Gamification in Retrospect: 2021 Trends and 2022 Predictions

With 2022 fast approaching, we’re looking back to several notable gamification trends that have been widely adopted in 2021, and upcoming gamification trends in 2022. Previously noted as an activity of fun and leisure, games became the newest media to experiment with, racking in massive revenue and colorful clientele from every industry imaginable. From marketplaces that use gamification to increase their app-use time to luxury brands who collaborated with world-renowned games, this phenomenon happened in both Indonesia and on the global scale. In fact, gamification is a rapidly growing industry in the Asia Pacific region

The different kinds of gamification

The rapidly developing tech landscape has given rise to a wide array of audiences and platforms, and games become a strong contender for the most adaptable platform. With growing interests in games as a media, brands and game developers have crafted various gamified activities to keep their hold on the market. 2021 had brought brands into games, and games into brands, and there were several notable gamification trends to note. Based on the type of build, we noted at least 3 different types of gamification; embedded games, game-based builds, and gamified platforms.  

Embedded games (also known as in-app enhancements or in-app gamification) 

Built into an existing app, embedded game uses gamification to increase mobile app use time and retention. It has become one of the most popular types of gamification in 2021, as mobile application is one of the most direct ways to reach customers. This type of gamification focused on the existing user who already used the app, and nudged them closer into doing a purchase. 

This type of gamification could be aligned with other marketing efforts, and typically allows the users to win real-world benefits. For example, in-app gamification has been used by several high-end fashion brands like Gucci with Gucci Arcade, Burberry with B Bounce and Ratberry, and Dior with Dior Wechat Games. The games became an opportunity to acquire more users, offer more promotions, enforce their brand identities, and showcase the details of their products. These games had helped their brands to get an all-time high 50% increase in their online sales growth, 80% more sales in their brands’ websites, and also decreased activation cost.  

2021 also saw some of the biggest companies in Indonesia using in-app gamification. This is especially true in the e-commerce industry. The marketplace Shopee had made Shopee Tanam a regular event. Another marketplace, Tokopedia, had also launched Tokopedia Seru in their mobile app. Both were linked to existing marketing campaigns, and have successfully grabbed the attention of the customers. As the games allow people to get discounts, cash-backs, and other rewards, the customers promoted the game directly and indirectly. This created even more impressions for the marketplaces. 

Our Projects: Gopay Suwit and Populix’s PopQuest

Gopay Suwit, where users can play against friends to win cashback

Some of our own embedded game projects yielded similar results. For example, Gopay Suwit. Made for Gojek super app, Gopay Suwit was designed to get users to try the peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer of their e-money, Gopay. In order to play, users need to transfer a minimum of Rp1 through Gopay to their friends. Combining this system with a simple rock-paper-scissors game, Suwit would allow Gojek users to win cashback. As the game required friends to play with, it quickly became viral. Gopay Suwit was able to boost P2P activity by 40% on a daily basis — reaching 70% on its peak. 

PopQuest’s gamified data gathering yielded better quality data for lower cost

Another in-app gamification we did this year was PopQuest with Populix, a market research/insight company. PopQuest used a family-feud type of game with an analytics and reporting system for data-gathering. Turns out, the game improved the data collection process and data quality. The participants of PopQuest answered the survey more spontaneously, without overthinking or calibrating their answers. Other than better data, Populix also got better user retention and spent lower costs for the data collection process.

Needs some idea for embedded games? Try our playable demos here.

Game-based builds 

An opposite of the embedded games, a game-based build creates an entirely new gamified system. This particular gamification trend resulted in new software, platform, or app for the brand and their gamification. It may need more time and costs more, but game-based builds offer flexibility in the building phase. By creating gamification from scratch, developers could add various features that might not be possible in embedded games. As a result, this particular build might contain more features and functions. However, a game-based build should be accompanied by a strong product and marketing strategy, as the result would be compared to games in general.

As games could contain complex mechanics and tracking, you can develop game-based builds into various specializations. For example, we created a game-based assessment platform in 2021. We collaborated with educational experts from top Indonesian universities to develop a comprehensive and accurate assessment. The build contains a series of cognitive tests to assess the intelligence of primary school students. Using games for immersion and a controlled environment, the assessment could better review natural behaviors in various situations.

Through the game-based assessment, students can find their potential and get recommendations to develop their intelligence. It could also show the ability and thought process patterns of the student who tried it. By using the game-based builds method, squeezing all these features was possible. As the result, students, teachers, and parents got an expansive list of benefits from the assessment. 

