The 4th Core Drive of Gamification
Ownership and possession, the fourth core drive in my Gamification Framework Octalysis, is based on the principle that because you own something, you want to take care of it and improve it. In addition, you will also want to possess more of it.
Ownership and possession is position to the far left of Octalysis, and therefore represents the core drive which exhibits the strongest influence of Left Brain or analytical thinking. Here, decisions are based on more logical, calculating thought and the desire for possession as the primary motivating factors.
This is seen a lot in games that have virtual goods. In the Farmville example, you’re constantly striving to increase the value of your assets by developing the land, establishing higher crop yields, improving the quantity and quality of your livestock. You can further develop your property’s infrastructure and dwellings – establishing that country manor on your dream estate.
Because of that, you want to constantly invest more time and energy into expanding your farm by getting more cows, getting more fruits, but also buying items such as stables that you could put your horses in or grooming services to make them look “prettier.”
So, much of the time, when your user obtains this sense of ownership, it becomes very, very powerful. It’s theirs. And they now have a strong motivation to change it, to increase, and to improve it.
Ownership in the Workplace
A good example that a lot of people understand is ownership in their workplace. Many people in the workplace feel like they don’t have ownership of their work. They’re just doing what their boss wants them to do and they don’t really get to feel that it’s their own project.
However, when people take ownership of their own projects, that’s when they work until 1:00 AM in the morning. They become tireless. They keep thinking about their work. They make their spouses upset by ditching other responsibilities (interestingly, some spouses are very good at making their significant others feel that they have less ownership over their own households. Not mine of course – my wife is awesome). The project is now their baby and obviously that’s also why people work harder on their own companies compared to just having a “job.”
Ownership on the Web
Oftentimes, if you get people to invest time into build something, like an avatar, they will take a personal ownership in the effort. When they start customizing their avatar or their website profile, they obviously invest a lot of time and feel “this is my avatar, this is my profile.” Now they develop a stronger relationship to it and they now want other people to see it – but they want to spend money and spend more time to make it look snazzier, with a better picture, and a nicer background. That’s obviously a good thing for the game designer.
There are also things that you may want to implement, such as Protection (Game Technique #36). Protection is a concept based on the occurrence that people start to develop a relationship with something that they are protecting.
Consider a game where you might start with a flock of sheep that you have to protect from wolves and aliens. As the game starts, you have to get rid of all the wolves that are approaching and then get rid of all the aliens that are trying to kill the sheep.
Eventually you begin to feel an attachment and a connection to the sheep. Now it doesn’t have to be sheep. It could be a snails too. If you’re protecting the snails, which aren’t normally thought of as that friendly or likable, from the wolves and aliens, you may eventually start to care more about those snails that you worked so hard to protect.