02 August 2014

Finance technology etc

Elton Cane - Independent

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Future Finance

Finextra and Oracle have gathered together some of the industry's top thought leaders to discuss, debate and analyse the key trends and issues within transaction banking, regulations and retail banking. This group will focus on upcoming regulations, new service offerings and industry debate shaping the new financial services landscape with regular blog posts, video interviews, webcasts debates and surveys.
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Emirates NBD has added a 'shake n save' feature to its mobile banking app, letting customers move money to their savings accounts with a wiggle of their handsets.

Gamification - what can we learn from 2013's top games?

09 January 2014  |  2533 views  |  1

Prompted by this article reviewing games created by central banks that I found in Finextra's always excellent Best of the Web section, I've recently been catching up on what's happening more broadly with gamification in financial services.

The hype has certainly been there for several years. Gartner predicted that by 2014 a gamified service for consumer goods, marketing and customer 
retention will become as important as Facebook (though I'll leave it up to you to decide how important that particular marketing and engagement channel actually is for banks).

People like Jane McGonigal, Director of Games Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, has said that the qualities that make games so compelling—the immersiveness, the need to collaborate with others, the fun, and even the killing—could all be harnessed by banks in their mobile applications to help customers better understand their finances and reach specific goals such as savings and debt reduction. And of course benefits to the banks of better customer engagement, retention and even additional customer data are implicit in this.

The point about killing - so prevalent a part of many of the most popular video games across all platforms - was interesting. How could a bank create a game that harnesses casual violence to drum home messages about financial responsibility?

This got me wondering about what exactly is popular in the gaming world these days - and how could this influence banks' thinking about gamification. Looking at 2013's best selling console and PC games - dominated by Grand Theft Auto V and Assasin's Creed IV - shows that casual violence, role playing, familiar franchises, immersive storylines and exploration of expansive 
virtual worlds are as popular as ever. 

But looking at social and mobile games is probably a better match for the budget, scope and customer segment that banks are targeting. So I checked out Facebook's own picks for the best 25 games of the year on that platform, as well as some current charts showing the top 20 Facebook apps by monthly 
active users (MAU)
 

The success of Criminal Case - a hidden object game chosen as game of the year by Facebook - was characterised by the quality of storywriting and artwork, but also by its approach to Open Graph integration, which encourages sharing and new users without the begging for free credits, farm thingies and critter food that clog the newsfeeds of many people with friends who are into Facebook games. 

But currently most popular - and ubiquitous across Facebook and standalone mobile channels - are the many flavours of match-3 games. Candy Crush Saga developer King has become the new Zynga by dominating this format, and the fact that the current top 3 apps on Facebook are variations on this theme ( with Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga coming in just behind Candy Crush) shows that just tweaking the gameplay of a winning formula and adding appealing new theme designs is enough to keep many people coming back for more.

TagsRetail bankingInnovation

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member | 10 January, 2014, 09:23

The problem with gamification is that anyone who's smart enough to realise they need help managing their finances won't want to be patronised by some simple-minded gameplay. Or at least that's my explanation for customers' apathy towards it.

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Elton Cane

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Independent

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