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Gamification — Valid Term or Marketing-Speak?

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the click-through-for-five-bonus-slashpoints dept.

Games 98

Trepidity writes "Controversy continues over the seemingly unstoppable trend of 'gamification' (something we've discussed previously). The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business held a Gamification Symposium entitled 'For The Win' this week, indicating apparent academic respectability. But in the opening panel debating definitions of 'gamification,' one participant, game scholar Ian Bogost, defined it as 'bulls***.' Elsewhere, Jon Radoff responds that it may not be BS, but is too focused on superficial behaviorism rather than deeper gameplay. For my part, I wonder if by claiming gamification is a completely new thing, rather than just a new word, we're missing out on important past lessons, like the very strange history of Soviet gamification."

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40s slang for the win! (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#37039890)

Im all for gamification, how could you not want womens legs to get even more attractive?

Re:40s slang for the win! (2, Funny)

camperslo (704715) | about 3 years ago | (#37040386)

It's a perfectly cromulent term.

Re:40s slang for the win! (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about 3 years ago | (#37040548)

It's a perfectly cromulent term.

It embiggens the noblest spirit, too.

Re:40s slang for the win! (1)

Technician (215283) | about 3 years ago | (#37041172)

Many new words are added to the language by common use. If I want to look something up I often Google it. This verb is a recent example of this. Turning something into a game is another new word in developement.

Re:40s slang for the win! (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | about 3 years ago | (#37043384)

Words aren't created, they are discovered.


Re:40s slang for the win! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 years ago | (#37044424)

Many new words are added to the language by common use. If I want to look something up I often Google it. This verb is a recent example of this. Turning something into a game is another new word in developement.

As someone once said, "Verbing weirds language". 'nuff said.

Re:40s slang for the win! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37044882)

It's from Calvin & Hobbes:

Re:40s slang for the win! (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | about 3 years ago | (#37054778)

Common use can suck a nut. Language is too important to be left to the caprice of it's dumbest users. Just because people say it doesn't make it right. Just because people have been saying it for a long time does not make it right.

Decimate means to kill/destroy one tenth. No matter how many ignorant people use it to mean 'totally destroy', they are wrong. 10,000 year from now, they'll still be wrong.

There's nothing wrong with telling people they are wrong. It's a popular myth that correcting people is mean. It's not mean unless you're mean about it. It's far meaner, or just plain lazy to NOT correct people.

Re:40s slang for the win! (1)

game kid (805301) | about 3 years ago | (#37040574)

It sounds nice, sure, but wait until Big Business begins the consumerization of that word.

You'll beg for eyegougeification very soon.

Re:40s slang for the win! (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 3 years ago | (#37041530)

in Edinburgh, Scotland "Gam" is a blowjob.... better yet!

"Gamification" (1)

Medevilae (1456015) | about 3 years ago | (#37039914)

Gammification, which made me think turd-speak word for increasing gamma.

The Word is Bullshit (4, Interesting)

RobinEggs (1453925) | about 3 years ago | (#37039924)


That's the word, Trepidity, go ahead and say it.

I'm not aware of any profanity filter on slashdot. There's no point to being so obsessively proper, so self-righteous, or so whatever it is you were trying to be that you should choose to bleep out a swear word in a direct quote. Just say the freaking word.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37039960)

The stars symbolize the bulls assholes.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

BossJohnson (2433874) | about 3 years ago | (#37040142)

Bullshit. That's the word, Trepidity, go ahead and say it. I'm not aware of any profanity filter on slashdot. There's no point to being so obsessively proper, so self-righteous, or so whatever it is you were trying to be that you should choose to bleep out a swear word in a direct quote. Just say the freaking word.

I have to agree. Let's stop being politically correct, especially with direct quotes.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | about 3 years ago | (#37040156)

Just say the freaking word.

