Jun 20, 2023
Gamification, or the use of game mechanics outside of gaming, has been picking up traction in recent years as consumers increasingly crave brand experiences that are immersive, entertaining, and engaging. The metaverse has become a prime spot for gamified brand campaigns using reward-based systems, motivation-driven games, and community-building elements. This technique is an excellent way for brands to broaden their reach, increase customer loyalty and incentivize certain behaviors among consumers. Gamification can help brands increase revenue, create attractive promotional campaigns and encourage user-generated content (UGC) through customer advocacy.
What is gamification in the metaverse?
Gamification involves integrating in-game elements, mechanics, and designs into non-game contexts. It's driving user engagement by creating a competitive environment that keeps people interested for longer by encouraging them to achieve targets, complete tasks, or build skills.
The metaverse, a 3D version of the internet where individuals can connect and socialize, is an evolution of the gaming industry, leading it to incorporate gaming aspects. The metaverse is an interoperable virtual space that uses gaming elements to transform user interactions, content ownership, and trading.
Brands are increasingly interested in establishing gamified experiences in the metaverse to build deeper emotional connections with consumers and drive loyalty. Gaming can be applied across industry activations in the metaverse, including learning and development, e-commerce, entertainment, fitness, and more.
What is interactive gamification?
Interactive gamification includes the following elements:
Reward-based systems: Gamification incorporates rewards like point systems, leaderboards, and badges. A brand’s game-based campaign or activation can embed points to measure progress, leaderboards represent competitive rankings, and badges display the achievement of a milestone or signify status. For instance, Foursquare, a cloud-based location technology platform, uses a point-based mechanism to give people points whenever they check into a location, encouraging the continued usage of their app.
Engaging and motivating: Through gamification, users are driven to complete specific actions, leading to higher consumer engagement rates and establishing the foundation of solid relationships. Starbucks created a ‘Flip the Cup’ mobile game based on the real-life viral trend of flipping an empty cup. The game encouraged customers to try their hand at the task, earn points and share the score with friends, increasing overall engagement with fans by 90%.
Community-driven: Game-based experiences that incentivize individuals to achieve something can lead to community building, giving everyone trying to achieve a goal a sense of belonging and purpose. Participants are encouraged to work harmoniously to solve a challenge or achieve a milestone. For example, gaming metaverses like Roblox and Minecraft involve users in the platform's development by rewarding users participating in content creation, which has developed a massive community of creators.
Improved learning and retention: Gamification can be an impressive tool in educating consumers or individuals about products or concepts in unconventional ways to ensure better retention. For instance, Emmi Good Day’s, a lactose-free drink brand, launched a game where individuals needed to collect milk without touching sugar cubes to gain points, a tactical way to teach consumers about their new health-conscious formula.
Why should brands be in gaming?
Increase their reach and awareness: The gaming market in 2022 consisted of 3.2 billion players globally, according to Newzoo. Gaming is popular among diverse males and females who comprise GenZ, GenX, and millennials, attractive customer segments with high spending power. However, these consumers also crave authentic experiences, creating the perfect opportunity for brands to meet their needs, broaden their reach, tap into new markets, and explore new marketing channels through gamified brand activations.
Increase customer loyalty: Brands that embrace gamification by rewarding customers for their participation and involvement with the organization can build a more engaged and loyal customer base. For instance, the e-commerce giant Flipkart partnered with Polygon Labs and Hang to create a gamified loyalty program called ‘Fire Drops’ that leverages non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The program incorporates games and quests for various brands that customers can engage with to earn discounts and special memberships.
Incentivize specific behaviors: Gaming impulses and engagement can encourage customers to take particular actions. Customers are more responsive to completing gamified tasks to earn rewards than regular call-to-actions. For instance, YuLife, the well-being app, leverages game mechanics to encourage its users to indulge in healthy activities that promote better fitness and mental health. Their users can earn YuCoin, the brand’s native virtual currency, by completing tasks like walking, cycling, or meditation, which users can utilize to buy gifts in-app.
Gather data and insights: Brands can benefit from the vast data collected during gamified activation. Giving consumers entertaining experiences and the opportunity to earn rewards makes them more inclined to share their data, which brands can leverage for better targeting and tailored offerings. Galderma, a skincare brand, uses the metaverse and gamification to better understand consumer habits by understanding how they respond to messages and how they complete gamified skincare routines.
How does gamification help brands?
Makes promotions more attractive: Traditional promotions and offers, compared to those earned as a reward in a game, can be interpreted very differently by consumers, who are often more emotional than rational. For instance, a consumer who has earned a 20% discount after successfully completing certain game elements will value the deal more than the one offered through a regular banner advertisement online.
Increases revenue: Gamified brand experiences increased conversion rates for products and services, creating a strong customer-brand touchpoint. Branded games that offer rewards or prizes lead to a higher customer inclination to convert. Research by the Digital Marketing World Forum found that nearly 60% of consumers were more willing to purchase products if they enjoyed playing a game that involved the brand. Domino’s Pizza Hero game, which allows users to make their own pizza, helped generate a 30% increase in revenue.
Drives user-generated content (UGC): Games encourage users to share their progress or performance with friends on platforms like social media. This benefits brands looking to improve brand advocacy through word of mouth. Ally Financial, the digital financial services company, launched a NASCAR-focused game called Ally Racer, accessible on iOS and the web. Players earned points for meeting specific financial targets and were encouraged to share their scores on social media, amplifying brand voice across platforms.
How to create games for the metaverse?
Designing games for the metaverse is a complex endeavour requiring an intricate balance of various elements, considering the preferences of a diverse target audience.
