CompetitionLabs

Achievement Unlocked: Open Achievements Article

Achievements are ubiquitous – to the point of being obnoxious. One of the problems with achievements is that almost any activity could be termed an ‘achievement’, even though intuitively we know some are not worthy of celebration.

Lets explore what intuitively makes something covet-worthy.

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CELEBRATORY
An achievement isn’t necessarily the objective of an activity – collecting a badge after climbing Everest is obviously not the prime motivator for a mountaineer. A Victoria Cross celebrates personal bravery, but it isn’t the motivator for a soldier saving his comrades. In all cases the trinket, reward or badge, is far outweighed by the gravity of the accomplishment, so we need to think about how we make the Achievement the objective for participants. A good example of this are Scout Badges, where arguably the badge, as status symbol, is more important than the actual activity.

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APPROPRIATE
Walk into any children’s school across the globe and you’ll probably see posters with stickers next to the name of each child. Some will do anything to get their next sticker, with the poster serving as leaderboard and progress indicator at the same time. As time goes on, the stickers become more difficult to achieve simply giving one for a regular activity is intuitively not an achievement.

While we intuitively know that an adult shouldn’t need a celebration for a successful visit to the toilet, in the case of a toddler it makes a huge difference. Again, it is worthy to note that the objective isn’t the achievement, the achievement celebrates overcoming the obstacle.

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CONNECTED
Take a football supporter to the trophy cabinet of their team and they’ll tell you a story about each and every piece of silverware, no matter how small. The connection between the silverware and how they felt is intrinsic to the value of that piece of metal.

When designing achievements we should take this into account – its part of the story, it prompts memories, it lets people remember and celebrate again.

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RECOGNISABLE
Part of the social value of achievements is the ability to identify others who either have had the same experience or providing something to aspire to. Be that a chest full of medals, a cupboard full of trophies or a badge next to a name, achievements let us identify those who have succeeded. It also lets others identify their peers or who to strive to emulate.

When designing achievements we need to recognise they are not only for an individual but for everyone in a community.

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PRICELESS
Achievements are literally priceless – they can’t be gained through simple application of money. But they have intrinsic value to the individual and the community and are a source of pride.

When designing achievements we should keep in mind the famous Oscar Wilde quote, which can often creep in to gamification design:

A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”

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TIMELESS
Achievements need to endure – they are something that becomes part of an individuals identity (like the Victoria Cross etc) at the same time as there needing to be something new to strive for.

Having a platform like CompetitionLabs makes evolving achievements with experience (both the operators and individuals) easy – add some rules and voila. This lets you focus on the hard bet – designing really great achievements is an achievement in itself – it should be celebrated.

Achievement Unlocked:
Finished Achievements article!

CompetitionLabs welcomes Green Jade Games to its Gamification platform

Gamification specialists, CompetitionLabs, and gaming software developers, Green Jade Games, are pleased to formally announce their real-time engagement partnership.

The deal will see CompetitionLabs’ platform power all of Green Jade Games’ on-site and in-game gamification elements, including but not limited to real-time Tournaments and in-game Achievements and Missions.        

The first product to integrate CompetitionLabs’ powerful set of real-time gamification tools is expected to be Green Jade’s ground-breaking game, Hammer of Fortune, a unique slot game that combines the traditional ‘game of chance’ aspect of a slot machine with an element of skill-based gaming.

Benedict McDonagh, MD of Green Jade Games said, "Partnering with CompetitionLabs allows us to include incredible gamification features in our slots without having to divert resources to developing these features in-house at a time when we are 100% focussed on launching our first run of games.

Offering tournaments and missions within our slots, and rewarding players for completing them, brings another dimension to our slots and makes them even more exciting and entertaining to play and we look forward to seeing how players respond.”

Julian Steinwender, CPO for CompetitionLabs, had this to say, “Green Jade Games are a very welcome addition to the CompetitionLabs family. We are naturally delighted to be collaborating with a such an innovative and trailblazing partner, and one that shares our vision for the gaming space.”      

About Competition Labs Ltd

Launched in 2017, the London and Malta based software platform has been establishing itself as a leading solution for real-time data processing and engagement. The self-service platform is helping a growing list of operator and studio partners do more with their data to increase engagement.