Dear RobinEggs, I agree. And you, also, are welcome not to self-censor.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 3 years ago | (#37040304)

And by 'freaking', of course, you mean 'fucking'. There's no point to being so obsessively proper, so self-righteous, or so whatever it is you were trying to be that you should choose to switch out a swear word while telling someone to fucking swear.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (2)

itchythebear (2198688) | about 3 years ago | (#37040336)

Well, technically "freak" is a word, as is "freaking". Contrary to what some may think, freaking isn't just a funny way to say fucking. had he typed "Just say the f**king word" then that would be considered self censoring, but it's perfectly reasonable to assume freaking is exactly the word he meant right there.


Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

camperslo (704715) | about 3 years ago | (#37040420)

He may have meant fraking. Safe near a water bed but not a water table.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#37040616)

He may have meant fraking. Safe near a water bed but not a water table.

Yeah, but be careful when Admiral Adama starts laying in to you and using it, as he's probably REALLY pissed.

You're safe around Colonel Tigh though, unless you're a Number 6, but if you're in to that sort of thing...

Re:The Word is Bullshit (4, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | about 3 years ago | (#37040500)

And by 'freaking', of course, you mean 'fucking'.

Actually, I did mean freaking. Just because I criticize the sort of people who obsessively avoid swearing or even quoting curses doesn't mean I'm obligated to spout one off just to make a point. I just think it's stupid when people believe it somehow holy or dignified to never use or repeat curses under any circumstances.

If I thought the situation warranted the word 'fucking' I'd have used it. I consider 'freaking' and 'fucking' to have different emotional textures and connotations, and I preferred the first.

It was deliberate diction, not oblivious hypocrisy.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | about 3 years ago | (#37043234)

If they are going to bust your balls over that, they need to not use any euphemisms like gosh, jeez, or bear (yea.. bear [] )

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 3 years ago | (#37044538)

But likewise the submitter thought that 'bullshit' and 'bull***' have different emotional textures and connotations, and preferred the second.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | about 3 years ago | (#37115886)

The submitter doesn't have the privilege of choosing which connotation to use; it's a quote. Unless the man being quoted stood up at the podium and literally said "bull asterisk asterisk asterisk asterisk" your argument makes no sense. You can't just change a quote, especially with the intention of changing its meaning by fiddling with connotations and such.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 3 years ago | (#37121256)

He does have that privilege as long as he conveys the information correctly, which he did. By saying that the scholar in question defined something as 'bull****', he both makes his readers aware that the person literally said "bullshit," and spares them the offensive emotional connotation of a curse word spelled out letter for letter.

Bottom line -- information properly transmitted, emotional impact of it dialed back to the taste of the submitter, and you think your emotional scale is better than his.

Front Page (2)

tmh - The Mad Hacker (962953) | about 3 years ago | (#37040812)

I think it's a nice service to bleep stuff that appears on the front page. For one thing, many people *are* browsing it at work where they may find it nice to be able to browse the summaries without triggering content filters or otherwise being bothered by NSFW content. If, after seeing the abbreviated summary, they wish to climb in the manhole, they can click on the article and enjoy all it has to offer.

Re:The Word is Bullshit (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 years ago | (#37041798)

I did actually say it in my submission; Soulskill did some minor editing to the blurb, including adding the stars. I wonder if that's something each editor does independently, or if Slashdot has some sort of policy?

maybe they were using regular expressions (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37042230)

like he says below, the stories are edited before publishing. sooo you never know if every decision was made by submitter (sometimes thats good)

but i mean, maybe they were using regex? bulls***


Re:maybe they were using regular expressions (1)

deains (1726012) | about 3 years ago | (#37042372)

Actually, it would be bull, bulls, bullss, bullsss...

Re:maybe they were using regular expressions (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 3 years ago | (#37043232)

like he says below, the stories are edited before publishing.


You made a funny.

You're an asshole (1)

Benfea (1365845) | about 3 years ago | (#37045046)

Sometimes, self-censorship can be funnier than spelling it out the normal way, you [expletive deleted].

