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The Business Value of Gamification


California Management Review


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Jacobides M G

Publication Year



This article analyzes the connection between gamification and business success, focusing on customer retention, new customer acquisition, and transforming user perceptions. Based on a qualitative comparative analysis of 40 high-profile gamification projects, it shows that a combination of three key features—virtualization, social comparison, and tangible rewards—explain the various pathways to success. Each pathway requires the presence—and sometimes absence—of different design features, and firms do best when they focus on one or two objectives rather than all three at once. The article presents a framework for designing and implementing gamification more strategically and effectively, noting the ethical questions that arise.

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