Tournaments & Leaderboards – The Gateway to Gamification

In the first two posts, we talked about what Gamification is, and we identified that the first part of the puzzle is unifying the vast amounts of product and player data that we generate; data that might ordinarily go to waste.  

So, what we do next? 

I’m on top of the world, Ma

Thinking back to our original definition, we established that one of the core attributes of Gamification is adding a competitive element to an activity.  

If we take our cue from the sporting world, the most obvious way of introducing a competitive element to a product is to do it in the form of a Tournament.  

There are several reasons why the sporting world employs tournaments; in their rawest form tournaments are a simple way of sorting out the weak from the chaff, the good from the strong. Thus the winner of a tournament has bragging rights, a sense of achievement and, crucially, recognition from peers and others alike. It’s for these same reasons that tournaments are also appealing to customers, i.e. the marriage of peer rivalry with a medium to compare yourself against your competitors – in real-time – and the ability to share your progress with peers 

Making Tournaments work for you  

In much the same way that UEFA wants Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool et al. to win the Champions League, or the ATP/WTA want the tops seeds at Wimbledon to reach the final. Tournaments in the gaming industry should look to favour particular groups of customers and as many customers as possible, but without nullifying the competitive element too much.      

Again, taking our cue from the sports world, where world-class tournaments such as the World Cup, Tennis Grand Slams, Champions League, FA Cup, Darts, and many more are routinely set up to ensure that the ‘best’ and most marketable teams and players have the greatest chance of prevailing. Either by convoluted ranking or seeding systems, complex draws and the like, we too can ‘optimise’ Tournaments by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors and favouring the attribute(s) that produces the most engaging result(s).

However, unlike in our sports comparison, we need to take the opposite view to promote elite level athletes and teams and look to create a tournament experience that is accessible to everyone and gives as many competitors as possible the chance to participate at every level. We can do this by creating a dynamic and unpredictable tournament leaderboards.

For example, deposits, or ‘new money’ are the very lifeblood of the business and economic ecology for any transactional product, especially P2P products such as poker or indeed financial or betting exchanges. However, companies only make money when that deposit is spent on their website. 

With this in mind, a simple option would be to create a dual-scoring mechanism of deposits and turnover, where deposited money is weighted more favourably than spent money. For example, every unit deposited could be worth 50 points, whereas every unit of spend might be worth 5 points – in effect, we are saying that a deposit is worth 10x the same amount spent. If we get this ratio right, the tournament will naturally promote players who both deposit AND spend and ought to be a dynamic and exciting leaderboard for competing customers.

It’s no fun if the same players always win

If we wanted to ensure the tournament leaderboard is dynamic, we could look at creating variance in the leaderboard with simple structural methods, such as creating a multi-round/knockout tournament, or a more effective way could to be to weight favourable and/or more improbable events more profoundly in our scoring mechanism e.g. achieving your monthly step goal, hitting the jackpot on a slot machine, winning 200 pips on a Forex trade, being dealt pocket Aces in poker – all of which could be weighted in a scoring mechanism using CompetitionLabs’ adjustment factor functionality.     

Another way we can promote a dynamic and unpredictable leaderboard and promote inclusiveness is to limit the duration of the tournament to leverage short-term volatility in events. For example, we might base a tournament on the outcome of just ten events, or run the tournament for only one hour. In either case, we are handicapping some players will win out when the volume required to win goes beyond a critical mass of events or time.  

Show me the money

Of course, a crucial aspect of tournaments is in the rewards, i.e. the prizes we are offering for each position on the leaderboard. In general, we should be favouring a wide distribution of prizes to encourage competition throughout the breadth of the tournament leaderboard. However, it’s a fine line between paying out ‘flat’ and diluting the top-end prizes to the point where it not an attractive proposition for a competitor. It’s no good if the effort required to advance on the tournament leaderboard and achieve more significant prizes isn’t commensurate with the customer’s perceived (or real) time and money cost of attaining those advanced positions. Alternatively, if the next step on the leaderboard equates to £10 more in prize money, then the cost to the customer of achieving that next step shouldn’t exceed £10.    