In my college days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37039930)

I occasionally chugged an entire bottle of Southern Comfort in just a few hours on a Friday or Saturday night.

Today, I'd have the option of attending a panel discussion on "Using Gamification to Achieve Business Objectives in the Web 2.0 Economy".

Similar result...

April Fool's? (1)

samkass (174571) | about 3 years ago | (#37039972)

Is this submission a late April Fools joke? If there's one thing worse than symposiums where they debate the meaning of the word 'gamification', it's an online discussion about such symposiums on Slashdot.

Re:April Fool's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040020)

I believe 'symposia' is the word you're looking for.

Re:April Fool's? (1)

black soap (2201626) | about 3 years ago | (#37040232)

I love symposia. - P.Fry

Re:April Fool's? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37040050)

Yeah I'd stay and discuss, but instead I'ma go get some gamification and play Eve Online.

Re:April Fool's? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 3 years ago | (#37041044)

Is this submission a late April Fools joke? If there's one thing worse than symposiums where they debate the meaning of the word 'gamification', it's an online discussion about such symposiums on Slashdot.

It is the Eponymous Maximus entry of the Procrastinator's Club.

Academic? Srsly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040008)

A symposium held by a business school hardly counts as "academic respectability".

Re:definedd here properly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040066)

Goatse, tubgirl, advertisement or in between?

Re:definedd here properly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040108)

Worse, a website selling essays.

Closer to home. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040082)

Let me give you a simple example of gamification: karma points on Slashdot.

Re:Closer to home. (1)

skids (119237) | about 3 years ago | (#37040278)

Ah, but those ate actually have mild consequences because they get used for preratings and such.

The last link in the article is worth reading, BTW, and pretty much sums up my feeling towards just about every "trend" that comes down the pipe with a new buzzword -- ignorant people think it's newly invented, then go about re-innovating it without learning from the history of the last nine times it was innovated.

As far as "gamification" goes IMO the best way to deploy it in the workforce would be an industry-wide drive to utilize the accolades in hiring decisions as a resume suppliment. Of course, that would put employers in the position of making their employees attractive to the wider job market, so I guess since many employers are total pricks, that won't happen.

Re:Closer to home. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 3 years ago | (#37040424)

Let me give you a simple example of gamification: karma points on Slashdot.

Well, they do matter for karma-whores. Not so much the one of us coming for "stuff that matters" and certainly not at all for trolls.

(BTW: TFA-s are, in my opinion, an excellent food for thought. At least today I haven't wasted all the time I spent on /.. Thank you, Mark)

Re:Closer to home. (1)

geegel (1587009) | about 3 years ago | (#37041810)

The achievement system is also a great part of it.

Engage bullshit mode! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040098)

This is a brand new paradigm shift it will streamline interactive infomediaries and expedite killer technologies by moving beyond the web 2.0 experience!

With our new gamification focused ubiquitous communities we can target synergistic relationships and deploy customized deliverables by maximize compelling content!

The above random grouping of pure bullshit words could get me a job in many companies. If i'd be willing to sell my soul.

Re:Engage bullshit mode! (1)

mkiwi (585287) | about 3 years ago | (#37040184)

Do you think we could touch base about this?

I'll always mispronounce it. (1)

devphaeton (695736) | about 3 years ago | (#37040120)

"gamification", rhyming with "ramification". That's how I'll hear it in my head when i read it, and that's how i'll be doomed to say it until I can teach myself to pronounce it the right way.

FTR, I had to do the same for "linux". Even to this day (after 15 years), I still read it as "lye-nucks", and it took me nearly 3 years* to pronounce it correctly, even when I knew better and even while it's "lye-nucks" in my head.

*plus or minus several months of only encountering the word in reading, never hearing another person speaking it.

Re:I'll always mispronounce it. (1)

mburns (246458) | about 3 years ago | (#37040686)

Your impulse to pronounce with the long sound is entirely legitimate; it would be especially so in west Michigan or Wisconsin. Remember that Linus himself when speaking his native language emits "LEENUKES" (the long sounds).

