Gamification - Motivations & Effects

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Researchers

  • Juho Hamari

Research units

Abstract

The field of information systems has a sustained tradition of dividing systems into either utilitarian or hedonic systems, with the core idea that some systems are purely utilitarian in nature and some are self-purposeful. However, in recent years, information system design has been increasingly used for motivational purposes, that is, a hedonic or motivational system design is employed as a method for increasing the utility of systems and activities. Simply put, the core idea is that the more enjoyable or motivating a system or activity becomes, it can also become more utilitarian since the user is expected to be more willing to increase the amount and quality of related activities. The most popular conceptual development in this area has sparked wide-ranging interest towards this phenomenon, and has adopted the name 'GAMIFICATION'. This multi-disciplinary term arises from the general conception that game design, if anything, is an art of hedonic system design, since games are one of the pinnacle forms of self-purposeful systems. In other words, self-purposeful systems such as games are thought to be used for the sole purpose of non-utilitarian enjoyment that is derived from the actual use of the system, rather than from any concrete outcomes of that use. Therefore, the term gamification can be read as 'a process of making systems/activities more enjoyable and motivating, in order to support the utilitarian or otherwise beneficial outcomes of the system, service or activity. Although the idea of gamification has been enormously popular over the last couple years, there has remained a dearth of conceptually refined understanding of the phenomenon, as well as a gap in the empirical evidence offered to demonstrate its effectiveness. With these paucities in mind, this dissertation aims to address both the conceptual and empirical gap. From the conceptual perspective, this dissertation presents two studies in which gamification is linked to IS/marketing theory. The first study links marketing literature with observations drawn from actual games on how game developers use game mechanics in their services as means of marketing (Study 1 - Game design as marketing: How game mechanics create demand for virtual goods). The second conceptual study forms a definition of gamification, arrived at by triangulating theories taken from game studies, motivational psychology, service marketing and IS/HCI (Defining Gamification - A Service Marketing Perspective). To investigate the empirical gap, this dissertation presents two studies. The first empirical study investigates what (social) benefits and motivations drive the continued use of gamification services (Social motivations to use gamification: an empirical study of gamifying exercise). The second empirical study presents a 1.5 year long field experiment on the effects of gamification on user activity and retention (Transforming Homo Economicus into Homo Ludens: A Field Experiment on Gamification in a Utilitarian Peer-To-Peer Trading Service).

Details

Translated title of the contributionGamification - Motivations & Effects
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Aalto University
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6055-2
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6056-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Research areas

  • Badges, Gamification, Hedonic information systems, Playfulness

ID: 18147285