Game mechanics encourage users to engage with your content on a much deeper level. Users will stay longer, come back more often, and generate more revenue for you. Here is a Glossary for Gamification terms.
- Awards: Items granted as merited or due. As the creator of your own virtual economy, you create the scenarios in which users will be given awards. The word itself is from the word “to look at,” and your users will definitely want to show off the awards they earn.
- Badges: “A distinctive token, emblem or device worn as an insignia of rank, office or membership in an organization.” Don’t think you need any stinkin’ badges? Oh, you most definitely do. Just imagine all those badges being showcased by proud members of your online community…brings a tear to the eye.
- Game Mechanics: The elements of a game that allow for a fun and engaging user experience. Including, but not limited to goals; points; collecting badges, awards, trophies, etc.; rankings and leaderboards; levels; exchange of virtual goods and currencies; and feedback loops.See also this widely used definition: Game mechanics are rule based systems / simulations that facilitate and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms. (Theory of Fun for Game Design, by Raph Koster)
- Gamification: The process of increasing user engagement and/or participation by integrating game mechanics into your site, service, etc. (i.e. “Our company’s online community has grown and increased its levels of participation ever since we underwent the process of gamification.”) See also:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification. Related Terms:
Gamify: To implement the process of gamification. (i.e. “We should definitely gamify our site!”)
Funware: A term originally coined by Gabe Zichermann, refers to those applications that use game mechanics in non-game contexts. We’re not big fans of the term ourselves, but it’s out there and you should be aware of it and what it can do for your business.
- Leaderboards: An important game mechanic for driving user engagement. Let’s face it, whether you were on the chess team or played football, everyone likes to win. What makes winning even sweeter? A giant board letting everyone know that you are the winner and how much you kicked their butts by…in an entirely friendly and sportsmanlike manner of course.
- Levels: “Level Up!” Words to make a gamer’s heart melt. By integrating levels into your virtual economy, your users will be encouraged to return to complete tasks, achieve goals and much more all in the pursuit of the next level.
- Points: A device used for scoring or counting. Whether you enable users to earn points for creating content, voting, commenting, signing in, volunteering, talking about your company over social media, or any number of activities, they will keep coming back to your website in the pursuit of point supremacy.
- Virtual Currency: The fuel driving transactions and exchanges in your virtual economy. Can be completely virtual, or users can use real money to purchase a virtual currency for online transactions.
- Virtual Economy: Take a real economy and get rid of all the non-fun parts. Or, the exchange and consumption of virtual goods and services using virtual currency and loyalty points by utilizing game mechanics in order to create user engagement, incentivize virality and enable user monetization. (i.e. “Maybe I would have paid attention in Econ class if it were as fun as this website’s virtual economy!”)
- Virtual Goods: Wikipedia says they are non-physical objects that are purchased for use in online communities or online games. They have no intrinsic value and, by definition, are intangible. We say they are awesome, customizable items you can create and add to your virtual marketplace for purchase or exchange. If you’ve ever sent someone a gift on Facebook, you know what we’re talking about.