The expectations of Gen X and Y towards gamification

Expectations of Gen X and Y towards gamification

What is gamification?

Several definitions of gamification can be identified in the international literature. 

Deterding and al (2011) define it as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts”.

Gamification is for example used by companies to better train their new employees or to build customer loyalty. It allows problems to be presented in a lighter and more interactive way.

Gamification has become popular in recent years in various sectors, particularly to meet the expectations of the new generations X, and especially Y and Z (born after 1965), who are very keen on this learning method.

How does Neuroprofiler use gamification?

The financial sector is no exception to this trend.

Generations X, Y and Z will make up the majority of fund holders in a few years and their expectations of financial services are very different from those of their elders. They want to understand and control what they invest in. However, this learning needs to be interactive, enjoyable and flexible.

In order to meet these expectations we have put gamification at the heart of the construction of the Neuroprofiler modules.

With our academic DNA, we have applied these concepts based on the latest research in multimedia learning and gamification.

Gamification, a new field of academic research

Studies on gamification or gamification have developed as a corollary to the expansion of digital technology in the educational world (Costa, Viana, & Raleiras, 2020). 

However, the notion of learning through play is not new. It emerged in academic literature in the 1980s with the work of Cotta (1980) and Malone (1981).

However, this research experienced a particular boom in the 2010s, when gamification in learning became popular, particularly through the appearance of language learning applications such as Duolingo, Babbel or Busuu.

The latter have examined the positive effect of gamification on learner motivation, interest and confidence (Bouffard and al., 2010; Bovermann and al., 2018; Guiderdoni-Jourdain and al., 2018; Kim, 2015; Knoerr, 2005; Mozelius and al., 2015; Wix, 2012).

Other studies focus on the analysis of gamification levers. Different theories and models of gamification have emerged. We analyse the most famous ones in this article in order to clarify the expectations towards gamification.

The levers of gamification

Hero quest, badge, time pressure… what are the elements that will allow us to project ourselves into a playful environment? Which ones should be used according to the target users?

The specific study of gamification levers has been developed since the 2010s (Di Tommasso, 2011; Marache-Francisco and Brangie, 2013; Robinson and al., 2013; Chou, 2013; AlMarshedi, 2015; Jimenez, 2013).

Starting from different approaches and experiments, these studies largely converge on the same elements of gamification (collection, rarity, quest, trophy, social pressure, competition, avatar, surprise…).

Saint-Samat (working papers, 2022) has grouped these gamification levers into 5 dimensions:

  • Challenge: users are driven by challenging themselves and complicated challenges (but which allow for more rewards).
  • Surprise: users are curious and likely to be looking for new things (new challenges, new rewards, surprises, easter eggs, etc.).
  • Immersion: users like to be immersed in a universe/story. They are therefore more sensitive to stories and storytelling. They may be interested in rewards related to these stories.
  • Exclusivity: users want special treatment/VIP and rare rewards. Sensitive to opportunities.
  • Fulfillment: users are motivated by meaning, creativity, autonomy and social connection: intrinsic motivators. 

Depending on the sector and the user profile, not all levers will be equally relevant to exploit. 

In order to assess users’ appetite for one dimension rather than another before product development, the researcher developed a questionnaire with 18 questions to identify their expectations.

The relevance of each one of the 5 dimensions of gamification depends on the sector and the user profile.

Study protocol

Neuroprofiler used this methodology to survey the expectations of its end-customers regarding gamification.

The questionnaire on the 5 dimensions of gamification was submitted to 50 French-speaking Generation X and Y investors in July 2022. 

The respondents already had significant investment experience and basic financial knowledge. 

In order not to bias the results of the survey, participants were recruited anonymously online, and were compensated for their participation.

Results of the survey

Investors looking for meaning and fulfillment. The statements corresponding to the “Fulfillment” dimension received the most positive responses.

For 72% of respondents, it is important that their actions are aligned with their values. Only 6% give little or no importance to this factor. They like to feel useful (64%) and like to express the values that define them (58%).

In terms of gamification, this appetite implies focusing on the objective of the game and the relevance of the quest. The player must feel invested with a mission in line with their values.

These results are consistent with the latest KPMG studies, which indicated that 70% of individuals today want to have an impact through their investments. 

There is a growing awareness, whether environmental or social, and a willingness on the part of individuals to act in accordance with it.

An appetite for challenge

64% of respondents like to be challenged in the activities they practice. In fact, 78% of them like to track their performance and challenge themselves, and 60% of them like to take risks.

Competitive bidding, badge collection, positive feedback, puzzles… Generation X and Y investors are willing to challenge themselves to achieve their investment goals.

An ambiguous interest in the “Immersion” dimension

Our respondents appreciate an immersive atmosphere, with 68% liking to be immersed in a story and 55% liking to project themselves into an imaginary world.

However, they show little interest in identifying with a character or playing roles.

The challenge is to find the right balance between offering an immersive experience without forcing them to actively participate.

This feedback suggests that avatars and disguises are not necessarily appropriate for the investment world.

A slight aversion to surprise

Although 56% of respondents say they like surprises, 66% of them do not like to leave things to chance and only 22% like to have their habits changed.

Investors X and Y therefore seem to want to control their investments and are not particularly fond of uncertainty.

Gamification elements such as surprise games, random rewards or abrupt changes in learning styles are therefore not to be favoured.

An “Exclusivity” dimension that does not discriminate

Acquisition of limited edition objects, collections, original objects, etc., the respondents have very varied opinions on the different statements of the “Exclusivity” dimension.  

The respondents’ answers are very well balanced, ranging from “not at all in agreement” to “perfectly in agreement”.

The gamification mechanisms linked to this dimension do not therefore seem to be the preferred option for gamifying financial investment.

What are the gamification levers for the investment world?

In conclusion, the respondents show an appetite for gamification that is more focused on “Fulfilment”, “Challenge” and “Immersion”. 

The effects of surprise, uncertainty and chance are to be avoided.

Consequently, the engagement levers to be mobilised to motivate investors will focus on the acquisition of skills, meaning or creativity and autonomy.

EDUprofiler: the opportunity to learn through a fun e-learning platform

On the basis of this survey and the various studies on the subject, Neuroprofiler has enriched its various modules with gamification elements in order to fulfill the expectations.

These results were used to redesign EDUprofiler, our fun e-learning platform for financial products.

The platform allows, through a fun and educational path, to discover new financial products and to directly apply the new knowledge acquired by redirecting clients to the appropriate investment opportunities. 

Our goal is to make finance accessible to everyone, and to turn a traditionally tedious learning experience into a fun and rewarding one.


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