The 8 Core Drivers of Gamification

10 Oct 2017  |  Design Mobile Mobile & Devices

In essence, Gamification is Human-Focused Design (as opposed to “function-focused design”). This involves taking all the enjoyable and interactive elements of gaming, and using them in real world functional settings such as learning management systems, employee on-boarding systems, or in-house training systems.

Chou describes human focused design as “remembering that people in a system have feelings, insecurities, and reasons why they want or do not want to do certain things, and therefore optimizes for their feelings, motivations, and engagement”. This is different to “function focused systems” which are designed to get a job done quickly.

Yu-kai Chou breaks down his research into gamification into 8 core drivers:


Yu-kai Chou also breaks down the core drivers into left and right brain activity, as illustrated in the diagram below:

8 Core Drivers as Left Brain & Right Brain Activity


Right brain activities are involved in the core drivers of creativity, social influence, and self-expression. Left brain activities are the logical processes such as calculations and ownership.

A system does not need to utilise all the core drivers, some products do really well just with social influence and scarcity. Generally any very good, gamified system will have some of the core driver elements mentioned above – applied to the system mechanics in a practical way.

Read more on Yu-kai Chou’s 8 core drivers of gamification on his website here:

Watch Yu-kai’s TedX talk below:


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