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Will Gamification Become More Prominent in 2021's ICOs and Beyond?

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In 2020, fast-food giant KFC launched Shrimp Attack in Japan. It was a game for mobile devices in which players tried to protect a fictional chicken kingdom from shrimps. The shrewd marketing move was conceived as a way to draw attention to a new shrimp meal in Japanese outlets. It saw over one in five eligible players claim a reward from in-game bonuses and sales increased by 106% year-on-year.

Indeed, iGaming developers such as Swedish outfit Yggdrasil and Taipei-based Radi8, have supported the online casino industry leverage gamification as part of their marketing strategies. Potential customers are incentivized to play through the promise of, for instance, free spins to use in the casino. Mission-based games have also been developed to engender a sense of loyalty with increasingly lucrative casino bonuses as players move through various tasks.

These are two of many examples from the last 12 months of successful implementation of gamification in advertising, and highlight the potential impact of such strategies to drive brand awareness in the digital-first age.


What is Gamification and how might it impact ICOs?

The increasing popularity of gamification across various industries internationally is indicative of the persuasive potential of the technique, particularly for marketeers. Using design elements and mechanics once the reserve of gaming platforms in a non-game context, gamification has been leveraged throughout the world in 2020. Accentuated by digital-first principles, brands such as Nike and eBay as well as less likely adopters such as the US army are using gaming mechanics to engage with customers.

Understandably, the potential benefits for ICOs are beginning to be more widely considered. Back in 2017, Opporty, which utilizes Ethereum’s Plasma Cash Protocol as its underlying technology, launched an innovative gamification platform where users could earn tokens and additional points for completing different activities. Launched to complement Opporty’s ICO, the technology was developed as a viable way to entice companies to become an active part of the Opporty community.

Yet, it was an Estonian crypto exchange that launched the first gamified blockchain rewards program when Kriptomat unveiled Dragon Riders of Kriptomat. It used a gamification awards system to issue users with “Kripto” tokens. The more crypto bought, the more “Kripto” is provided. These tokens, within the game environment, led to boosts characterized by more powerful dragons. The more a user proceeds within the game, the more they are rewarded with discounts to future crypto trading.


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Lyfe, a decentralized wellness rewards and gamification platform based in Indonesia, launched its ICO with game mechanics as a key component to gaining market traction. Based on the principles of healthy living, its Lyfe token, which is rewarded for meeting lifestyle goals, essentially incentivizes physical and mental wellbeing. Goal-orientated incentivization is clearly one of the keys to successful gamification. For example, leading online casinos have been known to use tiered VIP levels to reward their customers with loyalty bonuses that are redeemed by playing their casino games such as slots, blackjack, roulette or virtual sports.

Elsewhere in 2020, we’ve seen how gamification is helping the cryptocurrency market evolve. For instance, Enjin is leveraging its considerable online gaming community through smart contracts for game developers to incentivize in-game items by making them exchangeable for Enjin Coin. That has made the cryptocurrency the dominant player in the gaming industry. Some of the popular platforms making use of Enjin Coin technology include War of Crypto, Bitcoin Hodler and Forest Knight.

What makes gamification potentially so effective as part of the ICO is both through its capacity to build early engagement, generating vital interest and raising critical seed money, as well as generating loyalty through participation.


How is gamification impacting other markets?

Gamification is changing the playing field across a variety of industries. In the iGaming industry, online casinos have been particularly innovative in utilizing new technologies to enhance their offering - virtual and augmented reality being a couple of examples. More specifically, in North America, for 888’s online slots in Canada, players have the chance to win developer and site-wide cumulative jackpots through gamification mechanics. 888 has linked slots gameplay and actions – such as opening an account – into its promotions.

iGaming is a particularly good case study for showcasing the benefits. It is widely recognized for improving the user experience, which is so critical in the hugely competitive online casino market. One major brand in the UK has been working specifically with game developers for over two years to enhance engagement with customers through gamification. This has seen it offer players the chance to “level up” within their chosen casino game which opens up immersive goal-orientated journeys leading to free spins and deposit bonuses.

Developers have sensed the attractiveness of gamification and made their platforms more flexible as a result. For example, we’re seeing an increasing number of games from the likes of QuickSpin and NetEnt with tournament or trophy elements.

Incentivized actions such as this can also be seen in ICOs in 2020. For example, Storm used gamification to improve user engagement by rewarding customers with Storm tokens for completing small tasks or trying products. Likewise, to increase adoption of the cryptocurrency, the Lukki Exchange has used innovative gamification and plans to introduce new rewards for users who achieve set goals.


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What might we see in 2021?

Gamification has shown how, by motivating users to perform an action, it can be a potent marketing tactic. After all, taking iGaming as an example, isn’t gamifying a video slot and turning the otherwise monotonous task of hitting the spin button more interesting by incentivizing it with goal-orientated bonuses? In the digital-first age, it’s an even more important tool, particularly because, as Forbes reported, 80% of smartphone users play games on their mobile devices.

If the cryptocurrency industry needed any encouragement, it could look at Kriptomat. Enjoying the enviable reputation of being the first to launch a gamified blockchain rewards program, the exchange has gone from strength to strength. This is evidenced by the fact it has now won numerous internationally recognized licenses ensuring users of its safe and secure use. And in October 2020, showcasing another coup for the currency, the Lithuanian-based DESICO announced its second external STO would see investors offered digital securities issued by Kriptomat.

The evolution of ICO approaches will be led by the demands of investors and opportunities to access funding but with new cryptocurrencies appearing almost daily, the race to land on major exchanges is a fiercely competitive one. And engagement with investors is only part of the conundrum. Yet, gamification as part of the ICO provides an early opportunity to build brand awareness and spread ownership.

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