Happy 2009! Here at Beanstockd we’re kicking off the new year with a bigger and better Beanstockd Game.

2008 ended with a cliffhanger: We’d just wrapped up our first beta test and were preparing to survey players on their gaming experience.This week the results are in, and we’ve got answers to questions that will determine the updates we make for version 2.

When we started developing the Beanstockd concept, one of the first questions we asked ourselves was: What will incentivize an individual to daily log and track his lifestyle habits? We considered several forms of incentive such as social pressure from the community, entertainment value and reward. Survey results showed that overall, the strongest form of incentive among our players was the “desire to beat the competition.” Not surprisingly, in this green competition the majority of our respondents stayed engaged because of their desire to cream the opposing team. One player responded “[The game] was fun, mainly because I am super competitive.”

Interestingly enough, a large proportion of players said they regularly and honestly logged and tracked actions because they were curious to find out how ‘green’ they actually were. One player said, “I wasn’t compelled to cheat. I didn’t because I wanted to see a more accurate outcome of all of my actions.” Another player responded, “I liked the fact that we could input our actions throughout the day and see what we’re accomplishing.”

In the Beanstockd Game, a player’s points are a representation of his environmental footprint. We hadn’t expected this form of incentive to have as much influence as it did on player engagement.

We asked our players if and what they learned about their personal lifestyles when playing the game. Trumping a few flat-out “nothing“s we got many positive responses. One player wrote, “I do a lot of green things without realizing it, so that was good.” Another responded that she needed to make some lifestyle changes, “I really need to start carrying reusable bags and ditch the plastic, big time. And stop leaving the lights on for my cat, oops.”

We found the most disagreement when it came to the length of the competition. A Beanstockd Game competition cycle is one month long, however in this test we decided to shorten the period to one week to gauge the level of engagement in the game over time. Some players said that one week is much too short of a competition cycle. One player stated, “I lost interest, the game needs to be more addicting, one month would be better.”

Whereas another player responded, “One month sounds entirely too long. I think a week is the perfect amount of time. It’s enough time to get into it but not quite enough time to get bored and stop playing if you really want to win. It also allows time for people to change their habits and become more green.” We’ve decided to run our upcoming test for a period of one month.

That’s just the start. Next week Angela will fill you in on more results from our beta test surveys.