A Method for Developing a Game-Enhanced Tool Targeting Consumer Engagement in Demand Response Mechanisms

  • Ioannis LampropoulosEmail author
  • Tarek Alskaif
  • Machteld van den Broek
  • Wilfried van Sark
  • Herre van Oostendorp
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


This work focuses on enhancing consumer engagement in demand response mechanisms through the employment of gamification techniques. Demand response mechanisms are employed by electricity suppliers, other market parties, and transmission and distribution system operators as options for market optimisation, balancing supply and demand, and ensuring system security. Gamification is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, and the use of game principles in the design of certain systems to enhance engagement with these systems and make the interaction more motivating. The development of flexibility mechanisms at the demand-side is considered a key aspect for an effective energy transition, which requires the active participation and empowerment of consumers in the energy system. However, a significant barrier to realise the full flexibility potential is insufficient consumer engagement and awareness regarding energy usage. Serious games, and gamification, can effectively empower consumers by enhancement of engagement and stimulation of collaboration between them. The goal is to enable a playful interaction between technology, such as smart metering systems, energy management systems and smart appliances, and consumers that will result in higher engagement in demand response. An overview of demand response is provided, and the linkage is made between retail markets, markets at the wholesale level and ancillary services. The role of gamification techniques is discussed based on literature review, focusing on strategies to increase consumer engagement in demand response mechanisms. A user-centred, iterative design method is proposed for the development of a game-enhanced tool in which also collaboration between players can be stimulated, whereas the impact of applying the game-enhanced tool on consumer engagement can be empirically verified.


Demand side management Demand response Consumer engagement Gamification Serious games Tool design method 


