Gaming and the enterprise: Managing the risks

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Security, handling virtual currency and intellectual property are all considerations.

Gaming for the enterprise (or gamification) has lately been making the rounds in CXO circles. For those not already familiar with the concept, "gamification" means incorporating games and game mechanics into non-game activities; in other words, making something that is not inherently a game -- such as a marketing campaign or employee training -- feel like a game.

Effective gamifying is far more nuanced and complex than just adding features to an existing non-game, but it includes making the non-game feel like a game by incorporating challenges to be overcome, giving points or other virtual goods to users as a means of promoting desired user behavior, providing awards and levels reached based upon a user's success and showing rankings or leaderboards that allow users to compare their performance to that of others.

Gaming in Corporate America

Intellectual property issues

As with other technology, intellectual property concerns apply to gamification. An enterprise using game mechanics must take adequate steps both to protect its own intellectual property rights and to avoid (or have a way to protect itself from) infringing upon the rights of others. This includes seeking appropriate patent protection for anything you develop, as well as addressing the protection of your copyrights and marks.

An enterprise using game mechanics developed by someone else must ensure that it has appropriate license rights, keeping in mind that that the uses and user-base of gamification software may be much broader than those for typical enterprise software. Unlike typical enterprise software, which is used by employees performing a fairly narrow task in a contained environment, the game may be published on an enterprise's Web site, as well as through promotional social networks or mobile platform applications, and used not only by potential customers, but by anyone who can access the game.

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