What is Applied Game Design?

game-designerHave you ever wondered why game designers hate the word Gamification? This well-intentioned term has become synonymous with the practice of using game mechanics to manipulate behavior – and then claiming the results have “the addictive power of games.”

Experienced game designers see through this.  They would NEVER focus on game mechanics upfront in their design process. Game designers craft compelling experiences with rules, goals, and systems — and bring those experience to life with prototyping, play-testing and iterative experimentation.  They use game mechanics and progression systems to support the intrinsic pleasure of the core experience – NOT primarily to manipulate behavior and drive compliance.

If you want to harness the true power of games,  look beyond easy answers, behavioral manipulation and Skinner boxes – and think instead about crafting an experience that builds real skills and drives sustained engagement — whether or not that experience looks like a game.

Applied Game Design is about developing engaging products from the ground up by thinking like a game designer – not a loyalty marketer. It’s about creating experiences that make your customers better than before by building their skills, knowledge and relationships in ways they care about.

Skill-building is what ACTUALLY drives sustained engagement – not layered-on progress metrics. Those can work for awhile as a novelty — but ultimately progression mechanics like points, badges and levels will backfire and create clutter unless they’re tied into a system that moves the customer towards meaningful mastery.

If you’re interested in Applied Game Design — and working on an innovative project — please click here to take our Customer Insights Survey so we can better understand your needs and pain points. Everyone who completes the survey will receive a FREE ebook with our best Applied Game Design tips and tricks. Here’s that link.