Gamified Persuasion: User Experiences of Online Activation Service

Gamified Persuasion: User Experiences of Online Activation Service

Tim Luoto (Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland), Raija Korpelainen (Oulu Deaconess Institute, Oulu, Finland & Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland & University Hospital, Oulu, Finland), Juha Röning (Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland), Riikka Ahola (Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland & University Hospital, Oulu, Finland), Heidi Enwald (Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland), Noora Hirvonen (Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland), Lauri Tuovinen (Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland) and Hannu I. Heikkinen (Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/ijskd.2014100101
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Abstract

The authors have empirically examined the persuasive properties of digital games from a multidisciplinary perspective. Besides the relevant cultural and psychological theories related to the game phenomenon, the authors have included a case study where a persuasive online activation service was tested among young men (N=280, average 17.9 year old) in the promotion of physical and social activity. The emphasis of the article is on qualitative material, which is based on in-depth interviews of 10 individuals, as well as participant observation considering the user experiences regarding the activation service and gaming in general. The authors have concluded that games contain persuasive characteristics based on human culture and psychology and that these characteristics could effectively be utilized in physically and socially activating games.
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Persuasion And Games

Persuasion is understood as an attempt to convince someone to do or think differently than they are used or prefer to. Ultimately the intention behind persuasion is to change someone's behavior or thinking towards more desirable patterns. Persuasion is based on rhetoric, the art of discourse, aimed towards an improved capability to inform, persuade or motivate those who are being informed (Bogost, 2007a; Bogost, 2007b; Corbett, 1965).

Considering rhetorical persuasion, computers are a promising platform: they can be programmed to tirelessly bombard the user with a combination of text, sound and images – as digital games do. Ian Bogost (2007a; 2007b) has studied the procedural rhetoric in persuasive games. According to Bogost (2007a), procedurality is the programmability of computers to react on the feedback from various inputs. Thus, procedurality can be understood as interpretative manipulation of symbols (Harnard, 2004). Procedural rhetoric is a method of using the expressive power of digital games in persuasion (Bogost, 2007a). Summa summarum, digital games have the potential to effectively persuade users by using a selected set of images, text and sound, based on the user feedback.

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