You Ask - We Explain: Gamification & Casinos

by Sara James
05/02/2020
Gamification of Online Casinos and Games

Gamification is about gaming - yes, but there is so much more to know and we will explain it all!

The concept of "gamification" does not originate from the gaming world but actually from the field of learning. It's been a successful strategy to increase the student's motivation by adding reward systems to their learning process. 

Today more and more online casinos call themselves "Gamification Casinos" but what does it really mean? Let's take a look:

The cornerstones of gamification:

1. Challenge & Competition

2. Goal Achievements & Rewards

3. Learning & Skills

4. User Engagement

The goal is to keep the user engaged by constant stimulation. 

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Gamification at Online Casinos

  • What is the difference between a "regular" online casino and one that is a "gamification casino"?
  • Gamification of Slots Games - how are they different from a regular slot?

Let's start with the casino games. Slot games are the most popular games at both online and land-based casinos. It's a very simple game. You can spin the wheel of a slot machine over and over waiting for the reward of winning. A great reward but the process until you get a win, doesn't offer any specific challenges, choices or achievements. That's the big difference between a regular slot game and one that is built on the concept of gamification. 

Developers of online casino games like NetEnt, Microgaming and Betsoft, are moving towards more advanced games built based on concepts taken from popular games like Fortnite. These games are built on achievements, mini-goals that take you through the game towards a chance of winning a bigger reward. The game is built on the engagement of the user. As you play the game you can easily monitor your progress towards the goal. You are rewarded with various benefits as you reach a new level within the game.

What makes this game special is the process. You are not just spinning the wheels hoping to win. Instead, you feel you participate in the game and can affect the outcome by improving your skills as you learn the more you play. 

At a casino that is built as a "Gamification Casino", you will find these concepts of achievements and rewards across the casino, not only within specific games. The casinos are often built as a "universe", "continent" or "gambling island". You reach different areas of the "universe" as you unlock new achievements. The rewards as you complete the goals are often free spins or bonuses you can use at different games or sometimes even cash in.

Here are some of the things you can expect from a "gamification casino":

1. Avatar

2. Fictional Currency (used for rewards but exchanged for real cash when you make a withdrawal)

3. Challenges

4. Unlockable levels

5. Simulation Environment / alternative reality like stepping into a different universe 

Popular Gamification Features

Gamification is responsible for adding the freshest, most intriguing and innovative elements to web casinos. Most venues choose just a few of these elements, in an attempt to give birth to incredibly engaging player experiences:

Leaderboards

These casino gamification elements have completely shifted the way leaderboards used to be perceived, turning them into exciting features for online gamers. Their simple structure turns them into the most suitable solutions for players of all level of skills. A casino that uses leaderboard gamification, for instance, could display a number of selected slots that will require gamblers to play the games in a certain order so they can start going up the leaderboard. The better a player does, the sooner he can start to climb the leader and collect incremental rewards. It is even possible for some leaderboard casinos to share their progress on their social media pages.

Mission-Based Accomplishments

Similarly to the majority of video games, mission-based casinos can display in-game tasks, missions with a starting and an ending point, adventure modes in which players have to support a character within the game in order to complete quests and the list goes on. Slot games can also feature bonus rounds or ask players to reach or a predefined total score in order to unlock an extra reward or bonus.

Are All Casino Games Gamified?

Shortly put, no. Most casinos continue to be reticent to the idea of giving players extra perks that would give them the edge on their games. This is why they are not in a hurry to implement gamification elements into their most popular games. Nonetheless, it is possible to play a game and take advantage of a slot multiplier, free spins or the activation of reel blocking and win more, without actually influencing the Return to Player rate. A game that features lots of random modifiers will, therefore, allow you to improve your chances of getting into bonus mode and winning more. However, without the bonus or free spin activation, most of these games have small jackpot amounts that can be won.

Big actors on the online gambling scene like NetEnt or Betsoft have decided to make the switch to games inspired from video games that have created a craze in recent years. For example, they have created Fortnite-based slots games that have borrowed some of the game's concepts, including mini-goals, achievements and rewards. The main purpose of these games is to keep players engaged for a longer time while monitoring their progress in real-time and seeing how close they are to reaching their goals. The rewards differ from one game to another and they are given as players reach new at levels.

The Ins And Outs Of Gamification At Online Casinos

Like mentioned earlier, casinos are no exception when it comes to the use of gamification to attract and keep newcomers. At a first glance, bonuses appear to be the most relevant gamification option used by these venues. A player will always feel a natural desire to keep coming back for more excellent bonuses and fun gambling experiences associated with a venue that has rewarded them in a generous manner. VIP reward schemes are also part of the same category of gamification strategies used by web casinos. These loyalty or VIP schemes provide players with bigger and more satisfying rewards as they keep playing and wagering more money. Often times, the VIP programs are built in the form of multi-level quests or ladders that players must gradually complete or climb as they keep wagering and playing games.

There are venues that have taken the idea of gamification one step further, connecting a large number of reward schemes all part of a player's casino experience the moment he sets his virtual foot in the casino. As they keep collecting their endless rewards, they get to immerse into the most engaging games, tasks and quests and even compete against other players in online tournaments with even more chances to win spectacular rewards.

Let's Sum It Up

Shortly put, gamification refers to the adding of reward schemes into services and products so that users can interact with them and keep coming back for more. It is also one of the most efficient brand loyalty practices currently in use by the gambling industry due to the way it manages to stimulate and retain players. Gamification is, however, strongly connected to the use of video game elements outside the video game realm. Casino operators have started implementing rather distinctive features of video games, leaderboards, unlockable levels and in-lobby features that allow players to go on quests or complete tasks to receive extra rewards, similarly to video game players.

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