Lastly, and in the age of compliance that we live in, we must be cognizant of the regulatory and social responsibility aspects of our activity, particularly so with Tournaments, and we must be smarter in the way we go about achieving our objectives. Stay tuned for the next part where we will look at the next level of Gamification, and arguably the most powerful feature of CompetitionLabs’ toolkit – Achievements & Missions.   

Unifying your Product and Player Data

In a crowded world where many Gaming operators utilise the same suppliers and promotional tools, tying it all together to create a superior customer experience and differentiate your brand is one of the biggest challenges today. 

Gamification can be the ideal way to differentiate yourself and drive higher engagement through a fun and personalised experience - but first, we must unify our data.

In the first part of the Gamification Puzzle, it was necessary to establish a definition of what it means before we can go on to identify and fit together the pieces of the puzzle that is Gamification.   

The First Piece of The Gamification Puzzle

As you might have guessed from the title, the first piece of the Gamification Puzzle is the unification of the masses upon masses of player and product data that you generate from various systems and suppliers into a usable format and under one single point of control.

Unification in of itself creates a 'rock and a hard place' situation for Gaming operators – the need to continually innovate and diversify their portfolio, and be compliant with regional Gaming regulations while presenting a seamless portfolio to their customers. Added to that, products from different suppliers have different features, expose various in-game events and often look entirely different for a customer. To top it off, being able to mix and match games and products across a broad portfolio into a coherent Gamification experience can be daunting or impossible for all but a few.

One of the driving forces behind the creation of CompetitonLabs was the ever-present headache of "how to combine seemingly incompatible products, games". - a Gamification engine that puts innovation back into the hands of operators and game studios by enabling access to rich data and in-game events to construct promotions and offers. 

By utilising a Gamification engine like CompetitionLabs, our partners can stitch together their diverse portfolios into an experience that is unique and compelling to their target customers, and one that is, above all, fun!

Whist we're were mainly talking about a single vertical in this post, the unification of data from all verticals should be of paramount importance. Those that successfully marry all product verticals into one seamless Gamification experience will be the ones that grow and thrive in today's marketplace.  

In the next part of the Gamification Puzzle we will discuss practical Gamification in more detail and provide examples of how CompetitionLabs' comprehensive toolkit can help you to achieve your Gamification objectives; starting with Tournaments – for many the gatekeeper and the first step towards effective Gamification.    

The Gamification Puzzle - Gamifi-what?

'Gamification' - anyone working in online marketing in the last few years will have heard the term. Often touted as "the solution to all Gaming company woes", but what is it?

At the heart of the 'Gamification Puzzle' lies the consolidation of disparate data sets that gaming operators generate. Effective use of this masses of data to inform your promotional, CRM and marketing efforts.  

Throughout this post and subsequent posts, we'll discuss the topic in more detail, including relevant practical examples how of CompetitionLabs can power your efforts to unlock the true potential of your player data to create an engaging experience that both complement and expand your promotional capabilities.

What is this thing we call 'Gamification'?

Finding some consensus can be tricky. The dictionary definition is:

Finding some sort of consensus can be tricky. The dictionary definition is:

The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service

A broad definition, and one that doesn't highlight the two primary considerations you need to plan for or the levels of detail beneath them.

The Gamification: involving promotional mechanics/competitions, scoring strategies and rulesets that power the players' experience and can delight and surprise them.

The Player Experience: involving the visualisation of the product or task to the customer or player interacts with on your brand

Gamification will use customer, product data (in-game or rich events) to create a promotional mechanic that addresses a specific commercial opportunity or creates an engaging player experience.

On the other end, 'The player experience' can be thought of as the unique brand experience you offer to your customer. It would be best if you were striving to handhold the customer through the task, ensuring that the ask is clear, easy to understand, and where the customer can view their progress at any time and, ideally, in real-time.

While frequently utilised together to create compelling experiences, they can be used to significant effect independently of each other as well.

Done right, Gamification is adding an extra level of enjoyment and engagement to the product or brand experience by applying an engagement element, single & multi-layered promotional mechanics or scoring strategies and displaying a front-end experience that complements the underlying activity in a fun and innovative way. 

In the next post we will discuss unifying your product and player data into one point of action and control - the first part of the puzzle - and how CompetitionLabs opens new promotional opportunities to support both acquisition onboarding and existing customer retention.