Gamification 2.0: The Global Language of Data, Competition and Opportunity - Part 1
June 07, 2021

Michael P. Morris

Gamification is serious business. According to a recent report, the gamification market is projected to grow from $9.1 billion in 2020 to $30.7 billion by 2025.

Photo Source:

While the term artfully captures the fun of scoring points and competing against others (and ourselves), gamification is driving profound economic and cultural changes in how human beings perceive and pursue work. Every business endeavor involves behavioral psychology, so integrating the propensity adult brains have for dopamine and the positive feelings associated with playing games into business strategies makes good financial and operational sense.

Data, Life and the Petri Dish of Chess

The world revolves around data. Through gamification environments and systems, businesses gather minute, specific pieces of data that provide valuable insight.

For example, in chess — a game so pure and clean it's like a petri dish for data — a player's ranking is incredibly meaningful. Through rankings, the global chess community (regardless of geolocation, culture, gender, etc.) compares all chess players: it's as if the entire chess universe is one giant university with a singular class ranking list. If someone has a rank that is higher or lower than another player, that information is important, especially to players who want to know how they compare to peers.

Chess rankings, however, are not actually about who is going to win or lose when two players compete. Chess rankings provide a predictive model that contextualizes every competitor a player has played against (and every competitor that player has played against) and the competitors those players competed with, and so on. With all that detailed data, a simple predictive algorithm is created that characterizes how well a player will perform based on their history versus the person they're competing against and their history.

The application of the chess rankings model can be used in other disciplines, too, but while chess is petri-dish clean, life is broken-dish messy. In any business environment, we need to factor in additional human elements and team dynamics, which can be a bit more difficult to translate into ones and zeros.

Community, Passion and Self-Fulfillment

Like playing chess, solving a math problem is a clean process from a data perspective — and so is comparing different peoples' raw talent to solve math problems. Continuing this logic, a math problem is really just a computer science problem, like building an application. Gamifying the building of applications and extrapolating data from those engagements is changing the course of innovation in the tech industry.

In fact, gamification is where many professionals in the IT disciplines (design, development, data science, testing, etc.) started as children — competing against peers and themselves for achievement and fun. On a deeper level, gamification taps a powerful and productive instinct: from Fortnite and Candy Crush to March Madness and the Olympics, people are programmed to love games and competition, and no one knows this more than programmers who crave a challenge.

Competition has also been proven to build community. When individuals and teams compare successes and failures a unique bond is created. A shared sense of struggle, challenge and triumph galvanize people in significant ways. Leader boards, rankings, recognitions and rewards are entertaining and shareable, which helps foster a collective experience.

It's important to note that, on the surface, competitive aspects may appear to drive engagement. However, the true motivating force is the feeling of being appreciated as an individual as well as a key member of a community that shares your values and respects what you bring to the table. The rankings and results, as in the world of chess, create an inertia that moves a community forward and compels individuals to seek ways to improve their standing, professional journey and position within a group.

Go to: Start with Gamification 2.0: The Global Language of Data, Competition and Opportunity - Part 2

Michael P. Morris is CEO of Topcoder
Share this

Industry News

December 06, 2022

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation® (CNCF®), which builds sustainable ecosystems for cloud native software, announced the graduation of Argo, which will join other graduated projects such as Kubernetes, Prometheus, and Envoy.

December 06, 2022

Wib announced API PenTesting-as-a-Service (PTaaS) designed to help organizations proactively cover the latest PCI-DSS 4.0 mandates for testing application security, APIs, and vulnerabilities in Business Logic.

December 05, 2022

Harness announced Harness Cluster Orchestrator to allow customers to optimize their Kubernetes cloud workload costs and realize up to 90% cloud cost savings with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Spot instances from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

December 01, 2022

Salesforce introduced a new Automation Everywhere Bundle to accelerate end-to-end workflow orchestration, automate across any system, and embed data and AI-driven workflows anywhere.

December 01, 2022

Weaveworks announced that Flux, the original GitOps project, has graduated in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF®).

December 01, 2022

Tigera announced enhancements to its cluster mesh capabilities for managing multi-cluster environments with Calico.

December 01, 2022

CloudBees achieved the Amazon Web Service (AWS) Service Ready Program for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Spot Instances.

November 30, 2022

GitLab announced the limited availability of GitLab Dedicated, a new way to use GitLab - as a single-tenant software as a service (SaaS) solution.

November 30, 2022

Red Hat announced an expansion of its open solutions publicly available in AWS Marketplace.

November 30, 2022

Sisense announced the availability of the Sisense CI/CD Git integration module.

November 29, 2022

Codenotary announced TrueSBOM for Serverless, a self-updating Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) for applications running on AWS Lamda, Google Cloud Functions and Microsoft Azure Functions that is made possible by simply adding one line to the application source code.

November 29, 2022

Code Intelligence announced its open-source Command-Line Interface (CLI) tool, CI Fuzz CLI, now allows Java developers to easily incorporate fuzz testing into their existing JUnit setup in order to find functional bugs and security vulnerabilities at scale.

November 29, 2022

Parasoft announced the 2022.2 release of Parasoft C/C++test with support for MISRA C:2012 Amendment 3 and a draft version of MISRA C++ 202x.

November 28, 2022

Kasm Technologies announced the release of Kasm Workspaces v1.12, providing major enhancements to its portfolio of digital workspaces delivering Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Remote Browser Isolation (RBI), Open-Source Intelligence Collection (OSINT), Training/Sandboxes, and Containerized Application Streaming (CAS).

November 28, 2022

Cloud4C has achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps Competency status.