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Octalysis: Complete Gamification Framework


Octalysis: Complete Gamification Framework

(This is the Gamification Framework that I am most known for. Within a year, it was organically translated into 9 different languages and became classic teaching literature in the gamification space worldwide. If you are interested in commercially licensing the framework, please visit our Octalysis Group Licensing Page.)

Gamification is design that places the most emphasis on human motivation in the process. In essence, it is Human-Focused Design (as opposed to “function-focused design”).

Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and engaging elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities. This process is what I call “Human-Focused Design,” as opposed to “Function-Focused Design.” It’s a design process that optimizes for human motivation in a system, as opposed to pure efficiency.

Most systems are “function-focused,” designed to get the job done quickly. This is like a factory that assumes its workers will do their jobs because they are required to. However, Human-Focused Design remembers that people in a system have feelings, insecurities, and reasons why they want or do not want to do certain things, and therefore optimizes for their feelings, motivations, and engagement.

The reason we call it gamification is because the gaming industry was the first to master Human-Focused Design.

Games have no other purpose than to please the individual playing them. Yes, there are often “objectives” in games, such as killing a dragon or saving the princess, and sometimes saving a dragon, but those are all excuses to simply keep the player happily entertained.

Since games have spent decades (or even centuries depending on how you qualify a game) learning how to master motivation and engagement, we are now learning from games, and that is why we call it Gamification.

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Woot!! Won “Gamification Guru of the Year” Award at the Gamification World Congress

         WGC2015 Keynote 1

The Biggest Gamification in Europe

Every year, the biggest gamification conference in the US is the GSummit, hosted by Gabe Zichermann. In Europe, the biggest event is the World Gamification Congress, hosted in Barcelona Spain and had 1300 attendees this year.

I was invited to do a Keynote and Workshop at the Gamification World Congress this year regarding Octalysis Gamification, along with my Managing Director and Partner Joris Beerda who also did a Keynote.

WGC2015 Gamification Joris

My Managing Director Joris Beerda giving his Keynote

My main focus was to teach the attendees at the workshop a deeper level of Octalysis Gamification Design, and to teach the Keynote attendees how the gamification industry needs to mature in order to not reach a crash.

I was delightfully surprised that, on a show of hands, over 60% of the audience had learned about my Octalysis Framework before. Many people also wanted to take selfies with me and have me autograph random items, as well as my book Actionable Gamification.

Octalysis Gamification Workshop

High interests with my book: Actionable Gamification – Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards

For my book, I shipped 100 books to Europe, thinking that it would be enough for the audience at the conference with many left to disperse to the other countries I visited.

Shockingly, all 100 books were sold at the Gamification World Congress, with many people deciding to order the book on Amazon instead.

Many people walked up to me and told me they have already finished my book and loved it. All extremely flattering and I could only humbly thank them for enjoying my work.

Book with Attendee Picture with Book Picture with An Copens Book Book Selfie Actionable Gamification Book

Deeply surprised and honored to win the Gamification Guru of the Year Award

The climax of the event was at the end of Day 3, where the Gamification Guru of the Year award was given out. This award is based on the Rise.Global algorithm, community voting, and preferences of judges.

This year I honestly wasn’t optimistic on winning the award since I haven’t been doing that hot on the Rise leaderboard throughout the year. Also, I felt that it would more interesting to the audience if there is a bit more variety for who the winner is. After all, there has been tons of other folks in the industry that are doing great and inspiring work.

I was therefore truly surprised when they announced that I had in fact won the award. I felt deeply honored and wasn’t sure what to say when I got the award. Hopefully it didn’t sound too embarrassing.

Then I decided to throw in some dance moves that I randomly did, which apparently people liked.


Thanks everyone for the amazing support you have continuously given me throughout the years. I’m SO happy to see my work and Octalysis spread through the industries. If you ever want my help in your projects, feel free to reach out to me on my site.

My Keynote Slides for the Gamification World Congress 2015

Below is my Keynote Presentation at the Gamification World Congress. Still waiting for video footage, but hope you guys enjoy!

I’m doing a Full-Day Workshop at the World Gamification Congress in Spain 11/11

Gamification Workshop

1-Day Workshop for the World Gamification Congress in Barcelona Spain (11/11)

Many have asked if I’m doing a workshop in Europe or if my workshops can be friendlier to Asia/Australia Time Zones. So I’m now doing a 1-Day Workshop in Europe at the World Gamification Congress in Barcelona Spain (with a online/cheaper component). It will happen on Nov 11, or 11/11. If you are in Europe (or even Asia/Australia time zones !) here is your chance to transform your life:

Click Here to get your tickets now!!

Oh also, if you use this Discount Code, you will get to save 20% off the entire conference AND my workshop if you this unique and limited code: yu-kai-octalysis-gwc-20

Don’t procrastinate!

Quick update of my travels and plans

I’m pretty stoked because tomorrow at 5AM I’ll be flying out to Boston to do a workshop for the Peabody Essex Museum, which apparently is the oldest continuously-running Museums in the United States. Even though it was founded in 1799, it still tries to be at the forefront of innovation and experience trends. That’s why it wants me to help them figure out how to bring gamified experiences into the Museum space. I’m excited!

But also, after that, I will begin by journey into Europe where I start off with a speech and a full-day workshop at the World Gamification Congress in Barcelona Spain (tickets and discount code above). Then I will travel to Italy to meet with my Managing Director Joris Beerda and see Rome, Venice and other places for my Beginner’s Guide to Gamification Video Series or even footage for my upcoming Kickstarter on the secret project Octalysis Prime.

