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Since birth, we’ve been learning, practicing, and progressing from level to level. School, work, and life in general are essentially a series of tasks which become more challenging every time we level-up. So why do we keep playing? To seek reward; whether it’s to graduate, get promoted, or just to attain inner peace.
“Life is a game. Play it.” – Mother Teresa
Recently, technology has been merging with every aspect of our day-to-day lives. We use software applications to socialize, work, shop and, of course, play. These apps have become our medium for interacting with reality.
Simple gamification is already implemented in most apps we use, so it’s safe to say that our current reality has been gamified, but reality’s future will be game-like.
Let’s look at some examples:
DUOLINGO AND MAKING LANGUAGE LEARNING FUN
According to TechCrunch, Duolingo has 300 million users. That’s almost equal to the entire U.S. population.
The basic concept is simply leveling-up with each lesson. After you sign up, you start with five lives. For every wrong answer, you lose a life, but you get rewarded with credits to purchase more lives with every achievement. If you do run out of credits, you have some options which serve the app’s monetization strategy: watch an ad or subscribe to the paid plan. If you don’t want to do that, you can invite a friend to get a free week of premium plan. A standard but a good strategy to grow the userbase organically.
I personally admire this app; the cute brand image, simple UI, and pleasant UX. The experience is very rewarding overall. There are other features like leaderboard, contests, and group-work to keep the experience fresh and exciting.
WISH AND MAKING SHOPPING EASIER
Another app I’m growing quite fond of is Wish. It has a modern design and easy-to-use functions. You can track shipping, and get a 100% refund if you’re not satisfied with your purchase. Add to that, a game-like swift experience where you don’t have to buy everything at once, just add items to your Wish List--a public gallery on your profile page where you can add followers and be followed.
Every time you post a review, you can gain promo codes and play a spinning-wheel game to unlock special discounted items. On top of that, Wish offers you freebies, just pay for shipping.
The only downside I have found so far is that you receive items one by one, even if they were part of one order. I was disappointed at first, but later when I was receiving an item every few days, it felt like Christmas each time. I don’t even mind waiting for them. They always arrive sooner than expected anyway. It’s easy to see why Wish is now worth $11.2 billion.
It is no surprise why these apps are successful. We don’t have time to just play games, so it’s great when we can play and be productive at the same time. These apps are successful because they keep users entertained and rewarded. They know their audience well.
The majority of Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen-Z grew up playing video games and getting busier forces them to play less, yet the desire remains. In a recent study From Nerdy to Norm: Gen Z Connects Via Gaming conducted by Whistle, 68% of Gen Z males agree that gaming is the core part of their identity. No wonder younger generations are attached to video games.
THE GAME MUST GO ON
The adults of the future are now spending about four hours a day playing video games. They need to be entertained in everything they do, or else they won’t want to do it, and that applies to the app industry in general.
So, if you're designing, developing, investing in, or even marketing an app remember...
Future generations not only want gamified experiences, but crave a game-like reality. It’s logical because life itself is a game. Play it.