Gamification, Sensors and Big Data


What is Gamification?

“Gamification is the use of game design elements in non-game context,” as defined by Deterding et al. (2011,pp. 9-15). Huotari and Hamari (2012,pp. 17-22) define gamification as “a process of enhancing a service with affordances for gameful experiences in order to support user’s overall value creation”. For example, every time you buy a starbucks coffee and collected points toward a free coffee, you’re being gamified.


Who are Gamers? What are they?

There are several findings are highlighted by Moss (2015) at the Rocks Digital Conference: 42% of Americans play video games at least 3 hours per day; The average gamer is 35; Nearly 44% gamers are female; There are 22 billion dollars are spent video games and 960 million games are on smart phone.

Bartle (2003) published Designing Virtual Worlds in which the differentiated four game users (better known as Richard Bartle player types) who are only tangentially related to the avatars they may choose in playing video games.
Richard Bartle player type’s gamification taxonomy can be shown as below figure:


In Gamification it is critical to monitor the performance of your metrics closely to insure your business getting the best results possible and allows different players are happy.

What Gamification can do?

Gamification is using game mechanics to ensure users return visits, more engagement, increased sales, increased learning and participation.

This means the business are trying to get people motivated and engaged to take action in order to achieve a goal or bigger purpose. Gamification helped the business is defining a framework in-which to how to win or lost. Gamification is recognizing that games are actually very powerful and sophisticated layers of mechanics to motivate people to achieve. The game mechanics can be applied to anything where human behavior needs to be optimized.


Different types of Gamification Mechanics

There are over 52 different types of game mechanics. However, the seven most commonly used mechanics in gamification are:



Sensors includes accelerometers, location detection, wireless connectivity and cameras, offer another big step towards closing the feedback loop in personalized data. Many devices and services help with tracking physical activity, caloric intake, sleep quality, posture, and other factors involved in personal well-being.

In 2006, Nike developed an app called Nike+ which tracks running distance, speed, and time. It stores the data every time you run so you can monitor your progress. You can compete with friends and other Nike+ users to try and run the furthest distance. The purpose is to get people active and running, and they use gamification to do so. There are leaderboards for different time frames (weekly, monthly, and so on). If you are one of the top runners, your profile is displayed on the leaderboard for bragging rights. Nike+ can export the data to other apps (such as food tracking apps for calories burned) and can also publish your information to your social media accounts. Nike+ has become a community of people who all enjoy running and want to push each other to keep improving and live healthy lifestyles.

In order to gain a competitive advantage, Nike implemented gamification to their marketing mix and was able to secure a controlling portion of the running shoe market. In 2006, Nike controlled 47% of the running shoe market and launched Nike+ in the middle of the year. In 2007, they controlled 57% of the market, and 61% in 2009. They’ve had a controlling portion of the running shoe market ever since. In 2007 there were 500,000 Nike+ members. In 2013, there were 11,000,000 Nike+ members and the numbers keep growing.



Big Data

The success of Nike+ is an example of how measuring performance is useful to gaining key insight. For users, they get to understand their running patterns better. For Nike, servers worth of Nike+ data can be turned into strategic business decisions to improve company performance.

Nike’s vast amount of data on the physical performance of runners has turned into an initiative to see what more can be done with the data to make inferences upon social and mental behavior as well. The Nike+Accelerator program gave data access to software developers so that new startups could be created around the data available.

Nike also used the data to perform life-cycle analysis of the shoe material because not much was known about the sustainable quality since Nike’s supply chain is quite long. By analyzing data of 7 million users, most of which are long-term users, Nike was able to help 600 designers make cost-effective, quality-enhancing, and sustainable changes to product material.

All thanks to gamification. Stefan Olander, VP of Nike’s Digital Sport division, said, “People want credit for their physical activity.” It’s true. Not everyone can be a professional, but people are passionate about engaging in being active. Nike+ game mechanics turns everyone into smatter self-coaches through motivation and social inspiration. Nike turned the most uncomplicated sports in the world, running, into a data-driven social sport that gives users access to tons of data about their personal achievements. Runners can use this data to become better at running, resulting in a healthier lifestyle. In addition, Nike gives software developers open access to this data.


Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., and Nacke, L. (2011) From game design elements to gamefulness: defining gamification. Proc. Int. Academic MindTrek Conference pp. 9-15.

Huotari, K., and Hamari, J. (2012) Defining gamification: a service marketing perspective. Proceeding of the 16th International Academic MindTrek Conference, pp. 17-22.

Moss, M. (2015) ‘Gigital Marketing with Website Gamification’. Available at:
(Accessed: 06 September 2015).

Bartle, R.A. (2003) Designing Virtual Worlds. 1st edn. New Riders.

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