8 Core Human Drives in Gamification

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Games were originally created to motivate us to do things. This Power of "Fun" has changed the world many times over. 

Sport ‘games’ were originally created to get people to take action and keep fit. Board Games like Chess were created to educate soldiers on military strategy. Ancient games like “Knuckles” were used to keep people's minds entertained and Engaged during famine. Games and game like elements have been used to educate, entertain and engage. Some classic game elements are; Points, badges & leaderboards.

Points (used in sports, Sky Miles, reward cards and video games)
Badges (from the military to golden stars on school report cards)
Leaderboards (used in the olympics, sales teams, and in general life to see who winners or losers are).

These are just to name a few, but theres actually a lot more to these seemingly simple elements than what most people think.

World leading Gamification expert Yu-kai Chou believes that true gamification is when we tap into our core human drives. He believes these core drives are key to bringing “fun & engagement” into almost any task; these 8 universal core drives are;

8 Universal Core Drives

  1. Meaning – the desire to feel that our actions have purpose

  2. Accomplishment – The drive to achieve and overcome challenges

  3. Empowerment – The desire to choose one’s own direction and try a variety of solutions to a problem

  4. Ownership – The desire to own things and have possession

  5. Social Influence – The drive to interact with, help, learn from, and compete with others

  6. Scarcity – The drive of wanting things you can’t have

  7. Unpredictability – The drive of wanting to know what will happen next, and...

  8. Avoidance – The drive to avoid pain or negative consequences.

The history and effectiveness of elements like points, badges and leaderboards according to Yu-Kai Chou is in their ability to use these core drives. For instance;

- Point systems make us feel like we have meaning, purpose and a sense of progression.
- Badges
tap into the need for accomplishment and reward
- Leaderboards
appeal to our need for social status and influence.

The more we understand the psychology behind our core drives, the better we will be at Creating Games  Campaigns & gamified actions that meet our core needs and intern are proven to become more fun, engaging and a higher likelihood of being shared.

Update: "How to ADHD" did and amazing video below and I thought it's worth sharing. 

To see the next video in the series, click next:


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