Social aspects play an important role in gamification

Hamari, J., & Koivisto, J. (2013). Social motivations to use gamification: an empirical study of gamifying exercise. In Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Information Systems, Utrecht, Netherlands, June 5–8, 2013. image

Although gamification is most commonly connected with experiences such as mastery, competence, flow and goal commitment (Huotari & Hamari 2012Hamari 2013), it is quite evident that also social factors have an important role to play. Therefore, we wanted to empirically investigate how social factors such as social influence, getting recognized and reciprocal benefits contribute to attitudes and use intentions towards gamification services.

In order to investigate this phenomenon, we ran a survey in Fitocracy which is one of the largest services that gamify exercise. The results show that social influence, getting recognized and reciprocal benefits are strong predictors for attitude formation and use intentions as well as for intentions to recommend such services. However, our results hint that merely getting recognized does not necessarily lead into improved attitude and use intentions unless at the same time getting recognized leads into reciprocal benefits in the community.

The results also hint that alignment of service design (gamification) and the norms of the community can be essential for successful gamification. The role of the gamification, in form of points and levels, is thus to facilitates this social process within the community. Therefore, perhaps also mere “pointsification” can become “meaningful” when shared within a like-minded community geared towards same goals.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Information Systems. Download here.

Citation: Hamari, J., & Koivisto, J. (2013). Social motivations to use gamification: an empirical study of gamifying exercise. In Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Information Systems, Utrecht, Netherlands, June 5–8, 2013.

Abstract: This paper investigates how social factors predict attitude towards gamification and intention to continue using gamified services, as well as intention to recommend gamified services to others. The paper employs structural equation modelling for analyses of data (n=107) gathered through a survey that was conducted among users of one of the world’s largest gamification applications for physical exercise called Fitocracy. The results indicate that social factors are strong predictors for attitudes and use intentions towards gamified services.

Authors:
Juho Hamari
Researcher @ Game Research Lab – University of Tampere
http://juhohamari.com
@VirtualEconomy

Jonna Koivisto
Researcher @ Game Research Lab – University of Tampere