Gamification Case Study: Zepp Baseball


In gamification, we talk a lot about feedback and letting people know when they are on the right track to achieve something.

Today I want to talk to you about a gamification project that has caught our attention here at GAMIFICATION+. It’s called Zepp Baseball and helps baseball athletes and enthusiasts improve their baseball skills. Baseball is a game of numbers. Everyone interested in baseball talks about the players statistics during the season and during the whole careers. Performance inside the pitch was always easy to measure and numerical feedback was easily given to players and their coaches. Training though is a whole other conversation.

It’s hard to measure how well you are preparing for a game and how much progress you are making because of training. Zepp Baseball does exactly that. It gives players stats on how well they are training and what they need to improve to become better players. The way it works is you attach a mount at the end of your bat and insert a sensor on the mount. The sensor connects to devices using Bluetooth and feeds them with data about the player’s swings. It gives them stats like bat speed at impact, hand speed and vertical angle at impact.

What’s interesting about Zepp Baseball is how they are introducing more gamification elements now to motivate people to train more and keep track of their progress. Zepp has teamed up with New Balance and gamified their application adding NB HitClub to the mix. NB HitClub offers its users swing challenges that are rewarded with achievements. Players can compete against other on leader boards and they can win rewards by using the features of the app. As I have said before, not all gamification applications need intricate game design and backstory that offers a deep experience. Sports are often about mastery, people feel good that they improved on the activity itself and feedback achieves that. Having a history of your training also achieves that as you can look back and feel proud you trained hard and improved.

Social status and bragging rights are also important in sports and that’s why players can share their progress and compare it with their friends. How many challenges you complete each month determine your place on the leader boards. The challenges are all training related which is great because your place on the leader board reflects your progress in becoming better at the game. I think that especially for non-professionals these are strong intrinsic rewards that can change their behaviour and can motivate them to keep playing the sport and to have fun.

Overall this is a good example on how to introduce a bit of gamification in a great sports related product to give people more value and motivate them to try more!

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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