The difference between a ‘girl’s weekend’ and a ‘guy’s weekend’ is that women drink champagne, talk about everything, go to the spa and watch romcoms while men often do not actually see each other in person. Instead, they will spend the whole weekend playing a video game, say the one called Destiny. This just proves that gaming can be very social – even from the comfort of your couch.
Playing Games to Socialize
Games are fun and most people don’t pause to consider why that is the case. One of the first to ask what drives people to play was Richard Bartle- the inventor of one of the first-ever multi-player video games called “multi-user dungeon” or MUD.
Throughout the process of building and maintaining MUD, Bartle developed a theory about the types of people who play games. He postulated that the most common type of player is the “Socializer”. The Socializer who plays games because s/he enjoys interacting with other players and working with others to achieve common goals. According to Bartle, about 80% of people who play games are Socializers. This statistic is important because, in a very similar way, many people who attend events are there to network and socialize.
How Games Help Events
If people enjoy playing games as a means to socialize, and a majority of attendees come to events with the goal of networking and interacting with new people, then it follows that games can help better our events. Let’s explore a few of the many ways gamification can improve your events and your event technology specifically.
1. Gamification encourages attendees to interact with each other.
One of our customers encouraged their attendees to meet each other by using an interactive leaderboard in its mobile application. Attendees received points for using the event hashtag on their social networks, and the competition quickly became fierce as attendees fought to get to the top of the leaderboard. Competitors could tap on the names in the leaderboard to find contact information and Twitter handles for other attendees, and before we knew it, everyone was interacting with each other!
2. Gamification helps engage attendees who are easily distracted.
Event organizers must wage a constant battle against the smart phone. It is challenging to compete for attendees’ attention when they have an easy mental escape right at their fingertips. One way to help keep your attendees focused is to bring the game to them. If you provide attendees with an engaging application that is relevant to your content, everyone wins!
Think your audience is too professional to fall into the Candy Crush trap? Chances are, you’ll actually be competing for their attention, too. In fact, game designer Jane McGonigal states in her book Reality is Broken, that 61% of CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives say they take daily game breaks at work. Additionally, she discovered that 1 out of 4 gamers is over the age of 50.
Aaron Price, the co-founder of Livecube, puts it well, stating “if you think about the reality of sitting in the audience at an event, you pick up your phone and the event organizer has about 10 seconds to capture your attention before you’re distracted by Candy Crush… Using game mechanics in the event app itself gives people incentives to stay focused, so people are adding valuable content instead of just occasionally tweeting, occasionally mentioning something, [and] probably misspelling a hashtag.”
3. Gamification builds your event’s social media hype.
In the leaderboard example above, we mentioned that gamification encourages attendees to interact with one another. When attendees begin tweeting at each other, it not only gets people who are actually at the event to start talking about it, but it also makes your event more visible to the outside world.
One way to encourage social media sharing of your event is to include Twitter integration with your event application. Then attendees can log in with their Twitter handles and tweet directly from the application. If an attendee is tweeting from the event application instead of the Twitter application itself, you can control his/her newsfeed, filtering it to include only tweets relevant to your event’s hashtag. Prevent hashtag misspellings by including the hashtag automatically for your guests. You keep your attendees focused, all while encouraging them to promote your event!
Gamification can be a powerful part of your next event. Dr. Stuart Brown, a scientist and psychiatrist who works for the National Institute for Play states that “play is not the opposite of work”. If you still need inspiration on why game play is important, check out his Ted Talk here.
Are you wondering how High Attendance gamification can help your next event?