Gamifying human computer interaction for young consumers

Call for papers for: Young Consumers

Guest Editors:

Dr. Abhishek Behl
Indian Institute of Technology
[email protected]

Dr. Justin Zhang
Department of Management
Coggin College of Business
University of North Florida
[email protected]

Gamification refers to a method of enhancing a service with game experience affordances to support the creation of overall value for the customer (Huotari and Hamari, 2016). It represents a shift away from the outdated belief that pecuniary incentives (e.g. cash, gifts) and instrumental motivations (e.g. knowledge seeking) are the only options worth thinking about (Deterding, 2012). Age differences suggest that young consumers have higher expectations than the older age group to buy the gamified product, find it more useful and perceive it to be more fun and amusement (Bittner and Schipper, 2014). Nevertheless, melding advertisements with enjoyable interactive content results in the inability of children to discern the persuasive purpose within an advergame. What is yet to be established is how ads can be differentiated from content in a self-regulated industry that survives on brand preference (Terlutter and Capella, 2013). Companies should offer Millennials a fun interface and an environment that is easier to use for the Generation X to be successful in gamification (García-Jurado et al., 2019).

In an increasingly interactive world, gamification is steadily reconfiguring our relationships with everyday tasks and experiences. To ‘gamify’ is to use game mechanics, such as levelling, points and goals, in non-game contexts to reward users and drive engagement. These strategies, which are used to motivate people on an emotional level, recognise that consumers want to participate in something enticing and rewarding, as well as engaging and fun. As the digital space has become more and more overcrowded, companies looking to stand out have been imitating the competitive, connected and personalised world of online gaming. In 2011, Gartner even predicted that by 2014, more than 70% of the top 2000 global companies would have created at least one type of gamified application. Likewise, in a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 53% of respondents said that gamification would be widespread by 2020.

Introducing gaming principles to the shopping experience can provide consumers with a similar sense of achievement, especially when there is a competitive element. Competition alone can be a major motivator, but when it is combined with other gaming elements, such as status or social connectedness, the challenge and potential reward can hold significant appeal for people. Nonetheless,  despite  projections  that  such  gamification  will  become  a  widely  adopted  phenomenon,  estimates  are  gloomy with respect to the real impact these projects will have on the experiences of ‘players’ (i.e., participants who are supposed to have fun), and on the organizations that would like to use gamification to improve the players’ behaviour in their favour (AlMarshedi et al., 2017).
Recently, firms have started to use game elements to understand how young consumers react to it (Eg: Nike, Netflix) and moreover have started to run dry experiments to explore which game element and/or combination of elements can benefit them more. Studies have also reported ethical issues in the use of game elements as if disrupts the natural behaviour of the use and forces them to react to the stimuli. A different school of thought also provokes firms to use advanced analytical techniques like artificial intelligence and robotics to unravel mysteries of human behaviour. As the realm of gamification evolves further, there will be a need to understand it from theoretical, practical and hybrid approaches. As digital population and competition rapidly grows, there is an immediate need to transform the learning to practice and viceversa.

The field of gamification has reformed human computer interaction (HCI) space. The tool which was once a source of entertainment has been used to unleash the power of customers by engaging them on digital platforms for learning, e-commerce activities, well being, crowdsourcing, marketing, human resource engagement, information retrieval and development etc. The literature and understanding on gamification is mostly case based or experimental in nature. Despite this progress, research on gamification still faces a variety of empirical and theoretical challenges. Moreover, as the target user group is youth for most of the firms because of its varied degree of engagement on digital platforms, it becomes important to address some key research questions:

1. How interdisciplinary theories can help explain end user engagement on digital platforms?
2. How can gamification be extended to new fields of research like artificial intelligence, neuromarketing to understand the behaviour of end users better?
3. Which new game elements can be used by digital platforms to engage and retain customers?
4. How ethical is to use game mechanics to disrupt the human behaviour?
In the light of the same, we draw attention of researchers to address one of many aspects of these key research questions.  
Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:

1. Theoretical Advancements in Gamification for young consumers
2. Effect of new game elements for understanding consumer behavior for young consumers
3. Gamification for engaging Over the Top (OTT) young consumers
4. Gamified chatbots on websites and apps
5. Psychological perspectives of adoption of gamification features and outcomes.
6. Artificial Intelligence led Gamification for enhanced user experience
7. Gamification as a tool for theory development for young consumers
8. Gamification in the context of e-learning for young consumers
9. Ethical use of game mechanics for understanding consumer behavior
10. Gamifying digital content for efficient human computer interaction
11. Case based research for improving gamification experience of consumers.

