I happened upon Sebastian Deterding’s Slideshare “Meaningful Play Getting Gamification Right” (Thx Giuliano) and was struck how it resonated with Dan Pink’s talk “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us“.
Dan puts forth modern behavioral studies which show that for higher level tasks, ones that require more thought that mere repetition, rewards such as cash (points?) do not motivate. There are three things that motivate people on these higher level functions:
- Mastery, to learn and get better at something.
- Autonomy, to choose one’s own path
- Contribution, to give to a larger effort.
Deterding tells us what makes for a good game. His list is:
- Mastery- the goals, rules, and feedback to allow one to learn more and more about the game
- Autonomy- the ability to explore areas of the game that are not fully scripted, the feeling of not being controlled, to make one’s own purpose.
- Meaning- the foundation that the game is built upon is already important to us.
I think one could easily make the case the the Dan’s idea of contribution could easily fit with Sebastian notion of meaning. And after reading the citations on Dan’s slides, it is easy to tell his ideas were based on behavioral research.
For those interested in games, Dan Pink’s talk is an excellent background as to why Sebastian Deterding’s recommendations are important.