Gamified Platform: virtual events and virtual learning, training, & development 

When building gamification with a gamified platform, we use an existing platform that allows customizable gamified content and tweaks. As the platforms are usually turn-key, this option takes less time to build. However, the platform might have limitations on what kind of gamified content they could host, except if you established a large-scale collaboration to create the gamification. We have discussed Roblox Gucci Garden Experience before. They collaborated to translate Gucci’s fashion items into a customized world in Roblox. The two-weeks event amassed more than US$3 million.  

With the gamified platform, it’s important to find a suitable platform for your goal. As Gucci was aiming to create an experience, using Roblox’ immersive platform worked well. But if you were using gamification for different, more specific purposes, then using Roblox might not be the best fit. 

Our Gamified Platform: Venhall

In Agate, we created 2 gamified platforms for 2 specific purposes; Venhall for a better virtual event experience, and Levio for better learning, training, and development in organizations. With this difference, we developed both platforms with different approaches. Venhall was designed to be light and accessible in all types of browsers, allowing participants of the event could easily join an event without needing to install or set up. Levio is made into a mobile app, for easier use and a better experience. 

In 2021, Venhall had hosted 5 events, accommodating 26.184 visitors, 574 exhibitors, and 345 booths. The theme of the event ranges from food and hospitality with Eastfood, health and dentistry with PDGI HUT 71, printing and manufacture in Printpackpro 2021, and higher education with Eduvex 2021. As the event went online, participants joined from across the globe, and we saw people from several Asian countries, the USA, the UK, and even from the African region.  

A snippet of Eduvex 2021 on Venhall

Despite the starkly different themes, Venhall’s ready-to-use template allows the organizers to tweak the venue according to their needs, and even make room for last-minute changes (which is honestly inevitable for every event). With a specialized platform, organizers can focus on the contents of their event, while our supporting crew handled the operational stuff. Participants could also enjoy a seamless digital interaction from their gadgets, ranging from chats to video calls with exhibitors at the booths or with presenters in the conference. 

Curious? Try out Venhall’s interactive 3D booth here.

Our Gamified Platform: Levio

Other than virtual events, virtual learning is also on the rise, and Levio saw some notable projects in 2021. Levio hosted a 3-month training program for the second Batch of Sekolah Kader PSI. It saw a 19% increase in participation compared to the previous batch. We adapted Levio to their program, and created a re-progression system for recurring participants. With this re-progression, those who joined the previous batch of Sekolah Kader PSI could pick up where they left off and continue their level progression from there. 

One of our clients, Berau Coal, created two different programs with Levio: Berau Wellness Program and Berau Softskills Training. Berau Wellness Program aimed to help mining employees of Berau to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The program gave them missions to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and monitor their weight. It involved several nutritionists and fitness coaches, with Berau’s own HR assisting the operations. With a bite-size learning system, it builds healthy habits through small, actionable steps. A clear and achievable goal in each step motivates employees to keep going and keep their healthy habits. One of the employees, Romadiansyah, lost so much weight that his pants size went 7 sizes smaller!

Berau BMI Wellness Program, which helped the staff establish a healthy lifestyle

Berau Coal also needs a learning management system (LMS) for their mining staff. As they can’t spend too much time sitting in front of a computer, they turned to Levio mobile app for training. This resulted in the Berau Softskills Training program. Using Levio’s content authoring tools, they converted their training materials for the app, allowing the staff to revisit it anytime and anywhere from their phone. Right now, Berau Coal is looking to expand their Wellness and Training program for more people in their company. 

Berau Softskill Training Program, with vehicle-themed avatar

Gamification Trends in 2022: Our Predictions 

2021 has shown that engaging people via an app is not only possible, but also feasible. Customers had become accustomed to an online-first approach in their activity, and improving the app-use experience will be necessary if one would like to stay as the top-of-mind to customers. Thus, we predict that embedded games would get even more popular in 2022.

With the rising influence of the metaverse, we also predict that in the next few years gamification would evolve rapidly. For example, companies are going to proactively search for or potential talent instead of doing inbound recruitments. They could distribute the game or assessment tools and get results in real-time. Companies could also explore the multiplayer feature, where the assessor and the candidate could “play” together in simulated settings. This way, recruiters get the chance to observe candidates’ behavior and response. 

Like the other types of gamification, gamified platforms would be highly-sought after in 2022. It may be even more popular than other builds, as it offers better ease of use. Virtual events and virtual learning will also grow despite the lessening physical restriction, as people are now aware of the benefits of going virtual. Virtual activities would also grow to be more interactive, and using a powerful gamified platform is one way to make it happen.

Are you looking to develop your own gamification? Agate’s Gamification Team has over 12 years of experience in building game-based solutions for B2B and B2C markets, and we’re ready to help you build your own! Contact us for a consultation here

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