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 huge 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 a number of reasons why tournaments are employed in the sporting world; in their rawest form tournaments are a simple way of sorting out the weak from the chaff, the good from the strong, and thus the winner of a tournament has bragging rights, a sense of achievement and, crucially, recognition from peers and the general public 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 want 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 (because they are more marketable and will generate bigger viewing figures in the final) Tournaments in the gaming industry should also look to favour certain 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 promoting the 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 dynamic and unpredictable tournament leaderboards.

For example, for any transactional product, and especially P2P products such as poker or indeed financial or betting exchanges, deposits, or ‘new money’ are the very lifeblood of the business and financial ecology, however, businesses 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 can 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 highly 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 say that a tournament is based on the outcome of just ten events, or that the tournament will run for only one hour; in either case we are handicapping the 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 greater prizes isn’t commensurate with the customer’s perceived (or real) time and money cost of achieving those advanced positions. Or, put that more simply, 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 world where many Gaming operators utilise the same suppliers, games and product portfolio and promotional tools, tying it all together to create a superior customer experience and differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace is one of the biggest challenges today. 

Gamification can be the ideal way differentiate yourself and drive greater 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 actually 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, whilst presenting a seamless portfolio to their customers. Added to that, products from different suppliers have different features, expose different in-game events and often look completely different to a customer. To top it off, being able to mix and match games and products across a large portfolio into a coherent Gamification experience can be daunting or impossible for all but a few.

The ever-present headache of how to combine these seemingly incompatible products, games and data formats was one of the driving forces behind the creation of CompetitonLabs - a Gamification engine that puts innovation back into the hands of operators and game studios by enabling access to and the use of 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.