories to solve problems” and are “free to experiment and learn from their decisions.” By taking away the normal consequences and stress that accompany such issues in real life, users are free to explore various paths. PlayGen cites “proven cognitive techniques” as the underpinnings of their game design.
OfficeVibe focuses on applying gamification techniques based on behavioral research in order to make the office workplace a little more bearable. Their platform turns employees into agents, and assigns them daily missions such as stretching, giving out compliments, playing a quick game of ping-pong, or taking a group photo. The goal is to break up routines and encourage a more lively workplace. Their blog chronicles and dissects the latest research into workplace productivity, exploring topics such as whether music really helps people get more work done, and weighing the pros and cons of having a beer at work.
The Gametize team describes themselves as “passionate about game psychology and how it can drive proactive behavior.” Like OfficeVibe, their blog is a mix of the latest psychological research, combined with game design and software trends. Gametize bases their customizable platform off the idea that team competition, via coworker or family “challenges,” can spur positive behavior more successfully than trying to reach goals alone. So far they’ve had success in developing mobile apps to help encourage saving electricity, and have partnered with the National University of Singapore in an attempt to apply their research to get others to, well, research.
Perhaps fueled by such companies above, and the growth of the gamification industry, a new medical journal called Games for Health launched last year to highlight the increasing amount of game based research being conducted2. As can be seen from the examples above, there certainly seems to be a demand.
1. Badgeville Launches a New Behavior Lab – TechCrunch
2. Games for Health Journal – Liebert Publications