The world loves a good aaS. Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Cloud as a Service. Everything these days seems to be “as a Service”. That means, of course, that Gamification platform providers have started to speak about Gamification as a Service. Now, there is nothing wrong with this, though I do find some juvenile amusement at the acronym of GaaS. For me, it just smacks of making it easy for people to implement gamification really badly!
However, I would much rather see GaaS being used to mean Gamification as a Strategy. For me, that embodies the core philosophy of many gamification designers out there now. The ones who have gone through the past few years of poor implementations and want to see better use of gamification, use that sits at the core of user experience, not on the periphery.
I put a meme out recently that spoke of Classic Gamification and New Gamification. In it, I expressed the idea that Points, Badges, and leaderboards based implementations of gamification sat in a classic category. Like we have with ASP. It is the way we used to do it, in ASP Classic, now we use DotNet. Classic Gamification can be done as a service very easily. However, the New Gamification concepts are much deeper than that and need to be built with more thought and woven into the fabric of the experience. Narrative, Themes, Economy, Personalisation, Feedback, Play and more.
Strategy, not Service
These all need to be included in your design strategy, not just a gamification strategy. Back when I worked at Capgemini, Maggie Buggie made a single statement that really stuck with me about digital strategy in the enterprise: “If you have a digital strategy that is sperate from your overall strategy, you are doing it wrong!”
I think that this is becoming truer and truer of gamification and user experience design / product design. If you have a gamification strategy that is separate to your overall design strategy, you are doing it wrong!
So, let’s put Gamification as a Service in the past and start cooking on real GaaS – Gamification as a Strategy