Always eager to give their loyal user base more features and incentive to stay on their website, the editorial team doesn’t rely on their high quality content alone, but also #gamification elements. I.e. to enhance interaction, in 2009 the site employed an achievement system inspired by the systems that were used e.g. on the Xbox 360 or a little later on PlayStation 3, PC (Steam) as well as on current consoles.

Depending on their activity on the website the users would get rewards for reading news or reviews, interacting with the editorial team, posting in the forums (with special hand-picked rewards for the best as well as worst forum post) and much more.

Administrative effort was very high. After the initial hardcoded integration and connection to the user database, definition of thresholds and intervals, in which achievements and rewards like special badges (that the users can attach to their profile on the website) will be granted, adding new content was very difficult, time consuming and almost always prone to system errors.

Nonetheless this achievement system was maintained and kept active for years to come enhancing the readers’ experience on the website – although new and especially meaningful achievements were not only harder and harder to find, but also to implement. Eventually the system became dormant around 2016.

Fast-forward five years and the re-introduction of achievements on just went into its public beta stage. Powered by the proprietary system SCILL Gamification as a Service (GaaS) by 4Players with its modular and simple approach, implementation is not only much easier, but also much faster. While the setup, planning and integration took quite a few months back in the days, now it took considerably less time and effort to give the users an experience that is not only easier to maintain but also much easier to enhance with new achievements and more options to interact.

While in 2009 and the following years the development was heavily involved in basically every step of the achievement way’, nowadays only a few lines of code need to be added to the source code initially in order to connect the website to the SCILL backend system. And, naturally, everything is GDPR-compliant. The result: development can focus on their next tasks, while it is up to the editorial team to add new achievement content via the easy-to-use SCILL Admin Panel. Thus, the focus stays on the user experience and the #gamification elements reacting in real-time, surprising the readers as well as rewarding them and enticing them to interact with the content in new or different ways. And that in return means enhanced community engagement plus higher retention and as a side effect more page and thus ad impressions.