Incentive structures within a Social Media platform built through gamified elements
Taking inspiration from the gaming industry
The worldwide gaming industry is massive. It is bigger than the film and music industry combined. NewZoo figures show a steady year-on-year growth of 5.6%, with global gamers set to reach 2.81 billion by the end of 2021. This will earn the global games market an estimated $189.3 billion. It’s clear this industry is here to stay, and there’s a lot we can learn from it.
Video games are fun because they transport us to new realities and satisfy our needs for achievement and recognition. There are many features which contribute to the appeal of video games. Let us walk through three in particular.
Social features refer to aspects of video games that encourage socialisation, cooperation and competition among gamers. Examples include the institutions of guilds in the game World of Warcraft, gesture-based communications in the game Counter-Strike or the actual real-world capacity to socialise via chat or headset with others while playing video games.
- Give players a platform to engage in social interaction before, during and after game play
- Help players satisfy the fundamental human need to be part of a social group
- Provide support networks, which may be used for various purposes including sharing game knowledge or appreciation and recognition from other players
2. Narrative and Identity Features
Narrative and identity features enable players to take on identities in the game that are not their own, either as fictional characters or gamified constructions of their own personalities. When storytelling elements are also included it can help players to fully immerse themselves in game play. Examples include avatar creation in massively multiplayer online role-playing games or mystery-solving games such as Gone Home or Her Story.
Narrative and identity features:
- Enable players to form attachments to their game characters and emotionally invest in those characters’ stories
- Offer simple or complex storytelling, providing a sense of escape or catharsis
- Demonstrate thematic or genre features, such as first-person shooting games, role-playing games, strategy games or puzzle games
3. Reward and Punishment Features
Reward and punishment features are designed to reinforce skillful play and penalise players who perform poorly.
- Provide positive reinforcement for players
- Can be delivered randomly, intermittently or on a fixed schedule; can also be unlocked when a player does something particularly special within the game
- Help establish contextual worth of rewards
- Reinforce the idea that a game is based on skill
What’s the number one piece of advice you receive when it comes to improving yourself or business? Set goals. Goals, goals, goals. Establish something to aim for. So think about how that applies to video games. The most successful multiplayer online role-playing games include many challenges, separate from the prime game objective, and employ game reward systems to incentivise them.
Almost all video games have leveraged the idea of challenges to add to the appeal of their product. Generally, this aids to level up your character and gain access to unlockables while also expanding the user experience and discovering more and more about the intricacies of the game world. Feedback messages and reward systems can provide players with encouragement and gratification, inspiring them to improve and learn continuously.
This is the idea of gamification, which is being harnessed in other industries. It’s about taking elements traditionally found in games (like challenges, points, competitions, rules, etc.) and applying them to other areas in order to enhance engagement and goal completion. Many projects have successfully leveraged this idea towards exercise and healthcare.
Garmin and Peloton have built-in gamified challenges and achievements, Sweatcoin gamifies physical activity and walking while providing financial return for users. More traditional video games also exist like Wii Fit or Re-Mission which is designed to help cancer patients better understand and manage their disease. It’s quite clear that gamification can be employed in very positive ways to enhance motivation, education and enjoyment.
In more recent years, games have continued to leverage this idea by adding a time limit to certain challenges and creating a tiered challenge and rewards system. Fortnite and Call of Duty are good examples of this with their ‘Battle Pass’. This generally requires a paid subscription to gain access to a higher rewards system and has sparked substantial increases in revenue. Many games have followed suit, with Lords Mobile reporting a doubling in revenue after the implementation of their Gold Pass at the beginning of 2021.
These ‘season’ or Battle Passes follow a similar formula. Every month or so all challenges reset and a new ‘season’ begins where all users start from Level 1 again. They have daily, weekly and monthly tasks to complete. Each season brings new novel challenges and new rewards. Rewards improve with the completion of each tier, with a very rare reward available at the top level. In these video-games, rewards are usually in the form of in-game unlockables but also rare rewards for their avatar in the form of skins, emotes etc.
Gamification of a social network
On Waivlength, we see huge potential for leveraging a similar challenge-based system within a social media setting. With challenges set in a thoughtful manner to compliment the ethos of the platform, it can provide the motivation and reward to promote engagement and scale the network. Waivlength can offer financial rewards via its token rewards pools, as well as rewards that unlock additional platform features, designs, badges and eventually NFTs.
