EVO Media’s Geoff Nuval Talks About the New DevHub, Adding Fun to Business, and the Future of Gamification

7/15/10Follow @gthuang

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game mechanics to our own office environment and operations at EVO. Every member in our team has DevHub experience points (xp) assigned to them for things like completing code, squashing bugs, closing deals, and even answering the phone. There is a scoreboard placed right in the center of our office that shows the tally and who’s in the lead (I think I’m in fourth place). Dependent on level, or when we as a team all reach a certain level, we go on company events: we went to see Iron Man and Toy Story 3 as a team last month and we’re going crab fishing this Friday. Employees can also exchange points for prizes, gift cards, and t-shirt schwag. Overall, it really has resulted in a more dedicated, happier team, and it is basically a funner (yes it’s a word) way to do task management.

X: More broadly, where do you think this trend is taking us?

GN: In terms of where gamification is headed, I think you’ll start to see this treatment pop up in more and more systems. Somewhere along the way in the course of human history we created the idea of a “game,” which we separated conceptually from everyday life and work. To this day, the concepts of a game and play are often associated with a diversion from daily life and are usually thought of as unproductive or unprofessional. This gap between play and productivity, however, is rapidly diminishing.

The gamer generation, the people who grew up on Super Mario and Space Invaders, are gradually moving into the driver’s seat in business, commerce, and technology. They better understand the power game mechanics have because they spent hours or days of their lives experiencing it. Concurrent with that, the Internet is enabling more and more actions to be tracked and quantified, which means we are now able to easily assign points, levels, and rewards—the essence of most games. The only question that remains then is, “why not?” Imagine a time when doing your taxes can be fun! EVO hopes to be one of the main players out there helping to gamify the world.

X: Tell me in plain English how the new version of DevHub works, and how it’s different from before.

GN: The former DevHub was just a website builder with monetization modules directly hooked in. While it generated a lot of interest at the start of the site-building process, we found that many of the sites were never fully completed, as it took time and dedication to truly create a full-fledged site that makes money.

In the gamified version of DevHub, we put a lot of thought into addressing this problem. Right off the bat it addresses the issue of user interest by awarding points, coins, and Devatars (our characters in the game) when users complete positive site-building actions. The editor itself also has a Site Guide, which provides you with all the best practices to building an effective site (we update this constantly). The coins you earn can be used in the DevHub marketplace to purchase site upgrades and other goodies while experience points and leveling show you exactly how you are progressing. To really provide users with an easier understanding of what they’re building, each site is actually represented by a building inhabited by various Devatars, and the building grows and becomes more populated depending on how your actual site is doing. In our dashboard, you actually have a graphical view of all these buildings (think SimCity) in your very own “online empire.”

Game elements aside, other parts of DevHub have received major upgrades. … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://www.attenture.com Ian Goldsmid

    Very interesting – and a great idea put into action !

    What wasn’t clear was an answer to the question: Can I use devhub to create a website that itself uses game mechanics? I am thinking of building several gamified web properties – including a gamified Q&A site like stackoverflow …is that possible with devhub?

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