Is gamification for real in the U.S?

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When it comes to the "consumerization" of the retail banking industry, people tend to think of the influence of smartphones and tables on enterprise initiatives. But there's a related concept called gamification that deals with the effects of online gaming and how it might be used from a marketing perspective by banks.

While consumerization seems to moving along, a fair debate is whether the gamification movement is for real, or whether it's merely a short-term phenomena destined to flame out soon.

Bank Systems & Technology reports that, "Although gamification is talked about a great deal in banking circles, few U.S. banks have been willing to give the concept a try. The hesitation is understandable given that banks have little experience in designing digital games and - as with any new trend - banks may be questioning how best to approach and implement a gamification initiative. But outside of the U.S. many banks are diving into gamification and are already showing direct benefits from it."

The point of most projects is to create games that lead to greater usage of bank services. Misys is said to be creating a tablet-based game that client banks might use to reward customers for making deposits in savings accounts. Thomson Reuters and start up True Office are collaborating on a compliance-oriented gamification project.

While such activity is to be applauded, doesn't it also seem that most games are mere fads destined to flame out in a few years? Look at all that Rovio is doing to keep Angry Birds cool. If a bank wants to do this right, it will essentially end up in gaming industry, searching for a hit, which will be elusive for most.

In the end, a strong ROI for these initiatives may prove elusive.

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