We also invite business researchers from different domains and specializations to submit their study in any one area or an interdisciplinary area catering to the theme of the Special Issue.


AlMarshedi, A., Wanick, V., Wills, G. B., & Ranchhod, A. (2017). Gamification and behaviour. In Gamification (pp. 19-29). Springer, Cham.

Bittner, J., & Schipper, J. (2014). Motivational effects and age differences of gamification in product advertising. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 31(5), 391-400. doi: 10.1108/jcm-04-2014-0945

Deterding, S. (2012). Gamification: designing for motivation. Interactions, 19(4), 14-17. doi: 10.1145/2212877.2212883

García-Jurado, A., Castro-González, P., Torres-Jiménez, M., & Leal-Rodríguez, A. (2019). Evaluating the role of gamification and flow in e-consumers: millennials versus generation X. Kybernetes, 48(6), 1278-1300. doi: 10.1108/k-07-2018-0350

Huotari, K., & Hamari, J. (2016). A definition for gamification: anchoring gamification in the service marketing literature. Electronic Markets, 27(1), 21-31. doi: 10.1007/s12525-015-0212-z

Terlutter, R., & Capella, M. (2013). The Gamification of Advertising: Analysis and Research Directions of In-Game Advertising, Advergames, and Advertising in Social Network Games. Journal of Advertising, 42(2-3), 95-112. doi: 10.1080/00913367.2013.774610

Submission procedures

Submissions to the special issue should be sent electronically through the “Young Consumers”  ScholarOne System.  The manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines for authors given in the journal's page.
Authors need to clearly indicate in their submission information and letter that their manuscript is for the Special Issue on “Gamifying Human Computer Interaction for Young Consumers” All submissions will be subject to a double-blind review process followed by “Young Consumers” Journal. All manuscripts must be original, unpublished works that are not concurrently under review for publication elsewhere. Questions about this special issue may be directed to the guest editors.
Interested authors are welcome to discuss their research ideas in the form of an extended abstract by contacting the guest editors. The abstract should be written keeping in mind the style of Emerald. The idea of proposing an abstract is share preliminary feedback to the interested authors.

For any questions, interested authors can contact the corresponding guest editor:

Abhishek Behl; [email protected]

Important Dates:

•    Submission Due Date: October 15th , 2020
•    First Round Reviews: December 15th , 2020
•    Final Editorial Decision: May 15th , 2021
•    Expected Publication: second half of 2021

Profile of Guest Editors:

Abhishek Behl is a researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. His research is in the area of business analytics and decision sciences with a focus on stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and e-commerce start-ups. He is a doctorate holder in the area of information technology and has more than 6 years of experience in teaching and research. He is an associate editor of two journals – International Journal of Applied Management Theory and Research and International Journal of Data Analytics. He also serves as an editorial review board member of 13 journals, some of which include the Journal of Global Information Management (ABDC:A; ABS:2); Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations(ABDC:B); Journal of Global Marketing (ABDC:B) and many more which are listed in ABDC and Scopus databases.  He has edited two Special Issues and is currently editing three Special Issues in IJPPM (ABDC:B category) and IJTHI (ABDC: C), IJBIR (ABDC:C) and JGOSS (ABDC:C) in the area of technology adoption and diffusion. He has published more than 25 papers in top tier journals like Annals of Operations Research; Journal of Business Research; International Journal of Information Management; Information Systems and e-Business Management; Benchmarking etc. He has also edited two books and is currently editing a book with World Scientific Publishers. He is a reviewer to more than 15 journals some of which are Journal of Business Research; Supply Chain Management- An International Journal; International Journal of Information Management; Annals of Operations Research Journal of Global Information Management; etc. He has also won research grants from NASMEI and Emerald Publishers for research proposals in the area of information technology and its application in stakeholder engagement. He has presented his research work in reputable international forums like The World Bank; United Nations University; Decision Science Institute etc. He was also a visiting scholar at South University of Science and Technology, China in 2018. He has been a resource person to various Management Development Programs for companies like Wipro; Godrej; Tata Motors; CEAT Tyres etc. He is a certified trainer for Google Analytics and has offered training to more than 10 international organizations like LinkedIn; Air Liquide; Conde Nast; Bio-Rad. His area of research and teaching is along with the interface of business analytics and decision sciences for new business ventures through gamification.  

Justin Zhang teaches courses of Information Systems and Business Analytics in the Department of Management at University of North Florida. He received his Ph.D. in Business Administration with a concentration on Management Science and Information Systems from Pennsylvania State University, University Park. His research interests include economics of information systems, knowledge management, electronic business, business process management, information security, and social networking. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Global Information Management, an ABET program evaluator, and an IEEE senior member.