What is it about?

Digital service providers are increasingly “gamifying” their services (i.e., enriching non-game services with game elements) to foster additional user value in terms of specific user experiences. Understanding how such experiences of gamified services influence business outcomes is critical. Drawing on service-dominant logic and self-determination theory, this research examines the impact of motivational user experiences (self-development, social connectedness, expressive freedom, and social comparison) on firm-beneficial behavior. Findings from a cross-contextual study reveal that motivational experiences increase these outcomes to different extents. Among the experiences examined, self-development has the strongest effect on business outcomes. Importantly, some experiences interact in a way that negatively affects those outcomes. For instance, the interplay between social comparison and social connectedness or expressive freedom is dysfunctional and impairs firm-beneficial user behavior. The study's results help service providers to prioritize those experiences that matter most for their business goals.

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Why is it important?

We show that individuals' experiences related to gamified services have immediate consequences for firm-beneficial outcomes. Experiences while using gamified services unfold motivational value by either promoting the satisfaction of three basic psychological needs (competence, relatedness, and autonomy) or eliciting perceptions of pressure. Thus, gamified services can nurture inherently pleasurable and satisfying experiences as well as outcome-oriented experiences such as status gains.


"Some combinations of experiences enhance desired business outcomes whereas other combinations harm them. Service providers should design their services to afford the perception of self-development as those benefits drive profit-enhancing user behavior. However, they should be cautious when facilitating social competition as it can backfire."

Dr Maik Hammerschmidt
Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Experiences that matter? The motivational experiences and business outcomes of gamified services, Journal of Business Research, January 2019, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.12.058.
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