Very few gamers ever consider the blood and sweat that goes behind making a great game. There are tens of people who are employed for the development and coding of a game to ensure that the players get the best experience and, of course, their money’s worth. Millions of dollars are spent on the research and development of any game. These dollars are spent to make sure that the players love the characters, enjoy the story, are motivated to complete the game and earn rewards and achievements in the process, and be simply amazed at the quality of production and creativity of the developers.

Good games have certain basic characteristics which attract the majority of the gamers to play them. Certain gamers want a great story. The intrigue or the depth of the story keeps them riveted to the game. Certain gamers want more control of their characters or the storyline. Certain gamers want amazing graphics and better body dynamics. The preferences are most certainly subjective. But it is important for the developers to consider what the gamers would like the most considering the type of game they are developing and the market that they are targeting. It would be a waste to create deep storylines for simple puzzle games meant for kids.

It is necessary, therefore, to understand what drives gamers to play games. These various drives have been classified by someone, and this classification has allowed for the designing of a gamification process. It is called the Octalysis Framework and was created by Yu-Kai Chow.

The Octalysis Framework is based on human behavior and it is a set of eight ‘cores’ helpful for designing a gamification process. Let’s take a quick look at these cores and see how they are useful when designing a gamification process.

  1. Epic meaning and calling

This is an important core. A player believes that there is a greater meaning to what he is doing or that he has been chosen for doing something important. A player is motivated by this core to dedicate himself to creating a better community or maintaining forums by contributing their insights and suggestions for the fellow players. A player may also feel the calling when they encounter beginner’s luck, which makes them think that they have better skills than other players and that what they are doing has a greater meaning attached to it.

2. Development and accomplishment

This drive is internal. A player plays the game in the hopes of developing better skills for the game so that he can progress better and overcome the challenges presented by the game with relative ease. The feeling of accomplishment is what compels the players to keep developing their skills. Also, the accomplishment is complementary to the challenges because without challenges, the desired feeling of achievement cannot be evoked. It is also pretty easy to design and where the stats of the players are most focused on.

3. Empowerment of creativity and feedback

A lot of players are creative in their way of solving the puzzles posed by the games. They also respond well to the feedback provided to them when they are unable to move ahead in the game. And in applying their creativity, the players also wish to see the results of the same. This is where the empowerment of creativity and feedback core comes in. The better the result of more creative problem solving, the better is the player engagement to the game. A game should ensure that the players are empowered for being creative and provide the right type of feedback to enable them to progress in the game.

4. Ownership and possession

Everyone likes to own certain things, be it in the real world or in games. The feeling of possessing something which is either rare or expensive makes for a great motivator. Players are always looking for more things to own or collect, be it points, or items, or in-game currency. Players also feel possessive when they spend a lot of time in customizing, be it their characters or their items. No player is content with what they have when they can have more of it.

5. Social influence and relatedness

This drive arises from the fact that humans are social animals. We live in a complex society and have various social interactions with multiple people. These people have an influence on us and we relate to other people based on shared experiences, likes and dislikes, etc. We have friends with whom we relate to and who are in our social circles. This drive motivates people to be like the other people that they interact with. If someone is highly influential, they can motivate others to buy the same things as them.

6. Scarcity and impatience

This drive motivates people to have something that they do not have. And because they do not have it, the desire for it becomes more intense. Also, when one knows that they can’t have something right now, it makes them impatient and keeps them occupied and thinking about the same thing all day long. And as soon as it becomes available, people lap it up more willingly than ever. Apple sees hundreds of customers line up outside their stores on the day of launch of their phones because they are impatient and want the phones as soon as possible.

7. Unpredictability and curiosity

Humans possess an inherent curiosity about things and our inquisitiveness has led to amazing breakthroughs. This drive is harmless, for the most part. Players are curious about what will happen next in the game and the unpredictability of the outcomes makes them interested and hooked to the game. This drive makes players think about the game more often. This drive also compels people to read books or watch movies.

8. Loss and avoidance

No one likes to incur losses, be it financial or any other sort. And the avoidance of any sort of losses takes priority. Players hate to lose any progress that they have made in the game and in a bid to avoid the same, they might continue to play the game.

This is how a gamification process can be designed, applying the Octalysis framework to understand what will drive players to play the game. And by using these aforementioned drives, aims to gamify the way we live our lives and make sharing of experiences a much more satisfying and rewarding activity.

This is how a gamification process can be designed, applying the Octalysis framework to understand what will drive players to play the game. And by using these aforementioned drives, aims to gamify the way we live our lives and make sharing of experiences a much more satisfying and rewarding activity.