How will gamification change the future of our work?

Shall we play a game?

Don’t worry if you can’t pull yourself away from those little colorful buttons on your phone’s screen during your lunchbreak, your subway commute, or while waiting at the gate at the airport – you’re in excellent company. At the moment, yours is a passion shared by millions of game enthusiasts. It’s estimated that nearly half of cell phone users in Europe belong to this group, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

First the ships are loaded, and then come the trucks. Finally, it’s time for air freight, and with a bit of skillful maneuvering you’ve added up to 15,000 points to your score. But don’t rest too easy! If you want to rank among the best in the online game “Container Crush,” recently released by cargo-partner, you’re going to have to make an effort – just like in real life.

Billions from billions of colorful pixels

The numbers speak for themselves: If you throw all sales in the videogame industry into one big pot – including computer games, consoles, gaming apps, game subscriptions, and microtransactions – you arrive at a total global turnover of around $85.4 billion in 2020. That doesn’t even include the required hardware.

This figure is doubly impressive given that the industry, which has not even turned 70 yet, is still just a generation old, and the fact that poorly programmed mass market products in the 1980s almost led everyone to give up on the world of bouncing pixels. 

In the meantime, the industry is now worth billions, and everything is a gaming device: your desktop, laptop, cell phone and dedicated console. Mobile devices in particular have had a significant impact. That’s no surprise given the fact that the market has nearly doubled just in the last 10-15 years.

Do you recall?

By the way, can you remember your first experience with a keyboard and joystick? Even today the sound of Atari’s “Space Invaders” fills countless arcades, but quite a few other arcade games are celebrating a new, romanticized comeback with retro editions. The success of uncannily nostalgic series like “Stranger Things” have certainly had a hand in this trend. But even the ‘90s started off with a diverse array of sequels and spin-offs of Nintendo’s legendary plumber, “Super Mario.” His iconic moustache was a major part of many childhoods before a number of 3D adventures and first-person shooter games introduced an entirely new dimension to the gaming world at the start of the new millennium.

Aside from realistic sports simulation games, highly complex role-playing games (“World of Warcraft”) and motion control (Wii), a growing number of management games have been appearing for some time now. And the logistics sector provides quite a bit of inspiration – intentionally or unintentionally – for many game designers.

Develop. Manage. Supply.

Who hasn’t themselves (or with their children, nieces and nephews) settled colonies, built entire cities, designed transportation networks, organized train timetables, stocked shelves and warehouses or collected a bunch of stuff with a forklift?

Alongside a number of “Tycoon” offshoots (e.g., “Railroad Tycoon”) and “Sim City,” “Factorio” is a game that currently commands an enthusiastic and growing community. The factory game whisks you away to a brand new planet where you’re kept busy exploiting resources, planning urgently needed infrastructure and maintaining the logistical processes at the same time. Almost like the highly complex supply chains that keep our global economy running. You can well imagine that even “real” logistics professionals find this a thoroughly entertaining challenge.

Gamification is not just a trend anymore!

This already well-established and powerful segment of the leisure industry has now managed to find another point of entry into the economy. Still just an advertising buzzword as recently as a few years ago, “gamification” these days is much more than “just” a trend. In a nutshell, it takes advantage of the simple fact that every one of us would rather be having fun than forced to do something boring or monotonous. To harness people’s play instinct in this way, some of the mechanisms used in games are being repurposed to newly design otherwise tedious processes to be more attractive, motivational and successful. Productive side-effect: individual as well as collective performances noticeably improve.

Want some examples? Game-based learning, awarding points for accomplishing tasks on your to-do list, voting tools for group prioritizing, collecting karma points for volunteering in the community, and much, much more. Your imagination is the limit. 
 

Is it all just a game?

Of course, even clever gamification projects have their limits. Critics note that success depends to a very great degree on the target group’s attitude. It is also reasonable to ask whether things are being oversimplified, professionalization is being pushed into the background or playfulness is now becoming routine.

Regardless of what you as an individual may think, the crossover between business applications and digital gaming culture is set to grow. You have to admit that both sides – to stick with the “gamer slang” – will only achieve their best results in a so-called “flowstate” and with maximum “player engagement.” And when you manage not only to solve the task at hand, but even perfect it – then it's high score galore.

Have you managed to crack the high score in our game "Container Crush"?

Want more? Here are our gaming charts:

Mashinky 

Trans Road USA 

Transport Fever 

Boxxle 

Transport Tycoon