6 powerful reasons why gamification of sports matters a lot
Remember Nintendo’s Wii Sports? We all played the game as kids. In fact, some people do it to this day. It was a revolutionary moment in the sports industry. The reason for that is the fact that it transformed the hitherto one-dimensional aspect of sports into something so accessible to everyone, and something that could be enjoyed. Even if you had never heard of or played baseball in your life, you had an absolute blast playing it on Wii Sports.
Gamification is the process of adding games of game-like elements to a sport. It comes with various benefits, as will be discussed below. It is an intersection of two industries, and one that allows for great innovation.
Better learning experience
Gamification allows people to learn about sports even if they do not have interest in it. By making sports in a game format, one has fun playing it, and can automatically learn about the sport. They can also learn about the rules, the kind of play and other aspects of it. If they enjoy it, they can always go one step further and learn the history of the sport, the names of the top players and other trivia. The person can experience fun and enjoyment during the game and be engaged in high levels. This leads to an increase in learning and retention.
Feedback is instant and appropriate
The advantage of gamifying sports is that it is instantly accessible to a whole new set of people, and quite a large one at that. Now it’s no longer a sport, but a game to play, to have fun with, and to critically judge. In this scenario, gamers and those who play the game-sport will be able to give their opinions on it, and how it can be better to make it a success. An example of this is Microsoft embracing the Wii Sports revolution and launching Xbox Kinect.
Change in perceptions
Gamification can instill a sense of competitiveness in gamers. While sport is competition at its core, it’s not accessible competition, so to speak. Not everyone can play a sport and compete in it. With gamification, however, anyone can race a Formula 1 car and set lap records. Anyone can take to the court and shoot three-pointers. This, coupled with incentives like points, leaderboards and trophies/achievements motivates players to do better. This in a broader sense makes gamers like and appreciate the sport, something they may not have done without gamification.
There are a lot of games which take centre stage in the e-sports brigade. League of Legends, Apex, you name it. There are also some other sports, which although aren’t as popular, are still played in large numbers. FIFA comes to mind. The football-based game is so popular that on the biggest e-sports stages, the tactics on display will make you swear you are seeing a proper football game, as opposed to the random running and shooting most of us do. No wonder top clubs have their own e-sports teams.
This may be a minor one, but gamification is proven to be a social tool. Imagine you are at a shopping mall, and the latest FIFA is available to test and play. You play against a complete stranger, and you could possibly have a conversation about football or anything else, and share a few laughs. Enough said, really.
Saved the most obvious one for last, but gamification is a literal goldmine for companies. There is no other reason why companies like EA, 2K and Codemasters back gamification of sports to the degree they do. Whether it is the price of the games or in-game transactions, the money flows because people are willing to invest.
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