Re:I'll always mispronounce it. (1)

devphaeton (695736) | about 3 years ago | (#37040800)

I am not a native, but I am a resident of Wisconsin.

Actually, wouldn't the 'a' in "ramification" be the short sound, while the 'a' in "sway" be the long?

Re:I'll always mispronounce it. (1)

jo42 (227475) | about 3 years ago | (#37040948)

"gamification", rhyming with "ramification"

"Game" rhymes with "Lame" and "Gamer" rhymes with "Lamer".

'nuff said.

Re:I'll always mispronounce it. (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | about 3 years ago | (#37043286)

gam also rhymes with gam (as in leg)

Rewards (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 3 years ago | (#37040138)

"Gamification" only works when there are appropriate rewards, something that won't happen in a stale corporate environment. For example, a typical reward is pride, but it has to be meaningful. For example, getting the high score on an arcade machine was a big reward because everyone would see your initials (or, your creative word such as ASS or SEX). Now, playing the same game that was addicting when the entire town was at the arcade on a deserted island is unlikely to have the same effect. Same thing with virtual rewards on MMOs, the bigger the MMO the more important the reward. For example, a one of a kind item in WoW is going to be a lot more rewarding than a one of a kind item in an MMO with only 100 users, or an MMO where no one can see your item. Another reward is getting to see the completion of a storyline, be it primitive in nature like Donkey Kong, or as fancy as the newest RPG, people want to see how it turns out. Other reasons are pure curiosity about what lies down the road and the fun of customizing and upgrading.

Chances are slim that a non-gaming corporation can actually pull off what makes gaming meaningful and make a fun game.

Re:Rewards (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 3 years ago | (#37041460)

It is however a worthy area to research and examine.

People spend hours doing boring, monotonous tasks over and over in MMO's "for fun" and seem to honestly enjoy it in order to unwind after hours doing boring, monotonous tasks over and over in a job they hate.

It's called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37042126)

It's called self-determination theory. You have do monotonous activity at work. You choose to do it at home, usually because you are so exhausted you want entertainment that requires minimal effort. The television was called an idiot box for a reason.

Exactly why it won't work for marketing (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 3 years ago | (#37047602)

If you make me work to get something out of your attempt at marketing/advertising, you've effectively made me ignore you.

Gamification is another word for making things fun (1)

crispytwo (1144275) | about 3 years ago | (#37040154)

Everybody enjoys fun things, and making dull things fun has been around since the beginning of recorded history. Ever heard the phrase "Life is a Game"?

This term is as useful as a punch to the groin. See what I did there? I made writing, and I maybe reading, a bit more fun. I wonder how many I's I can use in a sentence? See, I did it again. Fun!

This whole concept makes me afraid of business latching on to this stupid idea and causing a crap load of problems. Partly because of the work that is never fun, thus never gets done. Or the work that gets barely done because it is not fun enough. Or just simply people who won't learn how to do something new, because someone else hasn't made a game out if it yet (i.e.never will).

This is a terrible idea to push, let alone adopt. It might have its place it limited settings, like for 7 year olds in school, like, for every book you read you get 5 points. Oh ya, I did that when I was a kid. I recall that I could care less about the points, but I did want to read more books than Danny. Funny.

Re:Gamification is another word for making things (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 3 years ago | (#37040438)

I'd say it's more about making things addictive. How many times have you been doing something that has been "gamified" for hours, only to eventually realize that you are no longer having fun, but just waiting to hear that little DING that means you are getting some reward. Now fun can be the method of getting you addicted; fun things make great rewards. But as it is currently being used by companies, it's about the addiction.

Re:Gamification is another word for making things (1)

crispytwo (1144275) | about 3 years ago | (#37041036)

Which makes it more horrible IMO

And, how many times have you done that 'action' and felt like a smuck once you've realized how much of your life has just been wasted? If addiction and gamification is required to make you do something, I worry about important things being done that aren't gamified.

