The Week in Review #29: HearthStone & Gamification

Late last year a team mate of mine saw me killing some time playing Clash of Clans on my iPad. It was something I would occasionally do when I had a couple of minutes to kill or just needed a break. He suggested that I test out this new game called HearthStone. It was a competitive card trading game that you play against other opponents. It took a week and I was hooked. The game looks deceptively simple when you first start playing it. However to become a top ranked player takes a lot of work and understanding of the games fundamentals. This month I am playing to enter the highest ranks available. This is the top 2500 players out of the millions of people who play the game. I haven’t quite got there yet and thus the delay in this post.

As entrepreneurs there are several things that we can take away from how these gaming companies operate. First off it would be beneficial for most business owners to understand game mechanics. Several of these concepts can be used within your own companies for processes like recruiting and marketing. Over the last couple of years the word gamification has been greatly publicized to take advantage of these mechanics. The other factor that greatly stands out is how these gaming companies build communities. There are a plethora of websites that are dedicated to these players and Blizzard (game developer) invests heavily in promoting all of these destinations.

Professional players such as Kripparian averages 200,000 views of his youtube videos discussing the game hours after it has been released. The other major destination that I have discovered is Twitch. A business which was started to help professional players stream themselves playing the games. When you first hear about the concept, it doesn’t make too much sense. However once you see a single player being watched by tens of thousands of people at a single moment, it starts to make a lot of sense. The website was purchased by Amazon for a billion dollars late last  year.

Listed below are several links which provide insight into this industry and to get a better understanding of some of the dynamics that you can take leverage yourself.

Single Player Game This is a long read. However if you want to understand the psychology of the most hardcore game players this would be a great start. This essay provides a history of the development of games and how far they have come.

What is Gamification This post provides an in-depth summary of what is gamification. The post includes several very relevant examples of how these concepts have been implemented.

Why gamification is serious business This article by analyst at Accenture provides a broader overview of the implications of gamification. The paper includes analysis of how these mechanics are impacting Gen Y and the millennial generations.

You’d be surprised just how big ‘e-sports’ is getting People are usually shocked when they learn about the prize pools available in e-sport competitions. With millions of dollars on the line an entire industry is beginning to take shape with coaches, professional teams and major league tournaments.

Inside the life of a pro gamer Sitting in front of your computer and playing computer games sounds like a good job. However there is a much more than meets the eye if you want to go pro. This article provides an in depth look into the life of a pro gamer. There is additional context provider on just how large this space is becoming.

I may do a dedicated post on my learnings from Hearthstone soon. That would also work as a primer for anyone who wants to start playing the game.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!