The 4 Phases of Gamification: From Discovery to Endgame [2023]

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Gamification is a process of using game design elements in non-game contexts to motivate and engage users. When it comes to achieving your goals with gamification, adopting the right approach to the different phases involved in the player journey is crucial. In this article, our team at Gamification Hub™ will outline and examine the four phases of gamification, from discovery to endgame. We’ll provide you with valuable insights, common practices, and tips that will help you win the game of gamification.

The Four Phases of Gamification

1. Discovery

The discovery phase is the first contact point between the player and the game. It is the phase where players discover and learn about your gamified system. The design phase isn’t enough to engage the players, they have to also be able to find what you offer. Therefore, the discovery phase is crucial because without it, the following phases cannot take place.

The Core Elements of Gamification

Gamification is about understanding the core elements of games and game-design and applying them in different contexts. Here are the five core elements of gamification.

  1. Points
  2. Badges
  3. Levels
  4. Onboarding
  5. Feedback

These elements are important and should be considered in order to successfully gamify anything. Companies such as Tango Card specialize in gamification solutions, assisting different companies in using game mechanics for a better experience.

Optimizing Discovery

In order to optimize the discovery phase, there are some key practices that can be followed. Firstly, a clear and well-defined value proposition is key. The aim is to attract the player's attention and help them identify the benefits of using your gamified system. When designing gamification, keep in mind that the user experience should be simple and straightforward so that the players are also aware of it. The design of the system should be done in such a way that the player is easily able to find what they are looking for.

2. Onboarding

The onboarding phase is the second step in the gamification process after discovery. During onboarding, the players are welcomed to your system, and they orientate themselves. During this phase, the players learn how to play the game and start setting goals.

What is Onboarding in Gamification?

Onboarding is the process of guiding your players through a series of actions that will make them familiar with your gamified system. The aim is to introduce the players to the game mechanics and make them feel confident enough to start playing. The phase involves displaying clear instructions, an overview of primary features, and a demo of how to engage with the game.

Optimization Tips for Onboarding

Some of the key tips that can be used to optimize onboarding include:

  1. Use a tutorial that is simple but informative
  2. Display clear instructions that communicate the goal of the gamified system.
  3. Utilize interactive elements to keep the players engaged
  4. Display a demo of how games are played in the gamified system

3. Scaffolding

Scaffolding is the third phase of the gamification process. During this phase, the players become accustomed to the game mechanics and begin to indulge themselves in playing the game. This phase involves adding a layer of complexity to the gamified system.

What is Scaffolding in Gamification?

Scaffolding refers to adding complexity to the game while ensuring that the players don't get overburdened. As they progress through the levels, the difficulty level increases progressively. Players get better with practice and eventually master the game mechanics.

Optimization Tips for Scaffolding

Some of the key tips that can be used to optimize scaffolding include:

  1. Introduce new game mechanics gradually
  2. Provide feedback to the players on their performance
  3. Ensure that the increase in difficulty is gradual and progressive
  4. Use design and storytelling to enhance the player experience

4. The Endgame

The fourth and final phase of the gamification process is the endgame. This stage is where the players achieve their primary goals and maintain engagement.

What is the Endgame in Gamification?

The endgame refers to the stage where the players achieve their primary goals, but they remain engaged to maintain the gamified system's engagement level. In this stage, players get motivated to attempt higher goals and strive to achieve the best performance.

Optimization Tips for Endgame

Some of the key tips that can be used to optimize the endgame include:

  1. Provide new challenges and higher point rewards
  2. Provide feedback on how the players can improve
  3. Celebrate the player's achievements with badges and trophies
  4. Keep the interface fresh by adding new features and content

Quick Tips and Facts

Here are some quick tips and facts about gamification that might be helpful to you:

  • The gamification market is expected to be worth $30 billion by 2025.
  • Customer engagement is the leading reason why businesses implement gamification.
  • 78% of employees say that they would be more productive if their work was more game-like.
  • Gamification solutions delivery results as performance improvements in traditional areas, such as training, education, and productivity by making the tasks at hand more entertaining.


What are the core elements of gamification?

The five core elements of gamification are Points, Badges, Levels, Onboarding, and Feedback.

What is the scaffolding phase in gamification?

The scaffolding phase in gamification refers to the phase where complexity is introduced progressively to the game while ensuring players don't get overburdened.

What are levels in gamification?

Levels in gamification refer to the progressions players make as they continuously engage with the game. Players progress through the levels as they become better with the game mechanics.


In conclusion, we have discussed the four phases of gamification, from discovery to endgame. The discovery phase is essential because without it, the player cannot start playing. Onboarding helps players to orientate themselves and become familiar with the game mechanics. Scaffolding introduces complexity to the game gradually, and the endgame is where players achieve their primary goals. By optimizing these phases, you can maximize your chance of success. We hope that our tips and hacks help you gamify everything effectively. Remember to keep in mind the core elements of gamification, and always be mindful of video game elements that can be applied in any settings.

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