Importantly, backed by its Social Consensus Protocol, this will help to deter mindless low-quality posting simply for the purposes of challenge completion. The culture of a social network is set from the very beginning, so it’s imperative early challenges cultivate the right environment. The two layer protocol which governs the distribution of token rewards explains this in more detail. In short, rewards for users who reach the same rewards tier of the Season Pass are apportioned with a weighting dictated by their rating determined by the Social Consensus Protocol.
This gamification element creates many mutual benefits to both the platform and the user. Challenges can be set to reward content creation, post engagement, labelling content, expanding networks, curating profiles, expanding the user base and moderating the site. This will be particularly useful in early phases of growth to provide some intrinsic value to the platform while the user-base is low.
These challenges will help to guide users towards governing a network with the ethos of trust and truth at the core and can evolve over time. For example, while initially challenges may be weighted more heavily in favour of user acquisition by rewarding successful referring of new users or cross-platform marketing efforts, once a self-sustaining user base is established challenges can be weighted towards other avenues like content curation, post ratings and strategies to recognise quality content and make the site cleaner.
Over time, if the platform is experiencing issues, the challenge-system can be used to harness the power of the community to preserve the integrity of the site. This is where SoFi and gamification on the platform converge. For example, labelling content to inform machine-learning algorithms, verification of news stories, fact-checking written articles, reviewing a business/product they’ve purchased through the marketplace, flagging inappropriate content etc.
While challenges can help to sustain a positive ethos on the platform and to educate the users to all the different features of the site, its primary focus is to enhance the user experience and enjoyment of the platform. Challenges based around content creation that bring people together on certain trends and events will be to the forefront of the development team’s focus. We want to use fun, entertainment, and creativity to bring communities closer together and realise everything good about social media.
Types of Challenge Systems
This can be used to guide initial users around the platform. It can introduce users to the different features, help them navigate the platform, pick their interests, follow pages and produce their own content. Challenges can strategically be set up with rewards for users who complete a full tutorial to learn how best the platform can be utilized.
For example, linking their crypto wallet, watching tutorial videos, completing their bio, creating their first post, adding friends, following pages, importing content from other platforms etc.
These will contain challenges which are not time sensitive that users work to unlock over their life-time on Waivlength. This will serve to reward long-term users for their contributions to the platform with bigger rewards for certain achievements. These challenges will be quite diverse and can serve as a means to qualify oneself as a recognised content creator, moderator, fact-checker etc. in a given field by earning badges and $WAIV for completing certain challenges.
This is the more time-sensitive tiered rewards system whereby to climb the rewards ladder, users complete challenges which may change daily, weekly or monthly. Users will gain points for the completion of challenges and move through the tiers. Challenges will be directed towards the production of entertaining and engaging content and will aim to bring communities together to compete and interact on given topics and trends. Rewards will get exponentially higher approaching the top tiers and could include $WAIV and other cryptocurrencies.
As the platform develops over time, there may be integration of other rewards such as badges, profile skins, NFTs etc. We envisage that projects within the crypto space could sponsor a prestige level, thus enabling all users who complete this level to avail of a reward native to the company eg. Tokens, NFTs etc.
A sample of this season pass might include:
Daily Challenges that refresh every day
- Daily sign-in
- Interact with 5 posts
- Create a post
- Refer a friend
- Refer 5 friends
- Connect with 10 new people/groups
- Enter a weekly challenge from the trending list
- Interact with posts
- Watch videos from the education tab
- Label content with relevant tags
- Receive interactions on your posts
While Waivlength developers and advisors continue to work hard over the months ahead on platform build and securing external investment, it is clear that this platform has the potential to make a huge global impact as a competitor to current mainstream social media. Learn more at www.waivlength.io where you can find a more detailed whitepaper and roadmap for the development of the platform along with contact details for the team.
There is an incoming series of articles providing more detail on how Waivlength is seeking to revolutionise the social media space. Be sure to follow so you don’t miss out.
As always, the fantastic work of others must be acknowledged for the inspiration they’ve provided. Big thanks must go to Rebecca Bernstein and Ryan Barone (Twitter — @ryandbarone) whose written content around the gaming space was very informative for this article.