Digital games and online research aren’t that different. Both are productive ‘entertainment snacks.’ Let’s look at some of the parallels.

  1. Finish Line: Both digital games and online research are designed to be followed through to completion. There is a specific beginning and a specific end in mind and participants strive to reach the designed ending.
  2. Measurement: Both digital games and online research are designed with measurement and evaluation as crucial components. For instance, both measure the duration of participation, completion rates, voluntary purposeful actions such as specific motions and clicks and selections, and much more.
  3. digital game gamification serious gamesParadata and Metadata: Paradata, such as time of day, participation duration, number of contacts, as well as metadata, such as variables, variable types, inter-relationships of the parts, are collected for both game and research interactions.
  4. Engagement: Participant and player engagement are crucial for the survival and growth of both the game and research industries. Both industries experience a saturated and competitive market and both are overcrowded. Thus, both also must work diligently to engage their audiences during the ‘player’ experience in effective and innovative ways.
  5. Online Communities: Both online research, in the form of access panels and MROCs (Market Research Online Communities) and gaming platforms rely on communities to create and maintain user engagement. Both industries must put significant effort into creating environments outside the ‘player’ experience to retain engagement while the ‘player’ isn’t actively participating in the game or research experience.
  6. Pricing Strategies: Because of market saturation, both games and research tools are competitively priced and often made available in ‘Freemium’ models that incorporate both paid and free components. Players pay to level up in gaming whereas researchers pay to access premium features of DIY survey and data analysis tools. In both cases, the free is an essential component of enticing users to access better services.

No other medium is as similar to digital games as online research. If you’re ready to see how your next research project could become even more similar games by creating a more engaging and motivating research experience for your participants, please get in touch!


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Research Through Gaming helps market researchers, marketers, and brand managers discover more human, actionable insights by immersing people in emotive, engaging ResearchGames. Research Through Gaming Ltd is a GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative Firms (2012,2014), won the NGMR Disruptive Innovation Award (2015), and is recognized globally as the leader in game-based research methods. RTG collaborates with Fortune 500 brands around the world to build online and offline research games that solve a broad range of marketing challenges including ad and concept tests, new product development, pricing tests, usage and attitude studies, and more.

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