I'm all for making things fun, musical stairs []

But does my next pay day get determined by how many bugs I fix, or how many hours I stay at work in 'overtime'? I certainly hope not!

Picked an aspect of "Virtual Reality" (1)

Karljohan (807381) | about 3 years ago | (#37040782)

It sounds a bit like someone has picked one single aspect of Virtual Reality (VR) and chose to forgot the immense amount of research put into the subject.

K! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 years ago | (#37040172)

Just what the hell is this, and why do I feel like I'm at marketers meeting?

Soviet gamification in mines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040174)

Soviet Gamification is still used in coal mines in the eastern US. Miners are given stickers for success in areas like safety and production quotas, etc. . . . .

Re:Soviet gamification in mines (1)

nicodoggie (1228876) | about 3 years ago | (#37041518)

The miners are also given launchable inflaters as weapons against those pesky smurfs and their pet dragons.

Sneaking in a pun (1)

rpresser (610529) | about 3 years ago | (#37040180)

The really clever bit about Ian Bogost calling it bullshit is that Ian Bogost is the creator of the Facebook game parody "Cow Clicker".

bs (1)

trb (8509) | about 3 years ago | (#37040226)

The title of this symposium shorthands these points for me: the slogan "For the Win," accompanied by a turgid budgetary arrow and a tumescent rocket, suggesting the inevitable priapism this powerful pill will bring about--a Viagra for engagement dysfunction, engorgement guaranteed for up to one fiscal quarter.

Turgid? Tumescent? Priapism? Viagra? Engorgement? Sorry. You lose the right to call BS on anyone else.

Must be read (-1, Offtopic)

k4b (2433856) | about 3 years ago | (#37040246)

Re:Must be read (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37040302)

or trying to sell custom essays on a random forum

fuck off spammer

Re:Must be read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040350)

Please go light yourself on fire and die a painful death.

Been doing it for 20 years (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 3 years ago | (#37040312)

I've been saying for 20 years that application software that doesn't feel like a videogame is a failure. I just never had a word for it. I'm glad there is one now.

This is in contrast to the cheesy words "mashup" (replacing "integration") and "cloud" (replacing "server" and actually now meaning the opposite of its original "Internet connection" or "peer-to-peer" meaning from 90's PowerPoints).

Web 3.0 The Game ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040326)

Sounds cool

BUT , I watched the gamification sales videos (Gabe Zichermann and Seth Priebatsch) - the realisation is that all they are really about is making a s**t load of $$$$$$$$$$$$$ off teh farmville concept. I don't really think they care much about the quality of the said gamification process.

Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040400)

Ahh, the Europeans well understand gamed non-monetary rewards. Men would sell their souls for a knighthood or a Legion d’Honeur. Napoleon said “men are lead by trifles”.

Soviet gamification and management techniques are worth studying. Yes, the Soviet Union’s economy did slide into stagnation in the 1980s but a major factor was the collapse of export markets in Third World nations in the 1970s.

The management methods of the Economic Rationalists introduced into Australian industry in the 1980s were eerily reminiscent of Leninist management. The vocabulary was different – no Stakhanovism or “over-exceeding the norms” – but you could find parallels for “flat structures” and “owning the process” not to mention vision statements and team bonding and all the other horrors. All of them, ways of getting you to work harder for less money.

Seriously though, soviet industry grew enormously in that early period, right up to the 1970s. There was a dreadful human cost, but look at what the Industrial Revolution in Europe did in its early years, in terms of death, disease and oppression.

Gamification = Skinner Box (1)

RandomStr (2116782) | about 3 years ago | (#37040408)

I'll be playing the nintendo version rather than the zynga one; ya gota watch out for these Skinner Boxes!

But in all seriousness, there will be good and bad examples of gamification, the ones that are tied to "rewards programs" will probably be as numerous as the "entertainment based" title, and there will be people that take it to the point of neglect, it's human nature...