Afterwards I’m going to Zurich Switzerland to run some workshops for some Octalysis Licensees who want to use the power of the 8 Core Drives to help clients in Europe. Finally, I set foot in London to meet my designer, some friends, and potential clients. If you happen to be in those areas, let’s see if we can find a time to meet!

Yu-kai Chou analyzes Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter 1.0 through Octalysis [Day 1]

A gamification analysis of Gamified Self-Improvement and Recovery (Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter 1.0)

Jane McGonigal is one of the most well-known speakers in the gamification space. Her two TED talks and her book Reality is Broken are pretty iconic and even canon for the gamification or gameful design space. However, I’ve played with her product SuperBetter in the past, and I felt like there are many aspects that could be improved to retain (and hence help) a larger user base.

I feel that many people would sign up for the service because of her celebrity and inspiration, but perhaps because of some UX design issues may feel a bit discouraged and leave before reaping the best benefits from it.

Especially since she is launching SuperBetter 2.0, I thought it would be a good time to make a video commenting about SuperBetter 1.0 so her team can make the second platform even better.


Collection of all Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation Blog Posts

Intrinsic Motivation

Hey everyone! Few things:

1-Day Workshop for the World Gamification Congress in Barcelona Spain (11/11)

Many have asked if I’m doing a workshop in Europe or if my workshops can be friendlier to Asia/Australia Time Zones. So I’m now doing a 1-Day Workshop in Europe at the World Gamification Congress in Barcelona Spain (with a online/cheaper component). It will happen on Nov 11, or 11/11. If you are in Europe (or even Asia/Australia time zones !) here is your chance to transform your life:


2. 50% Early Bird Discount of my own 3-Day Workshop on 12/16 is expiring today!

For my own 3-Day Online Workshop that is happening on Dec 16, today is the last day you can enjoy the 50% Early Bird Discount (use the code TierIIEarlyBird in the next 12 hours). After around 12 hours, it will drop to the 40% off discount code. If you feel like you would be taking my workshop, it would be very useful to get it early.

3. Left Brain vs Right Brain Core Drives, and how they related to Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation

There is a lot of literature out there on Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation. Most people talk about how Intrinsic Motivation is better, but is that always the case? And even so, how to design for more intrinsic motivation?

In a string of snippets from my book Actionable Gamification, we will be exploring topics like the below:

Introduction to Left Brain (Extrinsic) vs Right Brain (Intrinsic) Core Drives in Octalysis Gamification
This is a general understanding of how Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation relate to our 8 Core Drives (basically, Extrinsic Motivation comes from Core Drives 2,4,6; while Intrinsic Motivation comes from Core Drives 3,5,7).

How Extrinsic Rewards can KILL Intrinsic Motivation
Most companies like to use Extrinsic Motivation in their motivation design, mostly because it is much easier to put a reward on a behavior you want, as opposed to making it fun. However, the consequences can be detrimental in creating longterm motivation!

How Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation explains why our Education System is Broken
Have you ever tried to reward your child for doing their homework or house chores? How well did it work in the long run? Here we see why our Education System is broken primarily because people don’t understand the differences between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Continue reading

Top 10 Social Gamification Examples that will Literally Save the World

Social Gamification

New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis

Gamification Examples that can really make the world better

As a Gamification Pioneer, one of the most common responses I get when I tell people about Gamification is some version of, “Interesting. But how can something like video games really create value in real-world important things?” In other words, “I’m going to be polite to you, but I think this is a gimmicky fad that has no impact.”

Instead of trying to convince people with the same arguments over and over again, I’m going to settle this issue here once and for all – Gamification not only has real-life value and impact, it even saves lives and could ensure our future as a race!

Last Week I wrote about Old Spice’s Genius Gamification Marketing Campaign DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD. While I think it is brilliant and does a lot of things well, I can assure you that it does NOT really save the world, outside of making more men smell like an adventure and bake gourmet cakes with the kitchens they made with their own hands.

But the 10 Examples below will blow your mind away and show you why Good Gamification, or “Human-Focused Design” (as opposed to Function-Focused Design”), undeniably has a role in “adding more lives” to our future.

Gamification Example 1: Puzzle Game Foldit made breakthrough in AIDS Research that Scientists couldn’t solve

By 2009, AIDS has already killed 30 Million people, or close to the equivalent of the State of California. As of 2010, there are still 34 Million people that have contracted HIV. For 15 years, many of the top PhD Scientists in the world were trying to decipher a crystal structure for one of the AIDS-causing viruses called the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV), but could not solve it.

Luckily, the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science (yes, such center exists) collaborated with the Biochemistry department and created FoldIt, an online puzzle video game about protein folding. Foldit utilizes a game-like puzzle interface that allows people from all over the world to “play” and compete in figuring out various protein structures that fit a researcher’s criteria.

To everyone’s surprised, with over 240,000 “players” registering for the game and competing viciously against each other, a solution to the structure of the M-PMV was found in 10 days, creating a major breakthrough in the AIDS research field. 15 Years vs 10 Days? I would say for this alone Gamification added extremely concrete value to the world and could one day save a loved one.

Gamification Example 2: RPG Diary Game Pain Squad helps Patients Combat Cancer by providing both Purpose and Data

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