Gamification of Environment

Gamification of Sustainability: Recycling, Composting, Carpooling, etc.



The area of sustainability has recently seen an impressive number of examples, where gamification was applied to encourage users to change behavior towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Prominent examples are from TheFunTheory[1] showing examples like the The World's Deepest Bin and the Bottle Arcade Bank (see videos at the end of the article), electric and hybrid vehicles like Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius or Ford Focus EV, which use real-time keyfigures nudging drivers towards a driving style with high fuel efficiency. The business software maker SAP has released a couple of examples to provide users with gamified applications[2] to track and reduce their or their organizations' carbon footprint, like SAP Home Carbon Challenge[3], SAP Carbon Exploration[4] or Vampire Hunter[5].

Case study: Nissan Leaf

Nissan has produced a well know example of gamification in their Leaf line of electric vehicles. The 'Eco Mode' software keeps track of a number of variables (which are explained below) including speed and power usage and then provides constant feedback so drivers can improve upon efficiency. This feedback is provided by a display behind the steering wheel, which shows you your achievements through symbols which resemble needle trees. The car even provides online profiles so people can compete with other drivers, but there's no real benefit in collecting these trees other than saving battery charge.


How the ECO indicator works: The ECO indicator displays how economically the vehicle is being operated. The meter display is affected by the following conditions: · Accelerator pedal operation · Brake pedal operation · Driving conditions · Traffic conditions · Heater and air conditioner usage · Time the vehicle is not moving while the vehicle is in the READY to drive mode and accessories are on

Applied Game Aesthetics

The interior design of the Nissan Leaf features many aspects of a traditional game interface. The gearshift, for example, reminds of a classic gaming joystick, while the feedback display shows parallels to HUDs known from racing games. The built-in GPS, similar to classic gaming mini-maps, will automatically show symbols for nearby power supply stations. The playful use of gaming signage forms a strong contrast to the otherwise more serious car interior.

Possible fictional improvement

The reward in form of virtual trees is not useful, an idea would be that Nissan plants the trees which the customers earn - and therefore help the environement and biodiversity. The user could choose from several locations and regions where he wants to have his tree planted.

Other ideas inspired by Nissan Leaf

With the Nissan Leaf as an example, another idea for environmental gamification would be power sharing. By sharing the own private recharge station with other Nissan drivers who run out of power, a User can gain credits which can be used the same way. Power sharers can be found via the Nissan Leaf online platform which can be accessed in every Nissan Leaf by GPS. Advantages of this feature would be the extremely wide spread of public recharge stations which couldn't be realized by building official stations.


Nissan Leaf

The world's deepest bin

Bottle Bank Arcade


  1. ^ The Fun Theory
  2. ^ More gamified sustainability application examples
  3. ^ SAP Home Carbon Challenge
  4. ^ SAP Carbon Exploration
  5. ^ SAP Carbon Impact Reward - Vampir Hunter
  1. Collection of gamified sustainability application examples on
  2. Nissan's ECO indicator -
  3. Nissan's Leaf Rewards You For Eco-Friendly Driving -
  4. Hypermiling -
  5. Hypermiling: Quest for Ultimate Fuel Economy -
  6. Ultra serious gaming - Epic fail: No winners in climate change game -
  7. What will this next decade look like? -
  8. Gaming For Good: The Gamification of Social Change -

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