Gamification – Different Types of User


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I was recently pointed at the direction of an post from Andrzej Marczewski, ‘Different kinds of Users in Gamification’. Andrzej constructed on Richard Bartle’s player type concept. To read Bartle’s complete concept, click here.

Andrzej notes that the major distinction between game players and consumers of gamified content is they may not want to ‘play with’.

Players are the people who like to find the accomplishments on your system; they prefer to see their names on the leaderboards. They enjoy the “game” of everything. There to play the game and are delighted with the extrinsic rewards.
Socialisers (as in the first Player Type) will be the people who wish to interact with other people. They like to get connected to others. These are those will evangelise your inner social networks. Most inspired by the social connectiosn facets of relatedness.
Free Spirits prefer to have agency. They don’t need to be limited in how they go through their personal journey. They seek self reflection and autonomy.
Achievers are the people who wish to be the best at things, or at least be achieving things inside the system. They wish to get 100% on the inner learning system. They do so for themselves and are likely not that bothered with then displaying to other people about it. . They desire a system that will enrich them and direct them towards command.
Philanthropists want to feel that they’re of something larger. They wish to give back to other people. These are those who will answer endless questions on forums, simply because they like to believe they’re helping.

Andrzej has up to now named four user types which are intrinsically motivated in certain ways: Socialiser, Free Spirit, Achiever and Philanthropist. In his second blog article he discusses how you will find four kinds of extrinsically motivated users of gamified content also: Networker, Exploiter, Consumer and Self-Seeker.

Self Seekers Act Users for Extrinsic Reward- They will answer questions and assist others, but only to get rewards from the system. Quantity over quality — unless caliber gets them more rewards. They are uninterested in the social component of consumers
Consumers Act on the System for Extrinsic Reward – A user wants to use a system that could give them something. A good example would be people who use one specific airway due to the loyalty scheme.
Networkers Interact with Clients for Extrinsic Reward – They need social relations, but to give them some kind of reward or status. A good example of this are those who tweet and network etc. just to get increased Klout scores
Exploiters Interact with the System for Extrinsic Reward – Similar in character to Self Seekers, they’re the men and women who’ll like or upvote or retweet something multiple times to obtain reward. Contrary to Free Spirits, who will seek the bounds of a systems capacities for pleasure, they are very likely to find the loopholes on your principles and exploit them

It appears to me that these 8 kinds of users of gamified content may also be used to explain the majority of the people we encounter in our businesses, or even our lives at large. And what also seems likely is that individuals will fit into various categories in various situations. By way of example, you may be a Socialiser and Achiever in your home, but be a Networker and Consumer at the office. So while these kinds are important when designing gamified articles, they could also be very helpful when designing different interventions: coaching, rewards structures, communications and so forth.


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Shashank Jain

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