jueves, 25 de abril de 2013

Gamification Player Types: The T-E Pyramid (I)

Why use Gamification Player Types?

This post is about a new extended model of the Gamification Player Types that i developed with the guidance of Andrzej Marczewski (@daverage) based on his previous framework.

So let´s start with some questions: why shall we create a model for player types? Is it neccesary or useful?

Well, there are many reasons to use this kind of methodology, but among the most important is the need to fully understand what kind of people are going to be our players, in order to create the most compelling gamified system. 
One of the first steps to start designing a gamified system is to get some data about your target players to classify them into the different kind of players to create accurate "User Personas" (this is Jon Radoff´s word, some more info in his book "Game On")

This will lead in great game MDAs designed to match their characteristics, and i will dig into those later on this blog (if you want to get more insights about it right now click on this link that will lead you to the official academic article: http://www.cruc.es/documents/MDA.pdf)

To sum up, when applying gamification we need to have a great level of understanding about our players, in the same way businesses must know their clients to achieve excellence. 

Introduction: Looking into the past 

Once upon a time, Richard Bartle created one of his masterpieces, "The 4 Player´s Types" based on the different types of behaviours that he observed in the world of MUDs. Later on, and even though this model is no longer as useful for gamification as it was for that type of games in the past, it is still the very basics. 

Just as a brief introduction, this is Bartle´s model:

He identified 4 types of players according to how they acted or interacted with the surrounding world and the other players: Killers, Achievers, Socializers and Explorers. If you want to know more about check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_Test

Once we understand the basics of this model, it is the moment to move forwards to gamification nowadays.

The starting point for the T-E Pyramid model

The T-E (time - engagement) Pyramid model is an extended version of Andrzej Marczewski´s (@daverage) Gamification Player Types that i have developed with his help. You can find Andrzej´s approach here:

His model is based on 4 types of players that evolve into 4 more when extrinsic motivation (rewards) is applied. One of the main points of his theory, is that, the extended version of the Self-Determination Theory of Deci and Ryan (to know more about it you can check out my post on Why use Gamification here: http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/04/why-use-gamification.html) is behind these 4 types of players: 

- Socialisers = Relatedness
- Achievers = Mastery
- Philanthropists = Purpose
- Free Spirits = Autonomy 

Since at some point we can call those "intrinsic players", there is a need to add extrinsic rewards, and when doing that, a new model arises:  
If you want to know more about it, i suggest you to visit the whole blog to get further knowledge on it, but to sum up, these are the key points of Andrzej´s model extracted by me:

- Bartle´s basic model is not enough when talking about Gamification
- In Gamification, we have to focus on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation rather than bartle´s factors
- The extended version of the Self-Determination Theory is the model underlying

The key elements of the T-E Pyramid model

Once that the basics have been settled, let´s have a look at the main elements that this Time - Engagement Piramid is including, and the reasons why i developed this model. 

When looking at Andrzej´s model, we realise that there is a clear motivational factor underlying, and that players are motivated not only by extrinsic reasons but also by intrinsic goals. 

Furthermore, some posts before, i introduced the PERMA Happiness model created by Dr. Martin Seligman (you can check it out here: http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/04/why-use-gamification.html) and linked it to the Self-Determination theory due to their connections. 

If we take as a starting point that people play because it is fun, and it makes them happy, we can revamp the player types into a new model that features not only motivation, but also fun and happiness. So that´s what this model is all about. (To see the connection between fun and happiness: http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/02/playing-to-happiness-part-1.html)

This is the graphic that summarises the T-E Pyramid model, but first of all, let´s establish some axioms/statements that i have taken into account to create this framework:

- The extended Self-Determination Theory (Deci, Ryan and Pink) matches almost perfectly with 3 main PERMA Happiness factors meaning that we can take the main PERMA Factors as the key elements to introduce a new model for players:

Relatedness = Relationships
Purpose = Meaning
Mastery = Achievements

- We assume that every gamified system relies on autonomy in one way or another. Apart from this, i personally contacted Dr. Martin Seligman, and his answer on autonomy is that autonomy/control: "it is not a key element of happiness but enhances the others". So autonomy has been introduced in this model as a whole, as one of the main differences with Andrzej´s Model.

- The first PERMA factor (positive emotions) is our first type of fun, defined as quick fun, or in other words, when people spend some time in our gamified system just for some minutes, getting some "pleasure" and leaving for a while.

- Extrinsic motivation is defined by the intrinsic factors but only focused on rewards, as a way to further understand the extrinsic players.

- Engagement is one of the main elements of Gamification and it has been taken as something that is achieved through all types of fun and it is defined by flow.

- Last but not least, the more intrinsic fun our players are having, the more engagement and time spent on our gamified system.

To be continued...There are still many things to analyse, all types of players to describe as well as things like the game MDAs that go better with each type, but that will be in our next post...

Victor Manrique

PS: Thanks Andrzej for all your help! Without you, this would have not been possible! ; )