Effects of Cooperative and Competitive Gamification on Fitness Mobile App Use: A Field Experiment

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Despite the rapid growth of the fitness mobile app market, fitness app companies suffer from a significant portion of poorly motivated, inactive users. In practice, gamification, especially story-based gamification, has been widely adopted as an effective approach to improve system use and reduce user churn rate. However, prior findings suggest that gamification can result in both positive and negative behavioral outcomes, and it remains unclear how to craft a gamified fitness app to maximize its effectiveness in promoting engaged use. Moreover, previous studies mainly emphasized on the designs of rewarding mechanics (e.g., points, badges, and leaderboards) and narrative mechanics (e.g. storytelling) but did not comprehensively investigated the role of social interaction mechanisms in the design of gamification. In this study, we focus on the influences of different social interaction mechanisms (competition, cooperation, and coopetition) on users’ task engagement and app use. With a self-developed mobile app, Fitness Castle, we conducted a 2*2 longitudinal field experiment and examined the effectiveness of completion and cooperation among users in a gamified fitness app. Results indicate that competitive game mechanics have a significant positive influence on fitness app use. In addition, when gamified system is purely cooperative, users are not better motivated to use the app more extensively; however, when competitive and cooperative mechanisms are jointly provided, the system use significantly increases.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting - Washington State Convention Center & Sheraton Grand Seattle Hotel, Seattle, United States
Duration: 20 Oct 201923 Oct 2019


Conference2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting
LocationWashington State Convention Center & Sheraton Grand Seattle Hotel
Country/TerritoryUnited States
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