Imagine what's going to happen when "Augmented Reality Glasses" become available and where all playing games 24/7...

Perhaps we need to make games to make people addicted to being "more functional"...

Re:Gamification = Skinner Box (1)

lexsird (1208192) | about 3 years ago | (#37040764)

I hate having to skim all the way to the bottom to find something intelligent.

It's a legitimate term, of course those who don't understand it will probably throw rocks at it. Fuck 'em, who cares what stupid people think anyway?

Gamification is yet another "people hack", dipping into some psychology to achieve some desired effect from them. So? Welcome to earth, it's been happening for quite a while. Yes, gamification is yet another "modern" term, and the English language in all of it's forms is full of evolving terminology. It's how people communicate, get used to it, if you don't like it, don't use it, if you do then power to you. But for the grammar Nazis who don't offer anything to the conversation other than semantics; go fuck yourselves.

The old "carrot on a stick" concept gets a facelift with technology. Sure it's not news, but damn it, what really is new if you think about it? There is nothing new under the sun. What is interesting though is learning how to tweak whatever with new tools and information.

Augmented Reality Glasses are just part of the future full cyber package. Talk about an army of one. This is becoming "the future" at last. We are emerging into some exciting technology, too bad we aren't bright enough to get it all together just yet. Fuck it, I may have to put it together myself instead of waiting for some dullard corporation to do it for me. It makes for great fodder for writing. I can remember reading science fiction that talked about what we have already. Oddly the stories from the great authors didn't just envision the tech but they addressed our humanity.

Start Trek for a bad example really wasn't about the tech, but the story of the people and what they did with the tech. Have you noticed that once we are "here at the future" our contemporary science fiction isn't about some wonderful future, but some dark dismal fucked up future? What happened to the happy life of the Jetsons? Now we hope for apocalyptic doom instead of flying cars. "Brighten the world; shoot an emo." (I say, not seriously in the off chance some goofy fucker reads this and is inspired.)

I digress. Augmented Reality will be a big fucking can of worms that people will open up and the genie will NOT get back in the bottle. Mixing metaphors like that should be a crime I know, but it had to be said. You want to know when it gets really fucking crazy? Augmented Reality meets a Singularity. Who is going to be the first to create a singularity is what I am really tripping on. The US? Surely not? We have run down the road of retardation concerning our nation. We have jumped backwards in progress so fucking bad we may never catch up or even survive.

We do need to be the first with a singularity. It needs to be ours, created and programmed with some firewalls to some deeply engrained morals so that it doesn't turn and burn us all to toast. Some tricky dangerous shit, on par with developing nukes; they didn't know if it would burn the world to a crisp when they fired off the first one. The same with a singularity, it could royally fuck us in a "terminator" scenario. But seriously, what mad scientist wouldn't want to build one? I sure as shit would love to build one.

But anyway, after one is built and running and gets up to speed, holy shit things will change. Understatement of the year, huh? Imagine though the human interfaces then? Augmented Reality? Only on a level that is hard to imagine! It will not take long for it to hard wire directly into our brains, which is why you really want some "moral fail safes" in place where you hope it can't pick at it with an attitude. This has all the trappings for a really scary book, then a shitty movie based off it. Something based off of "Blue Water" run the fuck amuck because the wrong person put the wrong program in it. Think about it, if that thing becomes a singularity, you had better be prepared.

Probably not enough "computing power" to be a singularity, but what if...?

Re:Gamification = Skinner Box (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37044510)

Imagine what's going to happen when "Augmented Reality Glasses" become available and where all playing games 24/7...

I dunno, but I hope it involves making out with Ashley Judd.

Soviet Gamification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37040414)

It took all of my willpower not to title this essay, "In Soviet Russia, Gamification Engages You".

Re:Soviet Gamification (1)

j-beda (85386) | about 3 years ago | (#37042956)

It took all of my willpower not to title this essay, "In Soviet Russia, Gamification Engages You".

I liked that one too.

