Friday, November 2, 2012

The Game Experience

Game mechanics (aka gamification) of sites has for some time become a necessity rather than a luxury. Everyone is talking about retention, engagement and acquisition, but are Points and Badges enough to give an answer?
Apparently it is not.

Gamification is all about manipulating the behavior of the on line users, in a way that would benefit both user and service provider. Effective behavioral influence requires subtlety and sophistication. Consumers need to be motivated and not lured. While trophies are nice to show, they need to represent a true achievement.

Game theories have long been addressing the issues of motivation and creating the economics of behavior.

The well-known prisoner’sdilemma addresses the economy of fidelity by imposing different rules of engagement; a reasonable player is bound to a particular behavior in order to climb up the ladder of success.

Equally celebrated, is the Nash Equilibrium used to analyze strategic interactions of a multitude of decision makers.

Both of the examples above assume the intelligence and reasonability of the players, and comprised of bona fide motivators.

Data services such as sites, telecommunication, enterprise applications etc. usually contain a range of challenges that flex and differ depending on the current situation of the participating user. In a way, much like board games, the rules of engagement differ in dependence of the state and history of the user.

To match such an elaborate engagement system, the Markov chain proves to be best accurate.

The Markov chain is a mathematical system that describes transitions between a finite (or countable) number of states. This implementation provides the robustness and flexibility of a multitude of challenges that are either with or without accumulation of memory.

Perhaps the best known implementation of the Markov chain is in google’s PageRank algorithm, although it can be manifested in as simple as a board game.

So can the Markov chain be used for site gamification?
Apparently it can. 

For more info: Tierx

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