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DEFINITION of 'Gamification'

Gamification describes the incentivization of people's engagement in non-game contexts using game mechanics. Gamification leverages people's natural tendencies for competition, achievement, collaboration and charity. Tools employed in game design such as rewarding users for achievements, "leveling-up", and earning badges are carried into the real world to help motivate individuals to achieve their goals or boost performance. There are many examples of gamification, the most well-known perhaps being frequent flyer rewards programs offered by airlines. The important measurable metrics of success from gamification include: the level of engagement; influence; brand loyalty; time spent on an activity; and the game's ability to go viral.

BREAKING DOWN 'Gamification'

Any time game-like features or aspects of game design are introduced to non-game contexts, gamification is taking place. In other words, real-world activities are made game-like in order to motivate people to achieve their goals. Frequent flyer programs, loyalty rewards points, and frequent shopper points are all good examples of the everyday use of gamification. In all of these examples, customers are incentivized to keep 'playing' and racking up points by rewarding ongoing consumption.

Not all examples of gamification encourage people to spend. Nike+ is an app that encourages users to exercise by turning personal fitness into a game. Various non-profits sponsor friendly competitive events (-a-thons) in order to increase charitable giving. Biological science has been advanced by encouraging gamers to fold proteins. Educational platforms such as Khan Academy encourage learning through unlocking various levels and badges based on successful completion of learning outcomes.