Gamification or serious games often aim to transfer specific knowledge or achieve a change in behaviour. Repeating exercises or the message to be conveyed is necessary to achieve this goal. In serious games and gamification, achievements with associated badges are often applied. This article answers the question: how do you generate loyalty with badges in gamification?
What are achievements and badges in gamification?
If you have ever played a video game, you have undoubtedly dealt with what is often referred to as ‘achievements’, and badges. Almost every game has them. And if you can’t imagine exactly what that looks like, you might also think about getting a sticker for completing the weekly assignments at primary school or achieving the status of ‘sales assistant of the month’. Badges serve as an appreciation for completing a task and also motivate you to get started on the next task.
The idea of incorporating badges into games does not come out of the blue, of course. Badges are also used in different fields of work for exactly the same reason: to show appreciation and to motivate you.. We also know that badges indicate different rank levels. For instance, the best badge in a scouting club represents the most experienced scout. In addition to badges to indicate rank, there are also badges for completing a special achievement. These are mainly in the form of an award.
The same forms are used in gamification and serious games. Competitive games often use a ranking with a corresponding badge to indicate how good a player is. Think of bronze as the lowest rank, gold as the middle rank and elite/diamond as the highest achievable rank. Usually, badge ranking is also displayed on a leaderboard. Achievements such as completing a level or certain objective can also be rewarded with specific badges. This is more about collecting badges during the game.
What are the benefits of achievements and badges in games?
As mentioned earlier, achievements and badges are used to generate customer loyalty. This means that it is an incentive for a player to replay the serious game or complete the next challenge. This is important to sufficiently transfer the knowledge or to realize the desired behavioural change. Here are the three reasons why badges work and how they increase customer loyalty:
- Status: if a player has achieved a certain rank or milestone and receives a badge for it, this becomes a status symbol. Especially when fellow players can also see which badges you have. Compare it to a policeman who also has an official police badge. To maintain the status, the player is motivated to continue playing, targeting the next badge.
- Competition: the achievements and badges create a form of competition that is highly engaging. In gamification, it is a challenge to have more badges than your fellow player. Of course, more time needs to be put into the game for this. Players will come back to make sure they are above their friends in the rankings.
- Motivation: a badge is nothing more than a reward for completing a challenge, completing a level, or placing on a leaderboard. A reward gives the player a feeling of euphoria and motivates them to continue playing.
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How do you successfully apply achievements and badges in gamification?
Now that you know what achievements and badges are in gamification and why they help to motivate players, it may well be an art to successfully implement them. Of course, the implementation of badges differs per gamification or serious game project. However, in general, there are three important factors for the successful implementation of in-game achievements and badges.
Make the achievement or badge challenging and meaningful
This means that there must be the right balance between challenge and feasibility. The player must have the feeling of being able to get the badge without having to play for hours. On the other hand, the player also has to feel that he has to make an effort to get the badge. This makes the badge meaningful and gives it value.
Give players insight into the badges of fellow players
Nothing is more fun than showing your fellow players how many badges you have. It creates a sense of status and promotes competition. As soon as you see that a fellow player has certain badges that you don’t have, you will be motivated to play more often.
Use different variants of badges
As mentioned earlier, there are different types of badges and achievements in serious games. In order to increase the retention of players, it is good to use different types of badges. Think of a badge of your rank on the leaderboard and other badges for completing challenges. What works well is to motivate players to make their own choices in the game or to implement optional challenges.
An example of optional challenges can be found in the serious game Underground. In addition to completing the levels in the game, robots also need to be collected. It is possible to complete a level without collecting every robot, but players are motivated to play the level again to collect all robots for optional rewards. This technique ensures that they eventually play more often and for longer periods.
Ultimately, the fun factor of a game determines to what extent someone will continue to play. In-game badges and achievements provide more gaming fun. Would you like to know what other factors make serious games or gamification fun? Then take a look at this article.
Would you like to know more about serious games, gamification or the use of achievements and badges? Please contact Tim Laning to discuss it: