Gamification and VC's spotty bubble

Gamification and VC's spotty bubble

Summary: LinkedIn's soaring share price after the company's recent IPO is only the most obvious example of the current boom in Silicon Valley. Leading the hype is "gamification", the use of game mechanics in non-game business applications.

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LinkedIn's soaring share price after the company's recent IPO is only the most obvious example of the current boom in Silicon Valley. Leading the hype is "gamification", the use of game mechanics in non-game business applications.

One of the proponents of gamification is Tim Chang, a partner with Norwest Venture Partners in Palo Alto. His successful investments include mobile games developer ngmoco (acquired by DeNA, Japan's leading social games publisher) and Flash games developer Playdom (acquired by Disney), two of the leaders in social gaming. Chang now focuses on investments in mobile, gaming and digital media, and leads NVP's investment practice in China and Asia-Pacific.

Now, I'm a sceptic about gamification. Sure, it can add a layer of fun to a product or even to a boring business process. But some proponents describe it as getting customers "addicted" to the process, as if that's a good thing. I can't help but think that if you rely on attracting customers through gamification then you're relying on what could well be a short-term gimmick rather than a sound, businesslike long-term strategy.

Tim Chang is our guest on Patch Monday this week. We discuss gamification, as well as the internet venture capital scene more generally. He agrees that gamification can be problematic if it's just a shallow implementation done without any business goals in mind. On the question of whether the internet boom could turn into a second dot-com bubble, he thinks it's more of a "spotty bubble"; only a bubble in parts.

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Running time: 27 minutes, 23 seconds

Topics: Social Enterprise, Banking

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust.

He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit trap, clear a jam in an IBM model 026 card punch and mix a mean whiskey sour.

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  • Hi Stilgherrian,
    I am an MBA intern working at Badgeville this summer and I think you hit some strong points in your article. The idea behind implementing game mechanics should not solely be to attract more customers to your website. Defining your business objectives and then properly aligning Gamification tactics to these objectives is what is key. Game mechanics allow the company to properly award users and obtain deeper user engagement. I would encourage you to check out our website at www.badgeville.com and reach out to us if you would like to read more about increasing user loyalty and engagement.
    Badgeville