Intuitive and straightforward user interface: The games should be easy to learn, lowering the barrier to entry, while concurrently providing sufficient challenges to maintain engagement. This balance promotes an environment accommodating both novices and seasoned players, fostering inclusivity within the gaming landscape.
Engaging visual and audio components: The metaverse, being a highly immersive milieu, necessitates visually compelling games with an enchanting soundscape. These elements enhance the player's overall experience and contribute to the sense of 'presence', a vital aspect in virtual environments. A well-crafted game environment, therefore, is an indispensable part of user engagement and retention.
Social elements such as multiplayer options: These features enable players to connect, collaborate and compete with others, reinforcing the communal aspect of the metaverse. Moreover, such social features can foster a strong community among players, encouraging continuous participation.
Constant testing and iteration: Gathering feedback from players is essential to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. This valuable information should be utilized to make appropriate adjustments in the game design, effectively enhancing player engagement.
Alignment of the game with the brand's values and messaging: The game can be a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness and engagement, but ensuring the game design reflects the brand's ethos is crucial. This alignment can create a positive association between the brand and its audience, driving brand loyalty.
With these ideas in mind, let us explore how to put them into practice.
What makes a good metaverse game?
A good metaverse game is distinguished by its immersive and engaging qualities, serving as the cornerstone of its appeal.
Immersion is achieved through complex world-building, attention to detail, and responsive game mechanics.
Meanwhile, engagement arises from compelling storylines, intriguing characters, and dynamic situations that draw players in.
This demands creativity and technical prowess, allowing players to feel part of an alternate reality that captures their imagination.
A sense of agency and control: Players should not merely feel like bystanders but active participants shaping their own experiences. They should be able to influence the game environment and the story, making strategic decisions that have a tangible impact. This level of control heightens immersion and promotes player retention by fostering a sense of ownership and investment.
Visual appeal and ease of navigation: The game should have a pleasing aesthetic that resonates with the audience and complements the game's thematic elements. Moreover, it should have intuitive interfaces and navigation systems that facilitate the user's virtual world exploration. You must strike a balance here to ensure a visually stunning environment that is also user-friendly.
Challenging but achievable: The obstacles set within the game should test the players' skills and adaptability, encouraging them to develop innovative solutions. Nonetheless, these challenges should be designed so that success remains within the players' reach to maintain motivation and avoid frustration.
A sense of community: The games should provide platforms for social interaction, fostering collaboration and competition among players. This shared experience can result in lasting bonds, establishing a thriving community that enriches the gaming experience and extends its influence beyond the virtual world.
We can now explore branded interactive games with the how and what of metaverse games covered.
Interactive branded games
Interactive branded games have emerged as a potent marketing tool that bolsters brand awareness and engagement. Companies can create a more meaningful connection with their target audience by turning the traditionally passive activity of viewing advertisements into an active, enjoyable game experience.
For example, McDonald's once launched an interactive branded game called "McPlay," where players could interact with famous menu items in a fun, educational mini-games. This strategy effectively emphasized the brand's playful and family-friendly nature.
These games can also serve as interactive showcases for products or services, providing users with a unique and engaging way to familiarize themselves with what the brand offers.
Nike, for instance, launched a game called "Nike SB App" that allowed skateboarders to share their tricks and earn virtual badges. This game showcased Nike's skating products and fostered a community around them.
Moreover, interactive branded games allow companies to incentivize specific consumer behaviors. For example, a game may reward social media sharing or incentivize purchasing through in-game rewards or discounts.
Starbucks' "Starbucks for Life" game has successfully used this strategy, encouraging customers to make purchases for a chance to win free drinks for life.
When executed well, branded games can establish a positive emotional connection with consumers, making the brand more appealing and memorable. However, the games should align with the brand's values and messaging to maximise this benefit. A disjointed game that doesn't reflect the brand's ethos may confuse consumers or even damage the brand's reputation.
Gamification in the metaverse is a powerful tool for brands across industries to drive user engagement, increase loyalty and educate consumers creatively. Incorporating in-game elements like points, leaderboards, and badges into non-game environments can help brands tap into new markets, impact consumer behavior and gather deeper consumer data and insights. Brands that leverage gamification can make promotions more attractive, increase revenue, and encourage user-generated content, leading to more robust brand advocacy. Embracing gamification in the metaverse provides exciting opportunities for brands to communicate, build a strong identity, and connect meaningfully with consumers.
Moreover, creating games for the metaverse requires a nuanced approach that balances an intuitive interface, immersive audio-visual components, social features, constant iteration, and alignment with brand messaging. Such games should offer an immersive, engaging experience with complex world-building, dynamic storylines, and interactive features that give players agency and control. This demands creativity and technical competence to create aesthetically pleasing and navigable environments that challenge players while fostering community. Interactive branded games have become a significant marketing tool, turning passive advertisement viewing into an enjoyable activity. However, these games should reflect the brand's values to establish positive consumer connections without causing confusion or reputational damage.
Are you a brand looking to develop a gamified experience in the metaverse? We’ll help you build, scale, and monetize your game in the metaverse to drive sales and increase customer loyalty. Get in touch with us
Jun 20, 2023
LandVault is the largest metaverse builder with over 100 million square feet of virtual real estate, more than 120 full-time creators, and nearly 300 completed projects. We’ve been helping brands build and grow in gaming environments since 2017 and the metaverse since 2021.
LandVault’s platform-agnostic proprietary technology and creative powerhouse builds and delivers tailored, data-driven, and optimized business solutions and insights. We help clients launch, optimize, and monetize metaverse experiences.
LandVault’s mission is to accelerate the metaverse economy through technology with a vision of a fairer wealth distribution across the web.