>Gamification is creeping into every kind of digital content, and the trend is likely to continue as the market for video games expands. Publishers can participate in that expansion without trying to compete with game developers seeking a slice of the estimated $159 billionmarket for video games.
The more modest goal is to develop "habit-forming news products," as Mary-Katharine Phillips, media innovation analyst at digital publishing platform Twipe, discussed in a blog last week. Citing examples that include The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the Guardian and The Washington Post, she says puzzles can be a worthwhile investment.
Games can have pitfalls, with one publisher telling Phillips that it removed puzzles from its digital platform because readers said they could find better game play in a puzzle app. Further investigation determined the publisher's puzzle product was inferior, indicating a need for at least some modest investment to ensure that it worked properly.
There has been a lot of research into how to create addictive technology that hacks people's brains, which is morally objectionable.
However, there are some lessons for publishers in creating products that give readers another reason to subscribe and remain loyal customers.