If you’ve downloaded any apps lately, you have probably noticed some game-like component to it. Whether, you’re using a geo app like Foursquare or Gowalla that lets you check in for discounts and to obtain titles (Mayor, etc) or an app provided by a consumer product company like Coca Cola (Coke Magic Bottle, Sprite Music Mixer), there’s probably something that resembles a game. Even my American Airlines app has a Sudoku game preloaded!
This is all part of a concerted effort by companies, their advertisers and development shops to follow the one of the main drivers of app success to date, something called “game mechanics”. The game like features make apps add a sense of competition, engage people across cultural and generational boundaries as well as translate into more time spent using the apps. For advertisers this is nirvana as they hope to obtain more feedback in terms of preferences, activities that user’s tend to participate in and locations that they visit. Target Marketing 101.
Even fairly simple gaming concepts added can be the difference between app developers breaking through to success or just being lost amongst thousands of other available apps. Translation, it’s been one of the consistent threads for all of the money making apps in the marketplace today. I read an article that commented that VC shops will basically ignore potential investment opportunities unless there is some game concept embedded in the application they are reviewing. Think about that…upstart apps that provide even a good business opportunity may possibly be ignored unless they have a game added to their design. There are even companies and consulting groups that consult strictly on the game mechanics concept. So in essence, people are making money off of telling others that games are a good thing and providing games that 4th graders would enjoy.
I’m starting to wonder if I need a game or two on my blog.