Great presentation on "Gamification" (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#37040536)

Watch it, and understand the elements of psychology that game designers use to get you addicted and keep you that way.

Jonathon Blow on Gamification []

It's long, but it's worth it.

Wait a minute.. (0)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 3 years ago | (#37040552)

Isn't "gam" slang for a woman's leg?

So that means they're going to look at legs! :) Turn the entire crowd into genuine gam-lovers. :)

Gamified Business Models (1)

mentil (1748130) | about 3 years ago | (#37040664)

I recently discovered the existence of 'penny auction' websites, which are a gamified version of eBay et al. In short, each bid raises the price by 1 cent, but placing a bid costs you 60 cents, which you can't get back. The person who places the last bid wins, and the timer resets to 15 seconds or so if someone places a bid when there's less than that amount of time left. Obviously, this leads to bidding wars, where people have sunk money (in the form of bids) and are unwilling to lose the auction. The value of the 60 cent bids placed often far exceeds the value of the item.

The site I browsed had a FAQ pleading that their business model isn't (legally considered) gambling, although they eventually admit that it is gamified auctioning. I think many people intuitively feel that the distinction is morally dubious.

Furthermore, Boy Scout badges are pretty similar to Achievements.

The reason it's bullshit (1)

sco08y (615665) | about 3 years ago | (#37040676)

Why aren't they all like Achievement Unlocked [] or Upgrade Complete [] ?

They generally have actual gameplay, some sort of challenge or some kind of story.

For sites like StackOverflow, yeah, the badges and such are a bit over done, but even then you have an actual community of people and the reason you're interested in earning them is because people can see you actually had to do something that other people found, if not useful in their paying job, at least informative.

If you're "gamifying" something that is completely pointless and insubstantial, it's bullshit. You can't start with bullshit, add some achievements and upgrades and get anything more than warmed over bullshit.

mod this guy up! (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 3 years ago | (#37041226)

Those game links are awesome. I wish I hadn't spent my one-shot mod-any-post-to-6 upgrade already, so I could do your post, getting you a rare achievement [] .

Re:The reason it's bullshit (1)

j-beda (85386) | about 3 years ago | (#37043802)

"Upgrade Complete" is pretty fun.

Gamification is... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 3 years ago | (#37040740)

... the new snake-oil for slick marketers, hipster wannabe game developers and incompetent academics.

What we're really talking about here is engagement. The word "gamification" is a misnomer. Games have tapped into some aspects of human mind and behavior that can make some subset of learning and perhaps other experiences more rewarding/engaging. But this is far cry from all the unrealistic over-the-top hype that 'gamification is going to change everything', which is just pure bullshit.

Penn and gamification (1)

rafe.kettler (1946264) | about 3 years ago | (#37040752)

It's worth noting that the University of Pennsylvania is making the societal implication of games this year's "academic theme." The summer reading book for freshmen is Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken." This is something that they, as a university, are paying a lot of attention to, not just a buzzword to them.

Why not call it "motivation"? (2)

metacell (523607) | about 3 years ago | (#37041026)

The proper term is "motivation". There's a lot more to motivating people (for example, in the workplace) than providing game-style rewards. For example, feeling that you're part of the social group. Not having to worry about your state of employment from day to day. Feeling that your boss listens to you. Feeling that your work contributes something to society. Not being hindered in your work by beaureacracy or office politics. And so on. In fact, there are researchers who claim (very reasonably, IMHO) that setting up reward systems ruins the natural work satisfaction which is there to begin with.

I think the term "gamification" does more to confuse than enlighten. It's an easy-to-understand buzzword which makes it sound like these ideas are specific to gaming and unexplored by psychology. By all means, get inspiration from gaming, but also read the psychological research which is available.

I think the term can even do a lot of damage if it inspires people to construct reward systems, which IMHO are usually misguided.

Re:Why not call it "motivation"? AMEN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37041802)

What is it about some games that makes them addictive? It's not just the score.