  1. ADVANCED (2015). Active demand value and consumers experience discovery. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  2. Albadi, M. H., & El-Saadany, E. F. (2008). A summary of demand response in electricity markets. Electric Power Systems Research, 78(11), 1989–1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alskaif, T., Lampropoulos, I., van den Broek, M., & van Sark, W. (2018). Gamification-based framework for engagement of residential customers in energy applications. Energy Research and Social Science, 44, 187–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Akert, R. M. (2013). Social psychology. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  5. Benyon, D. (2010). Designing interactive systems: A comprehensive guide to HCI and interaction design (2nd ed.). Harlow: Pearson.Google Scholar
  6. Boyle, E., Connolly, M. T., Hainey, T., Boyle, M. J., et al. (2012). Engagement in digital entertainment games—a systematic review. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(3), 771–780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyle, E. A., Hainey, T., Connollly, T. M., Gray, G., Earp, J., Ott, M., et al. (2016). An update to the systematic literature review of empirical evidence of the impacts and outcomes of computer games and serious games. Computers & Education, 94, 178–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carreira, P., Mendes, G., Barroca, B., Amaral, V., Honkapuro, S., & Prada, R. (2017). Energy behaviour engagement in smart urban environments. Energy Procedia, 142, 2080–2088.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Catalano, C. E., Luccini, M. A., & Mortara, M. (2014). Best practices for an effective design and evaluation of serious games. International Journal of Serious Games, 1(1), 12–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CEER (2016). Scoping of flexible response. CEER discussion paper, Ref: C16-FTF-08-04. Brussels: Council of European Energy Regulators. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  11. Chen, C.-H., & Law, V. (2018). Scaffolding individual and collaborative game-based learning in learning performance and intrinsic motivation. Computers in Human Behavior, 55, 1201–1212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CIGRÉ. (2011). Demand side integration. CIGRÉ Working Group, C6, 09.Google Scholar
  13. Clark, D. B., Tanner-Smith, E. E., & Killingsworth, S. S. (2016). Digital games, design and learning: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 86(1), 79–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Darby, S. (2006). The effectiveness of feedback on energy consumption. Environmental Change Institute, Oxford: University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  15. Deterding, S. (2015). The lens of intrinsic skill atoms: a method for gameful design. Human-Computer Interaction, 30, 294–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deterding, S., Khaled, R., Nacke, L. & Dixon, D. (2011). Gamification: Toward a definition. CHI 2011 Gamification Workshop, New York: ACM Press.Google Scholar
  17. EDSO (2014). Flexibility: The role of DSOs in tomorrow’s electricity market. European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids, Brussels. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  18. ENTSO-E (2015a). Market design for demand side response. Policy paper, November. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  19. ENTSO-E (2015b). The harmonised electricity market role model, Version 2015-01. Brussels, Belgium: European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  20. Eurelectric (2015). Designing fair and equitable market rules for demand response aggregation. Brussels. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  21. European Commission (2011). Consumer empowerment in the EU. Commission staff working paper, Brussels. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  22. European Commission (2015). Regulatory recommendations for the deployment of flexibility. Smart Grids Task Force, Report from Expert Group 3. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  23. Fijnheer, J. D., & van Oostendorp, H. (2016). Steps to design a household energy game. International Journal of Serious Games, 3, 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fijnheer, J. D., van Oostendorp, H. & Veltkamp, R. (2016). Gamification in a prototype household energy game. Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Game Based Learning (pp. 192–201), ISBN: 978-1-911218-09-8. Utrecht: ACPI.Google Scholar
  25. Fraternali, P., Herrera, S., Novak, J., Melenhorst, M., Tzovaras, D., Krinidis, S., et al. (2017). enCOMPASS: An integrative approach to behavioural change for energy saving. Geneva: IEEE Global Internet of Things Summit (GIoTS).Google Scholar
  26. Gangale, F., Mengolini, A., & Onyeji, I. (2013). Consumer engagement: an insight from smart grid projects in Europe. Energy Policy, 60, 621–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Garcia, O., Alonso, R. S., Prieto, J., & Corchado, J. M. (2017). Energy efficiency in public buildings through context-aware social computing. Sensors, 17(4), 826 (2017).
  28. Gnauk, B., Dannecker, L., & Hahmann, M. (2012). Leveraging gamification in demand dispatch systems. Joint EDBT/ICDT Workshops: ACM.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gustafsson, A., Bång, M. & Svahn, M. (2009). Power explorer: a casual game style for encouraging long term behavior change among teenagers. International Conference Proceeding Series on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (pp. 182–189), Vol. 422, ACM. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  30. Hummel, H. G. K., van Houcke, J., Nadolski, R. J., van der Hiele, T., Kurvers, H., & Löhr, A. (2011). Scripted collaboration in serious gaming for complex learning: effects of multiple perspectives when acquiring water management skills. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(6), 1029–1041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jennett, C., Cox, L. A., Cairns, P., Dhoparee, S., Epps, A., Tijs, T., et al. (2008). Measuring and defining the experience of immersion in games. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 66(9), 641–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johnson, D., Deterding, S., Kuhn, K.-A. S., Steneva, A., Stoyanov, S., & Hides, L. (2016). Gamification for health and wellbeing: a systematic review of the literature. Internet Interventions, 6, 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ke, F. (2009). A qualitative meta-analysis of computer games as learning tools. In R. Ferdig (Ed.), Handbook of research on effective electronic gaming in education (pp. 1–32). London: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  34. Ke, F. (2016). Designing and integrating purposeful learning in game play: a systematic review. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64, 219–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lampropoulos, I., Kling, L. W., Ribeiro F. P. & van den Berg, J. (2013). History of demand side management and classification of demand response control schemes. In Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting (pp. 1–5). IEEE.
  36. Lampropoulos, I., van den Broek, M., van Sark, W., van der Hoofd, E. & Hommes, K. (2017). Enabling flexibility from demand-side resources through aggregator companies. In A. Stratigea, E. Kyriakides & Ch. Nicolaides (Eds.), Smart cities in the Mediterranean: Coping with sustainability objectives in small and medium-sized cities and island communities (pp. 333–353), Springer International Publishing, ISBN 987-3-319-54557-8.Google Scholar
  37. Lampropoulos, I., van den Broek, M., van Sark, W., van der Hoofd, E., & Hommes, K. (2018). A system perspective to the deployment of flexibility through aggregator companies in the Netherlands. Energy Policy, 118, 534–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lessiter, J., Freeman, J., Keogh, E., & Davidoff, J. (2001). A cross-media presence questionnaire: the ITC-sense of presence inventory. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 10(3), 282–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Masson, G., Briano, I. J. & Baez, J. M. (2016). Review and analysis of PV self-consumption policies. Report IEA-PVPS T1-28:2016, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS), International Energy Agency (IEA).Google Scholar
  40. Morganti, L., Pallavicini, F., Cadel, E., Candelie, A. & Archetti, F. (2017). Gaming for earth: serious games and gamification to engage consumers in pro-environmental behaviours for energy efficiency. Energy Research & Social Science, 29, 95–102 (2017).
  41. Nacke, L. E. & Deterding, S. (2017). The maturing of gamification research. Computers in Human Behavior, 450–454 (2017), ISSN 0747-5632.
  42. Papaioannou, T. G., Hatzi, V., & Koutsopoulos, I. (2018). Optimal design of serious games for consumer engagement in the smart grid. IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, 9(2), 1241–1249. Scholar
  43. Ruggiero, D. (2015). The effect of a persuasive social impact game on affective learning and attitude. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 213–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smart Energy Demand Coalition - SEDC (2015). Mapping demand response in Europe today. Brussels. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  45. Sitzmann, T. (2011). A meta-analytic examination of the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games. Personel Psychology, 64, 489–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Soekarjo, M., & van Oostendorp, H. (2015). Measuring effectiveness of persuasive games using an informative control condition. International Journal of Serious Games, 2(2), 37–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stern, P. C. (1999). Information, incentives, and proenvironmental consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Policy, 22, 461–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ter Vrugte, J., & De Jong, T. (2017). Self-explanations in game-based learning: From tacit to transferable knowledge. In P. Wouters & H. van Oostendorp (Eds.), Instructional techniques to facilitate learning and motivation of serious games (pp. 141–160). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wouters, P., & van Oostendorp, H. (2013). A meta-analytic review of the role of instructional support in game-based learning. Computers & Education, 60, 412–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wouters, P., & van Oostendorp, H. (2017). Overview of instructional techniques to facilitate learning and motivation of serious games. In P. Wouters & H. van Oostendorp (Eds.), instructional techniques to facilitate learning and motivation of serious games (pp. 1–16). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wouters, P., van Nimwegen, C., van Oostendorp, H., & van der Spek, E. D. (2013). A meta-analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 249–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ioannis Lampropoulos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tarek Alskaif
    • 1
  • Machteld van den Broek
    • 1
  • Wilfried van Sark
    • 1
  • Herre van Oostendorp
    • 2
  1. 1.Energy & Resources GroupCopernicus Institute of Sustainable Development Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Interaction Technology GroupDepartment of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations