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Is Gamification Only a Buzzword?

Is it a fad or is it fundamentally life altering trend?

Is the term “Gamification” a buzzword or is it a real trend which will change the way things are sold … services are delivered?

Is it a fad or is it fundamentally life altering trend?

Is it something new or is it an old wine in a new bottle?

If you are not familiar with the term then here is a quick explanation.

What is Gamification?

This is what Wikipedia says…

Gamification is the use of game design elements, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.

And Gamification works by…

  • Making technology more engaging
  • Encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors
  • Showing a path to mastery
  • Taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming
  • Encouraging people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring

What about some examples?

As Seth Priebatsch, in his TED talk says “The game layer is all about influence … it’s actually about using dynamics, using forces, to influence the behavior of where you are, what you do there, how you do it.” He goes on to describe 4 techniques:

  1. Appointment dynamic: Where to succeed, players have to do something at a predefined time, generally at a predefined place. Example – “Happy Hours” in you bar.
  2. Influence and status: If you do more of something then your status gets upgraded. For example: Color of your credit card.
  3. Progression dynamic: Where to make progress, you have to move through different steps in a very granular fashion. For example: “Profile completion % in Linked and other sites”.
  4. Communal discovery: You need to collaborate with a community to complete a task.

He also jokingly states that “…with seven game dynamics, you can get anyone to do anything…”

Tricking the user!

Does it not, then, make Gamification a technique to trick users to do things which they would not do otherwise?

And then you have what Abraham Lincoln had said…

“…you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time…”

Any Gamification technique may work few times but after that … well users will become immune to it!

Related Articles:

TED Talks on Gamification

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
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