Is There a Growing Demand For Gamification in Streaming Services?

Gamification in streaming is an exciting concept that poses several questions.

What is Gamification?

Before exploring the need for gamification and its advantages and disadvantages, let’s simplify what it is. The dictionary defines gamification as applying typical game-playing elements to other activities. These other activities are usually online activities. 

The concept of gamification is not new, though the term may be. Gamification can be found in a lot of scenarios in our daily lives. A typical example is using games in the classroom environment to encourage learner participation. Gambling is another industry that has used gamification effectively. For example, a true crypto casino will offer a rewards program and badges that promote loyalty and increase user engagement. 

If you are a millennial who enjoyed reading as a child, you will likely remember the ‘choose your own adventure’ book series popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The books were written in the second person and let the reader take on a role in the book. As a character in the book, you could choose what step to take next, leading to another part of the adventure; the books had many different endings. 

Some examples:

Most gamification occurs online nowadays, with the primary purpose of increasing user involvement. Some successful examples of businesses using gamification include:

  • KFC

In 2021, KFC Japan developed a KFC Shrimp Attack mobile game. The aim was to boost sales and attract new customers. Players redeemed their reward vouchers in-store, increasing sales by 105%. They had to stop the game because of a limited supply of shrimp-based offerings. 

  • The Speed Camera Lottery

National Road Safety in Stockholm trialled using gamification to turn something generally viewed negatively into positive. Along with Volkswagen, they developed a radar system that rewarded drivers who respected the speed limits. All drivers who drove safely and within the speed limit were added to a lottery funded by all the speeding fines paid by other drivers. The average speed went down from 32 to 25km/h.

These examples show the success of gamification in our daily lives. So, how does gamification work in streaming services, and do we need it?

Gamification and Streaming

Streaming works one of two ways: through pre-recorded content that is played back to you when you stream or download it. The other option is live streaming, where you can watch an event as it happens over an internet connection.


Twitch is the king of incorporating gamification on its streaming platform, which is not surprising because its core focus is video games. Twitch uses PBL (points, badges, and leaderboards) to keep viewers on the platform. Streamers can unlock status levels; each level gives new rewards, which encourages more streaming. There are other achievements, some of which have time constraints, which means streamers need to stream more often. 


With their Black Mirror “Bandersnatch” episode, Netflix has tentatively ventured into gamification. The episode was a CYA (choose-your-own-adventure) experience, a hybrid of a game and a show. Netflix has always been a pioneer in improving the streaming experience, from curating our choices to personalising our viewing and gaming. Considering that the episode has received over 45 million views, the experiment was a success. 

There were a few issues with this initiative. The episode took longer to produce and was more expensive. There had to be more options incorporated into the episode, making the script go from an average of 60 to 170 pages. 

Final Thought

Gamification in streaming is an exciting concept; it poses several questions. Do we want choices when watching a series? Isn’t the whole point of watching to see what the writers have created? Also, having all these choices may change the show’s narrative altogether. Maybe lesser-known streaming platforms like Crave and FX Now Canada can benefit from the customer engagement of gamification.

While we understand it’s a way for platforms to get more customer engagement, it doesn’t seem like something we need in our viewing. For other streaming platforms like Twitch, gamification can work and has been a game changer in streamer interaction.