This is a case in point for the game experience approach to signification. Game experience and game mechanics based approaches fall on two extremes of the signification solution continuum. The conventional wisdom on signification leans towards the game mechanics world view. But conventional wisdom is rarely the most reliable touchstone when it is based on anecdotal evidence accumulated over Just a couple of years.
Signification is an emerging concept undergoing tremendous flux. While what the future holds is nobody’s guess, game mechanics alone is unlikely to prove a sustainable solution for user engagement. 3. Give away tangible rewards to the extent possible. Consumer motivation is a contentious area of academic research with conflicting theories on the efficacy of intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of motivation.
While the Jury is out on this topic, it is important for signification designers to decide whether to conceptualize a virtual rewards system or to dish out real goodies. Instead of delving into the theoretical quagmire of motivation, it might be more ritual to raise the question of sustainability In engagement while making this decision. The value of virtual rewards tends to diminish over time as the novelty of virtual rewards like badges and achievements wears off.
On the other hand, the value off movie ticket or the value of hard currency remains constant over time. The question of sustainability, therefore clinches the argument In favor of real rewards.