Gamification: the future of amusement parks?

gamification, amusent, parks
Gamification: the future of amusement parks?

Gamification is discussed more and more in communication and web marketing. In 2015, the market was estimated to be worth 2 billion dollars, but in 2020 has already reached 12 billion dollars. But what does it mean for the amusement parks? How do projects such as Super Nintendo World or digital games in Disneyland benefit from this concept? What is the secret behind the success of gamification and is it really the future of the theme pars industry?

Gamification is discussed more and more in communication and web marketing. In 2015, the market was estimated to be worth 2 billion dollars, but in 2020 has already reached 12 billion dollars. But what does it mean for the amusement parks? How do projects such as Super Nintendo World or digital games in Disneyland benefit from this concept? What is the secret behind the success of gamification and is it really the future of the theme pars industry?

What is gamification?

Gamification is the integration of certain game mechanisms into processes that aren’t necessarily intended to be playful. Introducing them makes the process more attractive, leads to the more efficient business model, new innovative solutions and higher user engagement.

Although this concept seems to be relatively new, the gamification techniques were used very commonly for a long time. How? All of the examples below are actually based on them:

  • loyalty programs, 

  • points programs,

  • forum statuses, 

  • opinion voting

  • and more.

However, what is new in 2021, are the opportunities offered by social networks and recent technological innovations: stable Internet connection, geolocation, photo and video capture, QR codes and the NFC chip readers. 

Today, on the web and social networks, gamification is most often translated into fighting for:

  • Rank: Depending on the number of posts or comments, several ranks can be assigned. 

  • Votes: Most platforms allow voting for content or comment, and that way users can be rewarded.

  • Badges: This is the case with Reddit, which offers badges based on the user's actions.

  • Points: Depending on certain actions, the user accumulates points. E.g., on Google Advisor you get more points if you share a photo of a place or if you leave a review. 

Gamification in Super Nintendo World

To best understand the specifics of making theme parks gamified, let’s take a look at the case study of one of the biggest Nintendo projects. Only open since the beginning of 2021, the Super Nintendo World theme park, located in Osaka, Japan, has quickly become one of the most desirable destinations for Super Mario fans around the world.

When visiting Super Nintendo World, players are able to enjoy interactivity with many elements such as:

  • consoles

  • figures

  • game mechanisms

  • hidden objects

  • virtual elements like blocks, keys, etc.

How does it actually work? The interactivity is assured by the "Power Up" bracelets, available in the shops for around $30. In the park, they can then trigger various effects, score points and keep track of the player's progress. The interactivity in the Theme Parks is one of the major pillars of the visitor's immersion in this imaginary universe.

Depending on the choice of Power Up, visitors represent one of the six teams linked to the main characters of the Mario universe (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Toad, Yoshi). The bracelet is linked via a QR code to the official "Universal Studios Japan" mobile application. Every 30 minutes, each team must score the most points in order to progress in the ranking. Check out this video to see how it actually works.

Challenges in Super Nintendo World

The Power Up bracelets allow visitors to take part in a challenge that sends them on a key hunt throughout the zone. The missions can vary: you may either have to drop a Goomba with a crank, bounce the fruits off a Koopa or quickly turn the alarm clocks off without disturbing the sleep of a giant Piranha plant. 

Other games of skill, made possible by digital surfaces, are also offered in the underground part of the land, including a challenge with a Bob-omb about to explode.

Obtaining a minimum of 3 keys gives access to a bonus level pairing visitors against a villain Bowser Jr. who stole the golden mushroom. Here again, coins can be collected in order to progress in the ranking

You can also collect digital stickers by being the best kart player in Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge, by collecting all the eggs in Yoshi's Adventure, and many more.

All these activities and gamification complement the existing Super Nintendo World offer and above all multiply the points you gather on a regular “Land”. And while Super Nintendo World does not require an additional fee to enter, the experience for visitors who don’t acquire Power Up bracelets will be somewhat limited. This makes customers want to go for the full experience - and thus pay more, of course.

Gamification in trampoline parks

The reason behind gamified trampoline parks is essentially the same as for any other industry. It makes users want to stay longer, come back more often and use complementary products.

 An example of such solution is Jumpilot that helps entrepreneurs to make their trampoline parks more engaging by creating an app where users can:

  • gather up points

  • achieve ranks and levels

  • engage in additional games and tasks

  • get a set of missions with a special reward system.

Jumpilot experts claim that this kind of solution tends to make people stay 65% longer, and 37% of them come back in the future. To learn how this solution was created and developed, feel free to check out our case study.

Advantages of gamification in theme parks

Analyzing the case of Super Nintendo World Some, it’s already possible to point out the benefits of using gamification in the amusement parks:

  • Providing an additional and attractive virtual layer to the physical world.  

  • Reducing the perceived waiting time at an attraction. 

  • Offering new challenges and a new form of recognition to its most regular visitors and fans. 

  • Facilitating the act of sharing the experience with friends via social networks, and by the Amiibo connectivity.

  • Engaging visitors into the journey and encouraging them to gain as much from the experience as possible. Obviously, a good experience makes people want to share it with others and come back in the future.

  • Encouraging to use the other products of Nintendo. 

  • Collecting information on customers' habits that can be helpful in creating valuable user research.

  • And of course, encouraging consumption (going to certain restaurants and shops using the rewards earned).

All of the above clearly leads to an increase in user loyalty and the company’s profit.

Impact of gamified theme parks

Although it is hard to say definitively whether gamification is the ultimate future of theme parks, one can certainly theorize that they will be at least part of it. 

Observing trends among modern users, it is not difficult to see that they are looking for products and services that offer a quick reward system. The newest research shows that almost 93% of marketers love gamification. This has to do with the need for instant gratification, and theme parks where clients are given specific goals with the promise of rewards, seem to meet this need very well.

Can you already think of a way to incorporate gamification into your theme park business? 

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Gamification: the future of amusement parks?

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