The Octalysis Model and Gamification Levers

Description of the Octalysis Model

The Octalysis model, created by Yu-kai Chou, identifies the following 8 main gamification levers:

  • Vocation and sense of epic: allows the user to feel privileged and unique.
  • Empowerment: allows the user to feel autonomous and responsible for his journey. The user is the master of his game, which he can shape according to his values and vision. They are engaged in a creative process.
  • Social influence: will promote mentoring, collaboration, but also competition.
  • Unpredictability: consists in keeping the user’s attention constant through new elements, suspense and unexpected events.
  • Prevention: consists in playing with the loss aversion of the users.
  • Rarity: consists in valuing knowledge or an action by its rarity.
  • Possession: increases user motivation through the possession of new objects or knowledge.
  • Accomplishment: is based on the users’ desire to excel and acquire new knowledge.

An Academically and Commercially Tested Model

The Octalysis model is referenced in over 1500 academic publications. The Octalysis matrix is mainly based on 3 scientific theories:

1. Intrinsic Motivation: the Theory of Self-Determination

This theory of human motivation focuses on how humans are intrinsically motivated, independent of external rewards.

2. Extrinsic Motivation: Behavioral Economics

In addition to intrinsic motivations, the Octalysis model considers the research in behavioral economics of Kahneman and Dan Ariely on cognitive biases, and in particular loss aversion, the possession effect and the distortion of probabilities.

Octalysis covers all the major aspects of behavioral economics through the 8 fundamental motivations of Octalysis human motivation.

3. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Finally, the last theory that inspires the Octalysis model is Maslow’s famous 5-story pyramid, starting from basic physiological needs, to self-actualization needs.

The theory states that a lower level must be satisfied before moving on to a higher level, although some overlap is possible.

The Octalysis model is superimposed on these S levels, with levers 6, 7 and 8 of the model corresponding to the primary needs for survival and security. Levers 1 to S, on the other hand, respond to the needs of the upper floors of the pyramid.

Examples of Applications of the Octalysis Method

Beyond the academic framework, the Octalysis model has been applied to the creation of numerous game applications.

For example, it has been successfully applied to the Trade Samurai trading application that allows users to trade on the FOREX (currency) market. Plunged into the world of Japanese warriors, users must defeat the armies of Fear and Greed that want to corrupt the stock market.

Convinced by the academic soundness of the Octalysis model and by the success of its commercial applications, Neuroprofiler has built its EDUprofiler on this model.