The Gamification of Steam

Gamification of Steam

Whether you like the new buzz term or not. Gamification — that is the use of engag­ing play­ing prin­ci­ples applied to desk­top and con­sumer appli­ca­tions, prod­ucts, and ser­vices — is a big thing in research and (non-game) indus­try. Even SIGCHI was kind enough to let us orga­nize a CHI 2011 work­shop on gam­i­fi­ca­tion. It is inter­est­ing that most of the buzz sur­round­ing gam­i­fi­ca­tion comes most­ly from peo­ple out­side the games indus­try (prob­a­bly the game indus­try just does not like the term and the badges con­cept). However, in December 2010, Valve took up gam­i­fi­ca­tion con­cepts to pro­mote Steam sales, which I found par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing. The sales gam­i­fi­ca­tion was called “The Great Steam Treasure Hunt” and it fea­tures all gam­ing con­cepts nec­es­sary to fos­ter engage­ment in the Steam com­mu­ni­ty: rules, goals, chal­lenges. Continue read­ing


Fun with Steam Statistics

Our favorite gam­ing plat­form Steam has not only become one of my favorite tools for pur­chas­ing games, but it also seems to sport some inter­est­ing fea­tures for sta­tis­tics relat­ed to Valve’s games.

Now, being the nice guys they are, they make some of those avail­able to the pub­lic. I find espe­cial­ly the sta­tis­tics they report about num­ber and loca­tions of play­er deaths of high inter­est. They also include some pret­ty visu­al­iza­tions in the forms of heat map overviews of the lev­els as to where most play­ers died on the bot­tom of the episode 2 page. You got­ta love this approach. I always preach that is impor­tant to know your play­ers, your con­sumers, the end user, the per­son that will use your prod­uct, play your game. Valve has total­ly under­stood this phi­los­o­phy and are min­ing mean­ing­ful data on their play­er demo­graph­ic, an approach which will cer­tain­ly be copied by many com­pa­nies soon as they become aware of the ben­e­fits. Now, while it may be inter­est­ing also for graph­ics cards com­pa­nies and third par­ty con­trac­tors that Valve may be work­ing with to know the tech specs of the tar­get machines, it is of much high­er val­ue to know how play­ers actu­al­ly play your game. Where they die. How often they die. Even much fur­ther: how they feel when that hap­pens. I hope to see more of these sig­nif­i­cant gam­ing sta­tis­tics become a part of the game devel­op­ment process. Maybe even a step clos­er towards game research and see how our exper­i­ments can feed back into the design process of games... Ok, you caught me dream­ing for a moment there. 🙂