Inside Playoff: customize leaderboards to boost engagement

From now on, we are going to start a new series of articles that want to highlight some unknown features of Playoff. These features allow facing challenges and requirements, present in different projects.


In one of our  previous articles, we explained how leaderboards are very useful to create competition between users and stimulated a positive spirit of competition: who does not like “be on the top of a chart”?!

But we must remind that simply adding leaderboards to a project it is not “game design”, as the father of gamification Yu-Kai Chou said in his  book:

“Gamification is so much more than Point Badge and Leaderboards. Many “experts” of limited experience are only familiar with how to implement “PBL” mechanics and even though these alone can create value, sometimes, most of them are completely missing the point of engaging the user.”

Like other elements, the leaderboards are tools used to reach a goal: increase users engagement in what they are doing. To do that, the game designer should have the possibility to customize and refine the leaderboards of a game, so that they became more contextual.
Accordingly, in a chart that immediately recognized the customers and more variables are measured at the same time, the Epic Meaning lever is much more efficient than in a generic score one.

Leaderboards and scopes: the case

Some time ago, one of our financial clients contacted us for helping the Company to achieve its business goal. They wanted to introduce an engagement strategy to increase sales of financial products (difficult to place in the market) in the sales area.
The request was to measure the “number of sold products” KPI considering different variables:

  • geographic area
  • typology of the product
  • size of the client company
  • seasonality
  • the seniority of the seller

And in addition, they wanted to track the results by single players and teams.
All these results should have been made up inside leaderboards with the aim of motivating the sales force and leverage not only on the “revenue” KPI but also on different parameters and motivation.

How Playoff manages Leaderboards?

Let’s see how Playoff manages the leaderboards.


Inside the Game menu area (focused on leaderboard settings) Playoff requests to give a name to the chart, to choose the metric and to indicate if we want to generate a leaderboard for the single “players” or “teams”.
Right after, it is possible to choose the “scope” of our leaderboard, which is what determines its players (i.e. the players of a team, the teams of a championship).

The type of leaderboards distinct the scopes: Player (if we want a chart composed of single players) or Team (for a team chart).

Among “Player” leaderboards we can choose:

  • leaderboardgame”: based on every player of the game
  • leaderboardacross teams of type”: based on every instance of a team definition
  • leaderboardwithin each team of type”: limited to a single instance of a team definition
  • leaderboardcustom

The “Team” leaderboards are instead:

  • leaderboardgame”: based on every player of the game
  • leaderboardacross the teams of type”: based on every instance of a team definition
  • leaderboardcustom

How to customize the scope?

The scope custom allows to have a more “free” structure for our leaderboards, that means unleash from the previously described typologies, with the advantage to have more flexible leaderboards favoring the needs of game design.

Let’s get back to our example:
A company wants to boost the sales of its products using an innovative, smart and engaging way, increasing at the same time the competition among and inside the other agencies.
The scores assigned to different players and also leaderboards contribute to giving shape to multiple variables: the geographic area, the sold product, the industry sector and the point of sale.
If a “sell” kind of action is performed, it is possible to specify all defined variables.

On the screens we represent the described example, where the actions can be done with or without scope and, in the case of scope action, different actions can be selected (area-producer-sector), for example:

1. PlayAction
Playoff, using the SDK, executes an action in the configured game. It can forward the scope if selected.

2. CreateScope 
Create the scope used by the “play” action. It chains together the chosen scope criteria, following an inner convention (e.g. if we choose a and c criteria, the created scope will be A-A-A_C).

Subsequently, the leaderboard with the same possibilities.

3. GetLeaderboard
A method that asks Playoff a determine leaderboard. Like before, if we select a scope it requests that particular one.

4. GetScope

Utility method used to get the scope useful to represent the leaderboard, based on selected criteria it returns a scope (es selecting A, B and C criteria, the generated scope will be A_B_C).

The scopes are represented in strings, and they have to be queued to actions and leaderboards.

As we said, every action can hold more scopes and this allows to create different combinations. Resuming the example, if NORTH, FINANCIAL, SUMMER criteria are selected, and the sale action is run, the scopes with the actions are:

  • north
  • financial
  • financial_north
  • north_summer
  • financial_summer
  • north_financial_summer

Thus it is possible for us to personalize the rankings according to the preferred criteria at any time. For example, if we want the sales leaderboard of all NORTH sellers, we have just to enter the “north scope“.

Playoffs, thanks to its agnostic nature, lets game designer to give life to the most complex and articulated projects of engagement, exploiting the leaderboards, among the other components of the game (badges, points, etc.), with absolute freedom to motivate the players, by leveraging multiple metrics, to achieve corporate goals.


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