Playing the game: how CityVerve is getting people moving and bringing communities together


Gamification, or the application of game-design elements and game principles (such as point scoring, leaderboards and rules of play) in non-game contexts, has been behind recent revolutions in everything from dating to online education.

Part of the reason for its effectiveness, and broad application, is that it taps into some pretty universal human traits. As such, it can be used to engage a broad audience – this makes it ideal for projects such as CityVerve, which aim to benefit people of all ages and interests.

Clicks + Links currently have a game, called The Age of Energy, in which the saving of energy is gamified for young people. The game uses real-world energy data to inform the narrative of a post-apocalyptic survival game in which the earth’s energy resources have been exhausted.

It works on the hypothesis that if people can be encouraged to spend money in app-based games – plenty of us are guilty of exchanging a few pennies to get past a particularly tough level of Candy Crush – then why not see if you can use the same model to bring about positive real-world change? Rather than spending money to progress, players of The Age of Energy save energy in their homes.

With this, there’s a huge opportunity to use reward mechanisms to encourage other, similar behaviour changes.

Generally, these changes will be something that a person would be interested in doing anyway but somehow can’t get around to keeping up with. It’s often referred to as ‘desirable habit forming’ and it’s something anyone who’s tried to eat healthier, exercise more, or go to bed earlier will no doubt be familiar with.

To read more about the work Clicks + Links are doing as part of CityVerve, follow the link