Gaming & MR Conference Notes

Here are some hastily written notes from today’s interesting Gaming NewMR online conference. Hope you find them useful.

Some of the notes may only make sense when seen in conjunction with the slides which should be available from the above website shortly after the event.

Game Theory – using gaming to improve online surveys
Jon Puleston (GMI)

What r&d has shown us:

  • making questions more game-like increase response


  • less straight-lining – up to 80% less
  • lower neutral scoring – avg 25% lower
  • higher enjoyment
  • lower dropout
  • good cross compatibility vs trad grid questions

Simple changes can have real impact:

  • change std round buttons to star-shaped
  • re-wording questions – more playful/less formal (more vernacular)
  • particularly valuable for more creative tasks
  • make things more competitive – add a time limit for response
  • use games at start to get ppl in right frame of mind, encourage creativity, and do subsequent surveys
  • turned ppl into a judge on a panel show called ‘New Product Factors’ – appealing to their inner Simon Cowell!

In development:

  • snowboarder going down hill, crashes through flags showing multiple choice responses
  • words scattered on a screen, ppl can shoot ones they like
  • create word clouds, allow ppl to re-arrange into their own clouds and to change the relative sizes
  • guessing games: change ‘what brands can you think of?’ to ‘can you guess the 5 most popular brands of deodorant?’
  • currently working with one client to make insight dashboards more fun to look at


  • is there a risk of non-gamers mis-playing games? overcome this by training ppl with a few initial questions to train and gauge their ability to respond
  • do surveys take longer? yes. but ppl have more fun in the process
  • will gaming approach lead to ppl looking to ‘win’? use to your advantage as are trying to push ppl to answer as best they can
  • bernie malinoff: the more interesting the question, the more likely it is to change the answer. this presents an issue? would always go with most engaging question
  • comment: good to see ppl worrying less about survey length and more about its engagement
  • are incentives for gamified surveys less or more? lower financial incentive needed

Play for a High Score – understanding gamers and gaming
Erica M. Ruyle (anthropologist)

3 G’s of gaming: gamers, games, gaming

  • Erica refers to herself as a ‘fan scholar’

Gamers – a diverse bunch:

  • data below is for US pop
  • avg age = 34 (Atari generation)
  • most freq age of game purchaser = 40
  • 42% of US pop play on a wireless device/console
  • 67% of US h/h play consoles/games

Games – key ways to engage users:

  • 1. decent graphics
  • 2. intuitive playability
  • 3. award/achievement system
  • 4. story/rationale
  • 5. music
  • get away from reality – ppl play games to escape reality

Gaming – importance of:

  • work/fun – best games require a lot of work but are punctuated w/ fun – get ppl to reach a zen-like state so that they behave emotionally

Ideas for gaming in MR:

  • mobile gaming/GPS
  • virtual gaming community
  • video game rewards
  • choice analysis


  • definitely diffs between cultures – above data is US-centric
  • ppl not likely to disguise their identity in games

Game On! – a semiotician’s view of gaming and MR
Stefania Gogna (Head for Brand)

Gaming = a new way to get insight

Ten principles that make video games so interesting

  • 1. participation: ppl take an active part in a peer group environment
  • 2. exploration: ppl free to explore information w/out researcher
  • 3. expression: ppl feel more free to express themselves
  • 4. exchange: exchange ideas, sharing
  • 5. simulation: ppl can reconstruct patterns of what they would like to see in the real world
  • 6. close attention/scan ability: ppl pay strong attention to all important details
  • 7. collaborative problem solving: ppl find new and unexpected ways to resolve problems
  • 8. active thinking: more creative problem-solving
  • 9. insider: active participant not passive consumer, in charge of their own experience
  • 10. amplification: players generate a lot of output from little stimulus


  • comment: issue for MR is need to share more w/ respondents
  • comment: need to allow player to control some aspects, uncomfortable for some in MR

Research Through Gaming – opportunities for change
Betty Adamou (Nebu)

What is RTG:

  • where a company gains data from a resp while they play a computer game and about the way they play the game itself

Fun theory:

  • c.f YouTube video of VW piano stairs
  • ppl started using stairs rather then escalators purely because of the fun element incorporated in the stairs

Entertainment snacking:

  • ppl playing apps while waiting to do something/while travelling (on mobile device, via email, thru consoles)
  • 1. avatar-based research games (ABRGs)
  • 2. gaming as the incentive (GATIRGs)
  • 3. questions as mini-games (QAMRGs) – e.g. flash app
  • 4. social-media based research games (SMRGs) – e.g. farmville


  • video content would need to be classified by official industry/regulatory body


  • some stuff you won’t want to gamify, e.g. if questions are sensitive

Let’s all Play the Game – applying game playing to qualitative research
Arthur Fletcher (Blauw Research)

Design Game:

  • been working for 5yrs with a product called ‘Design Game’ – co-creation tool for design
  • a game from beginning to end
  • typically played in a focus group facility
  • resps play for 2 hrs
  • two phases: 1.identify issues; 2.synthesise solutions
  • has generated some successful products
  • a completely different way to gather info
  • all tasks against the clock – highly productive
  • clients absolutely love it as can observe
  • really hard work for resps

Better than a discussion guide:

  • 50% more content by volume
  • 75% more content by topic
  • no opportunity not to participate
  • no opportunity to get bored – cognitive focus

Not suitable for all qual:

  • fine for majority of assignments
  • lacks scope for detailed probing
  • more expensive
  • purists wouldn’t like it

Game vs discussion guide:

    Example 1:

  • dg: “what sort of things frustrate you when shopping online”
  • game: “in the next 60 secs, list as many things that frustrate you when shopping online”
  • game: can refine importance by asking for top 3 reasons
  • Example 2:

  • dg: “ok, so you mentioned security is a big issue, how to overcome?”
  • game: “security has been identified as a major issue – in next 2 mins design a new security system and name 3 reasons why better”
  • game: this works well in practice


  • reaction to being told it is a MR exercise rather than a game? resps told it is a MR exercise from the outset – the game element is a pleasant surprise
  • how sell into clients? need a good client relationship, they need to trust you. tough sell. have evidence that it works, and this helps to convince

Trust, Identity, Reach and Reward – the implications of social media
Nigel Legg (Trevanian Legg)

Trust is 2-way:

  • ppl must trust researcher
  • and vice versa

Trust based on identity:

  • ppl invest time in identity
  • social media relies on real world relationships w/ real world ppl
  • twitter is old fashioned by allowing ppl to post under pseudonyms


  • getting the right sample
  • hard to do/expensive with trad MR
  • platforms only valid when critical mass of users


  • ppl must have a reason to press the share button – e.g. prizes
  • different rewards for different types of participation (e.g. voting, giving ideas)

Coffeemat challenge:

  • rcv prizes for submitting business ideas
  • animation for voting

Other applications:

  • crowd-sourced idea generation
  • survey design
  • SMM (social media marketing) campaigns
  • SM (social media) platforms


  • if rewards vary by activity, might this influence/game their response? fair comment

Mobile Social Games for MR – challenging boundaries
Leonard Murphy (Brandscan 360)

Mobile ecosystem:

  • smartphone penetration growing to ubiquity
  • ecosystem expanding rapidly
  • real-time anywhere access to apps and functionality

New frontier for gaming and MR:

  • 73% of US engaged in social media
  • 32.7m ppl play social games daily
  • 75+m ppl play farmville monthly
  • foursquare, yelp and getglue engage millions daily
  • morgan stanley: mobile device will be the primary web interface within 5 yrs

Using gaming in MR – engagement:

  • reward users for returning in a short time
  • reward users for helping friends
  • allow users to create w/out typing
  • offer increasing levels of complexity and mastery
  • have surprises and limited time events

Revolutionary approach:

  • web partners encourage users to download mobile app
  • members earn badges for survey participation
  • badges promote online reputation and influence, interests, brand affinity
  • consumers rate brand perceptions, awareness, experience
  • surveys received via LBS, push notifications, check-ins, can share w/ friends

Starts with the community:

  • best way to engage consumers
  • gaming driven by making it fun, social esteem, rewards

Badge benefits:

    For users:

  • users build reputation
  • creates instant value
  • users share badges
  • For brands:

  • drop-in reputation across web
  • define new rewards easily
  • social analytics for brands
  • new way to engage with customers, members, fans

Brandscan 360 rating:

  • community members provide thousands of daily ratings
  • based on brand touchpoints/interactions
  • data mapped to location

Apps – the new currency:

  • in-demand and WoM driven
  • consumers earn points for participation


  • since not everyone is interested in badges, does this create a source of bias? no
  • location-based angles? opportunity to use for shelf testing

Prediction Markets for Fun and Prophet – putting gaming to work
Jeffrey Henning (Vovici)

Prediction markets:

  • been around for a while
  • became popular in 2004 w/ wisdom of crowds book
  • hsx – hollywood stock exchange – given virtual dollars to invest in movies and stars – chance to be a movie mogul
  • used by spread betters cantor fitzgerald to establish odds

Other pred mkts:

  • simexchange – for games
  • betfair
  • iem – iowa electronic markets – politics – oldest pred mkt
  • bet2give: wide range of topics

Why pred mkts work well:

  • we see others better than we see ourselves

Combe case study:

  • hair care products brand – just for men, grecian…
  • traditionally used surveys for concept testing
  • tried pred mkts due to low incidence rates (i.e. ability to use a general pop sample = cheaper)
  • pred mkt ‘traders’ allocate virtual dollars to preferred concepts
  • no sample selection – general pop
  • ppl like the exercise, more entertaining

Benefits of pred mkts:

  • ask ppl what would the market do (not what they would you do)
  • variable incentives
  • 3-4 days vs 3-4 wks
  • half the price

Reasons for limited client adoption:

  • companies reluctant to abandon normative databases
  • failure has many fathers
  • early adopters have expensive-to-reach mkts


  • not had any papers refuting pred mkts so why are clients reluctant to adopt? idea not been sufficiently evangelised. forrester research just blogged that they are about to bring out a new paper on pred mkts shortly. stuff takes time to get adopted
  • pred mkts is a different slant on gaming. are there other examples of different takes on gaming? gaming usually means simulations. lesson from today is the need to take inspiration from games to make things more fun and entertaining
  • comment: trendspotting/cool hunting are examples of engendering a competitive instinct to encourage responses

Category: EVENTS, NewMR


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