Gamification or Game Design? A case study in the field of sustainable commuting.

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Domenico SchillaciSalvatore Di DioMauro FilippiFrancesco Massa

Abstract: In the last few years, the debate among designers and sustainability experts has brought attention to many different behavioural change approaches and techniques and particularly on “gamification” processes able to better motivate and engage students or even nudge people (consumers) to more environmentally and socially responsible habits (Mousumi, 2021).But since 2011, most of the contradictions about “gamifying” boring or unpleasant experiences have been loudly shared by game designers and thinkers worldwide (Bogost, 2014). It seems that the goal of changing people’s unsustainable behaviours can be achieved by designing brand new sustainable experiences instead of gamifying the unsustainable ones (Yusoff and Kamsin, 2015).This change of perspective represents the foundation of applied games, and it has been deeply studied during the applied research MUV2020 (723521 –, led by the PUSH design laboratory within the Horizon2020 framework in the field of sustainable urban mobility (Di Dio et al., 2020).From June 2017 to August 2018, the research consortium has run extensive user research across Europe and developed a mobile app game based on the main gain mechanic of recording personal urban travels and a game narrative of sport.From September 2018 to February 2020, the consortium had run several tests in more than 20 cities to study the value of different interactions in terms of engagement and sustainability impact.After the COVID-19 outbreak, further experiments have been carried out by the research project spin-off’s MUV Benefit Corporation ( Thanks to more than 16.000 downloads, 500.000 kilometres recorded, and the CO2 reduction algorithm (validated in April 2020 according to ISO 14064-2), this contribution shows how various game dynamics nudged, with a different rate of efficacy, MUV’s players commuting behaviours.This contribution will extensively deepen applied and persuasive games, MUV App user research and game design, actual field data analysis on engagement rate and sustainable impacts.

Keywords: gamification, sports game, sustainable mobility

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002741

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