To understand the techniques involved in the concept it is necessary to address three key concepts: the dynamics, the mechanics and the components of the game.
The game mechanics are those rules that get the activity to be assimilated to a game or a playful activity, because they get the participation and commitment on the part of the users through a succession of challenges and barriers to overcome. There are many different game mechanics, but it is worth mentioning:
- Collection: We use the hobby of collecting of the users and the possibility of showing off before our friends of these collections. For example, in social book networks like Anobii users have their own ‘virtual shelf’ in which to expose their books as trophies.
- Points: Try to encourage the user through a points system with which to achieve something, such as prestige or awards. Thus, some chains of gas stations or shops have points plans that promise discounts if you accumulate a certain amount of these points, and thus get to your establishments.
- Comparisons and classifications: They subject users to a classification system that takes into account their involvement in the activity. In this way the competitive spirit of the users is exploited.
- Levels: This system rewards the user’s involvement in the activity by giving him a level or description with which to distinguish himself from the rest, and that encourages new users to match them. This is done, for example, in Internet discussion forums where user participation is assigned a level such as ‘Veteran’, ‘Novato’, etc.
- Response or feedback: If the system responds to the user’s activities, the user appreciates that the work he has done has a relevant implication. So, social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn notify the user by email when someone has interacted with it, implying that the user has done well – a kind of positive reinforcement.