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Summary:

While early critics may have scoffed, gamification start-up Badgeville just kept growing adding more clients and evolving from a gamification provider to a broader behavior platform utilizing games, reputation and social networking. Now, it’s releasing what it says is the first mobile gamification SDK for developers.

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When Badgeville started rolling out its gamification software a couple years ago, CEO Kris Duggan said most critics suggested it might only get applied to media or content sites looking to add some simple game mechanics. But Badgeville has just kept growing, expanding its audience to not just consumer-facing businesses but enterprise customers looking to motivate their workers. And it’s evolved from a gamification provider to a broader behavior platform utilizing games, reputation and social networking.

Now, Badgeville is taking the next step by releasing a mobile SDK that lets iOS and Android developers build in Badgeville’s features into their native smartphone and tablet apps. Duggan said it’s the first mobile gamification SDK available and helps continue the momentum behind gamification as it gains more acceptance among companies such as Deloitte, IBM, Kaiser and others.

Developers will be able to implement existing features such as leaderboards, badges, ranks and social networking. But they’ll also be able to incorporate new mobile tools such as geo-location, enabling clients to create their own check-in services. Deloitte is using that for a new program that connects its consultants by encouraging them to check-in to assignments.

Other consumer-facing businesses are also finding the SDK useful. Menuism, a food and restaurant review service and Apontador, a Brazilian review site, will be implementing Badgeville’s SDK in their mobile apps to extend their online communities into the mobile app environment. Duggan said about two-thirds of Badgeville’s 140 clients use the software in consumer-facing services, but the bigger growth is in enterprise deployments. Ultimately, he said whether it’s aimed at consumers or employees, gamification comes down to helping measure and influence user behavior.

“The bigger idea is of a unified identity on whatever platform you’re on. Whether its web, mobile, a social app inside the enterprise, there is persistant idea of identity, rank and reputation that follows you,” said Duggan.He said Apple’s Game Center and platforms like OpenFeint can add a social game layer to apps, but those are systems designed for gaming apps. He said Badgeville will be the tool for other non-gaming companies to implement gamification in their apps, extending the network they’ve already created online through Badgeville.

Duggan said Badgeville is on pace to do up to $20 million in sales this year with its gamification tools. It’s not a huge business yet, but it’s growing with some pretty respectable names on board as clients. And now with a mobile SDK, Badgeville is again poised to grow even more as it helps companies getting in the gaming spirit.

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