Complete guide to gamification in online casinos
Many well-known online casinos launched in recent years have applied elements of traditional game playing to the user experience on the casino website. A growing phenomenon and a solid trend for a few years and counting, gamification is here to stay.
In this guide we’ll explain:
- What gamification is
- How gamification is applied to online casinos
- Why gamification is so popular
- The most important elements of gamification
- The growth of gamification and future trends
What is gamification?
Gamification is the application of elements from traditional games (most commonly video games) to non-gaming environments or activities that encourages interaction and engagement with those domains. Game mechanics are used to convey the sense of an overarching game world in a context that wouldn’t normally be associated with a gaming ethic.
Here are some examples of these elements:
- Level ups
Gamification in online casinos translates into a game within a game, and each casino has their own take on this. The best casinos doing gamification will treat you to an immersive adventure where each of your actions affects your entire casino experience, just as though you were playing a video game. Others make use of just a few gamification elements to liven up their product.
Gamification promotes player participation and engagement by turning the casino experience into a journey, rewarding active players with great perks at regular intervals and enabling the social aspect of casino games.
If you want to enjoy a minimalist take on the rewards and skip the gamification part, check out our guide to loyalty and VIP programs.
How is gamification applied to online casinos?
When you choose a great gamification casino, here are some features you’re likely to encounter:
- Choices: customise your own casino avatar to use on your journey. The choices you make throughout the adventure affect how you’ll be rewarded.
- Levels: play the games, watch your score or progress bar grow, and level up.
- Quests: accept the challenge, achieve the set goal and reap the rewards.
- Rewards: character boosts, free spins, bonus money, casino currency and trophies await active adventurers.
- Leaderboards: compete against the other gamers and climb to the top for fame, glory and perks.
Why are casinos getting gamified?
Gamification is a fairly new casino trend that emerged from the tough competition that arose between online casinos in the early 2010s. Most online casinos had a standard format with the same games, casino bonuses and payment methods even back then, so providing a standout experience had become quite challenging.
To rise above competitors, some casinos started adopting features that players had only previously experienced in clear-cut online and offline games.
This gamification experiment was an instant hit as it gave casinos the opportunity to innovate and diversify, and players lapped it up. Playing in online casinos became more like playing a comprehensive game – more fun and exciting.
Nowadays, many new casinos follow in the footsteps of the first trailblazers and launch gamified offerings that attempt to outshine or at least match the older success stories.
Why is gamification so popular?
Players have many more options now than in the early days of online casino gamification. There are plenty of gamified casinos to play in nowadays, each with their unique style and elements that enhance your gameplay.
Gamification exploded onto the scene and maintained its popularity because it appeals to a large base of gaming fans and adds a lot of interest to otherwise plain, similar tasks that don’t vary much between casinos. This is an area where online casinos can continue to push the boundaries of the experience and deliver sparkling new settings to play in.
Gamification is also sought after because it’s often used for loyalty and VIP programs. The reward systems are often built into a game scenario where you have to complete tasks or reach goals to claim your goodie.
Embark on a journey full of epic quests, or settle for “gamification lite" with a handful of innovative rewards in these casinos:
Immersive casino adventures
When a casino develops and builds a truly immersive adventure, you’ll have as much fun progressing on your journey as playing the actual games. Your choices all matter, starting from the very first moments spent in the casino.
An immersive casino adventure usually starts with creating your own character or avatar. You can customise the appearance, name and attributes of your character. Some casinos are so influenced by role-playing games that their characters might be light-footed scouts, slow and heavy hitters or powerful mages with special abilities.
The level system can be found in all casino adventures and most loyalty programs too. You advance through your casino journey by accumulating points. These are earned by playing casino games.
You can trace your development by keeping an eye on the progress meter. When it’s full, you’ll level up and collect some bonuses. The higher the level, the bigger the rewards.
CHALLENGES, MISSIONS AND QUESTS
Gamification casinos have challenges, missions and quests that are updated on a regular basis. When you complete them, you’ll be rewarded with either tangible bonuses such as free spins, or achievement badges and trophies.
You might only have days or even just hours for completing some of them. Other, more difficult challenges may give you a bit more time.
Challenges are generally game- or at least supplier-specific. Here are some typical ones:
- Hit the bonus feature "x" number of times in specific online slots
- Accumulate a certain amount of wilds or other symbols on the reels
- Play a set number of spins
- Win a set number of spins in a row
- Achieve a big win in a certain game
- Take your place on a leaderboard
Trophies and achievements don’t usually have any monetary value in themselves. However, when you meet the requirements for earning a trophy or an achievement, you may also get a small reward.
Trophies are valued by players for their esteem in the online casino community they participate in.
Some trophies can be unlocked over and over again. You might also be able to upgrade your previous trophy to the next level. When this happens, you’re usually rewarded too.
Some challenges are social in nature and work just like casino tournaments. You can monitor the real-time situation on a leaderboard so you know when to leap for a spurt. Secure your place on the top spots to score handsome prizes.
The casino feed is an essential feature of social gaming. When you score a big win, complete a challenge, earn a trophy or level up, the casino might show this to your fellow players on their feed with a picture of your avatar and your username.
If you prefer being a lone wolf instead of an aspiring leader of the pack, you can make your achievements invisible to others by modifying your profile settings.
Casino adventures are full of opportunities to scoop up rewards. Advancing through levels and completing quests is when you’ll most typically be rewarded, but depending on the casino, you might also receive something when you least expect it.
The rewards can be either set in stone or have some random element to them. For example, you may know how many free spins you can score by completing a quest, but for a level up reward, you get to spin a wheel and score at random.
One thing is always certain: higher levels equal better booty.
There are several types of rewards you may encounter on your journey:
- Free spins
- Casino currency
- No deposit bonus money
- Character boosts and upgrades
Character boosts and upgrades will help your avatar on its journey to the top. Boosts are temporary, upgrades permanent. With them, you’ll gain points faster and get even better rewards from the adventure.