Gamification in sport – how can it push people to physical activity?

Attracting people to physical activities has always been challenging. However, in the last few years entertainment market had to develop brand new solutions for old problems. Monotonous and repeatable actions easily make Gen Z and Gen Alpha representants bored and push them to alternative methods of spending free time. And here’s how gamification can help – how to use it to promote sport and physical activities?

What is gamification in sport?

According to the Global Data report, global video games market reached $130 billion in 2018, and mobile gaming made up $55 billion of that number. Moreover, it is expected to hit $300 billion by 2025. These figures prove increasing popularity of gaming apps and products. Thus, as Gen Z and Gen Alpha have been brought up with technology, introducing some gaming elements into sports can turn out to be a game changer.

 

Gamification is a concept combining video games with physical activities. It is powered by a number of latest technologies, such as IoT, VR, AR or AI. Some of the products are also equipped with sensors monitoring physical activity and body parameters. The mechanisms of gamification solutions are based on elements such as:

  • avatars
  • medals
  • challenges
  • virtual awards
  • scoring systems 
  • points
  • badges
  • rankings.

All the elements above make the sport much more appealing and engaging. Thanks to them, people start to perceive even monotonous activities as appealing and entertaining.

Examples of gamification apps

To show you how effective is gamification, let’s take a look at one of the most iconic examples. Pokemon Go app released in 2016 was a state-of-the-art physical activity gamification solution of its time, achieving 232 million players in only one year. A smart system of achievements, competitions and events makes it one the biggest commercial successes of all time, earning $950M only in the first year. According to Niantic’s Archit Bhargava, global lead for marketing, chasing Pokemons activated players to the point where they had collectively walked 8.7 billion kilometers. 

 

Below you can find even more examples of successful gamification apps dedicated to sportsmen:

  • Nike+
  • Strava
  • Endomondo
  • Fitbit
  • Zwift.



Why to use gamification?

According to the Emerald research, gamification is so effective because it is able to satisfy a few psychological needs: competence, autonomy and relatedness. In term of psychology, this is how it actually keeps the user engaged and increase their motivation. But to keep it more simple and grounded, let’s answer the question: why it’s worth applying gamification in sports projects?

 

  • It’s fun. We love games, and getting involved in them is simply a part of human nature. Winning and losing are events that make us motivated not only to repeat the action but also to improve our performance. 
  • It brings satisfaction. Monitoring activities and progress, combined with being awarded for achievements, compensate for feeling of being exhausted with joy and pride. 
  • It improves health. Gamification simply initiates building positive habits. Moreover, in the era dominated by technology, it may be the only chance for the youngest generations to stay healthy and involved in sports.
  • It increases loyalty. As thanks to gamification people are getting more involved in a game, they’re willing to stay longer in the target app. This is an opportunity for all marketers who can use its potential to promote a bunch of related products or services.
  • It’s widely available. Technology can be used everywhere where mobile devices are. Thanks to the Internet the user is no longer bound to physical location and players from all around the world can join the game, which makes the experience even more exciting.
  • It creates communities. Some gamification-based apps can be used in a way similar to social media and enable users to compare their activity with others. This functionality gives an extra boost of motivation and is able to engage even a couchie.

Gamification case study: Jumpilot

To provide you with a vivid example of how gamification works in real life, let’s take a closer look at our latest project. Jumpilot is an IoT solution developed by the Oakfusion team for our Swedish client – the company owning an amusement park. 

 

The client contacted us in order to solve one of the most common problems of such enterprises – low engagement and loyalty of visitors. Building a gamification-based device which was measuring guests’ activity helped to keep them more entertained and engaged. Thanks to this, they were spending more time in the park and their visits became more frequent. The solution helped also to increase profit and gain a competitive advantage.

 

In order to learn how Jumpilot was actually invented and created, feel free to check our case study where you will find all the details. 

How to build gamification products?

However, building an effective gamification app is not that easy. The product must be designed carefully and include elements appealing to the target audience. It should be also kept quite simple in order to maintain a positive UX experience. Gamification goals must also be measurable and achievable to make sure that users will not give up too fast. Moreover, at Oakfusion we believe that one of the most powerful elements is competition, and we try to apply it in all of our products of a kind. This is how we make gamification not only a fun alternative but also a powerful business tool.

 

If you’re interested in developing your own gamification-powered app, feel free to contact us. Based on our experience, we will advise you on the best-fitting solutions and help you to build a product which will perfectly match your business needs.

Comments are closed.