Why Player Types Matter in Gamification

Tell me how you behave in a dungeon and I’ll tell you who you are. I’ll tell you what you like. And also how you want to be rewarded.
We all belong to categories: man or woman, tall or short, blond or dark-haired… And when it comes to games, we also follow some patterns.
During a gamification process, knowing your target audience and how they behave will allow you to understand what they expect. Continue reading Why Player Types Matter in Gamification

Why so serious? Because it’s fun!

Save the princess, slay the arch villain, explore the whole map… that’s all so commonplace. With the advance of gamification, we can use a game for many other purposes. Including serious stuff, in the manner of the aptly named “serious games”.

Continue reading Why so serious? Because it’s fun!

Character sheet: Richard Bartle, the Dungeon Master

Richard Bartle is the father of online role-playing games (RPG). A story that began with the creation of the MUD series. He was also the first to categorize the different types of MMO players, a theory that should be at the base of any reflection about gamification.

Continue reading Character sheet: Richard Bartle, the Dungeon Master

Unexpected gamification: the sales madness

They make you buy stuff, and you think it’s so cool! Yep! Woot.com is a retail website that uses a very efficient strategy to make sure the buyer comes back every day. So efficient that they can afford to be very liberal with their product descriptions.

“One Deal, One Day.” That’s the motto of the retail website Woot.com. The principle is simple: each day, one new product is available at a very competitive price. Only one product per day. In a limited quantity. From midnight to 23:59:59.
First rule of woot.com : One product every day.
Second rule of woot.com : One. Product. Every. Day!
Third rule : Every product is available in a limited quantity.
Fourth rule : You have no way of knowing what product will be on offer tomorrow.
Fifth rule : Sales run from midnight till 23:59:59.
Sixth and final rule : If it’s your first time on woot.com, you have to fight!

(Ok, they haven’t gone so far (yet?..). The last rule is just a movie-inspired joke.)


The ingenious business model of woot.com (acquired by Internet giant Amazon) has been a hit and has rightfully earned its badge of originality.



What is it about these rules that makes customers come back again and again to the site?

The first rule creates desire. If you want to jump at the chance of a good deal, you have to get the product on offer today.

2nd rule: Same thing. It’s the same rule.

3rd rule: The limited quantity creates a feeling of scarcity. If you want the deal, you have to hurry, you have to be there first.

4th rule: No one can know what deal will be proposed tomorrow. So your curiosity is piqued. At one minute past midnight, you’ll enter the URL in the search bar (yeah, that’s a bit old school), just to see what today’s deal is.

5th rule: From midnight to midnight. The rules are simple. They apply to everyone and favour no one (even though the insomniac will have an edge on the narcoleptic).

6th rule: We already told you we made this rule up.

From a “gaming” point of view, since that is what we are interested in here, we find some well-known mechanisms of video games:

  • The daily quest of a RPG: If you want to get bonus experience points – or strike a bargain – you have to come back every day.
  • Learning through experience: Day 1: you come at 6pm. Too late, out of stock. Day 2: 11am. Same thing. Day 3: you set your alarm to 5am and buy a drill that you will never use in your life, will lend to a neighbour some day and never see again. But you finally made a good deal!
  • The random aspect: Will you be there on time? Will the product be interesting? This random element exists in most games.
  • Curiosity will make you come back: What does the next stage or level – the next product – look like?
  • The rules: Simple, self-explanatory, same for everyone.


So quite simply, Woot.com created mecanisms which effectively influence consumers and which Yu-Kai Chou labels as (1):

  • Scarcity
  • Curiosity
  • Impatience
  • Unpredictability
  • Creativity of the customer in developing the best strategy

About this last point, see this link: a whole internet page written by a “fan” to explain the best way to get a particular product.

A tutorial! A tutorial which is quite long and detailed, by someone who is not one of your employees, and dedicated to how to behave on your website!

This is all you want to achieve when promoting your brand: creating a community, addiction, sense of belonging, etc. It’s your CEO/CMO dream come true!


Last but not least: the tone and language on Woot.com. It is funny, light, ironic, and sometimes even disparaging about the item of the day.

As Yu-Kai Chou says, having a nice tone is a good thing. But if it’s not part of a whole strategy, the impact will be minor.

In this case, it’s all about fun and addiction. The customer wants to know what the product is and feels compelled to make a good deal, today, whatever the product is. A kind of shopping hysteria. So the benefits of hilarious product descriptions that make people come back just to read them largely make up for the tiny fraction of potential customers who might be put off by the disparaging tone.


Brilliant, isn’t it?


(1) Yu-Kai Chou, Actionable Gamification: Beyond points, badges and leaderboards, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.

Gamification: what’s it all about?

You’re lying comfortably on your couch. From there, you see the pile of dishes stacked in your sink. Problem: between the kitchen and you, there is an X-Box (or a PS4, we’re not judgemental).

The question pops in your head: Do I want to do the dishes or should I rather level up in Skyrim / loot new weapons in GTA?


Let’s be honest, if you pick the the answer “dishes”, you won’t enjoy it much.

But if while doing the dishes, you could get a level and unlock the skill “improved saucepan scrubbing” or get a “Sponge +2 immune to ham fat”?

And if you had an interactive timer linked to a leaderboard to challenge your friends on a “washing up” race?


A sponge in its natural environment. Not really sexy, nor useful for washing up the dishes.


A sponge in its urban environment. Still not sexy, but very useful for washing up.


Not a sponge at all. Very sexy but more useful to behead dragons than scrub burnt grease off.


Granted, you may still choose video games. But admit at least that doing the dishes would be a lot less dull.

And that’s what gamification is all about.


On principle, this can work for everything:

  • Make potential customers discover your product, site, app.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Do the dishes.
  • Create a community around a common objective and keep this community active and inter/intra-connected.

Beyond the principle, it can have a concrete impact on…

Your website, your company, your resume, your work place: long story short, on everything that affects you in your own life !

And this is want we want to talk about in this blog.

Welcome to the wonderful world of GAMIFICATION! (CAPS LOCK and exclamation mark, yeah!)