If you want to gamify something, how about making it an enjoyable experience somehow. How about just making it not painful. As a concrete example: Shopping. I usually check stores' websites for price and availability before I leave the house. A couple of local stores have crappy websites where I have real trouble finding stuff. One used to make me register before I could even use its website. I almost never go to those stores. No amount of user loyalty rewards will make me put up with the inconvenience of having to struggle with the website.

Re:Why not call it "motivation"? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 years ago | (#37041898)

Yeah, I agree. Part of my point with writing the "Soviet gamification" essay was to point out that constructing reward systems, even game-like reward systems, isn't a new idea, and we should learn from history about the various ways it can go spectacularly wrong.

A lot of the current trend seems to think that putting "points" and "level-ups" into our classroom/workplace is a great new idea that nobody's tried, when in fact the history of education, for example, is littered with crazy "game-like" reward schemes, ranging from gold-star merits boards to competition between classrooms.

Re:Why not call it "motivation"? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 3 years ago | (#37044932)

I worked for a while to build a 'weekly chores list' for my kids that was based on computer RPGs. There would be experience awarded for various chores, and some would be required to progress further. The kids could pick a class, or dual-class, and that would have effects on their chores (a ranger would get double experience for yardwork, for instance). When they leveled up, they would get rewards based on their class.

I never quite got it working, but I still think it was a cool idea.

Game Scholar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37042084)

Not to defend "gamification," but how can a "game scholar" call something somebody else does bullshit?

Here we go again... (1)

Keill (920526) | about 3 years ago | (#37042136)

The reason for the problems with the term 'gamification' go a lot deeper than anyone probably realises.

For this reason, most people, such as Mr Bogost or Jon Radoff, don't understand the nature of the problem itself, and instead concentrate on dealing it's symptoms, rather than understanding the cause.

Here's my reply to Job Radoff's blog (corrected for spelling - oops):

I'm sorry Mr Radoff, but in this particular case, you are wrong.

This problem goes far deeper than it may at first appear...

The problem with the word 'gamification' is ENTIRELY due to its label, which is based on an inconsistent use of the the word game, which is the built on its inconsistent and not fully recognised and understood definition, which is based on an lack of recognition of how it is used, which is then, further, based on a lack of recognition and understanding of part of the basic rules of English grammar - WHAT concepts types of words are used to represent, in conjunction with HOW they are used.

The actual root of this problem lies with the inconsistent definitions of the words noun and verb (in RELATION to each other).

The term gamification is used as an application of game-theory. The problem with game-theory, is that it's about far more than just GAMES. It's really about mathematical models of COMPETITIVE behaviour in a structured environment.

But competition is NOT the behaviour the word game ultimately represents. Competition, is instead, merely part of the application of the behaviour the word game happens to represent. Since this type of noun is not fully recognised as representing applications of behaviour, (things that happen), we have problems.

Competition is, of course, the same type of word - representing an application of compete. Unlike the word game, however, what competition represents does NOT have to be created by humanity in order to exist. For this reason, applying game theory in order to model, promote and enable competition and competitive behaviour, has nothing to do with the word game in itself. For this reason, the term 'gamification' that is used to label such a thing, is a complete misnomer - and THAT is the cause of the problem you (and Ian) have.

Gamification is dangerous (2)

dzfoo (772245) | about 3 years ago | (#37042420)

You shouldn't overdo it, or you may end up transmogrifying into a large green mutant with super-human strength, at the slightest annoyance.

Then the military will be after you with tanks and helicopters, and--let's face--all hell breaks loose from there.


Example of Corporate Gamification ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37043226)

Gamification is definitely a 'real' word and a real thing. Why? Because enough people decided it would be. That's about all it takes to build a word. There's no way you can REFUDIATE me when I'm armed with such a strong argument.

So when I watch Swamp Loggers, and I see the boss offering up a company feast/cookout for delivering 100 loads of wood in a week, is that an example of gamification? I don't think the guys strive for the 100 loads to get the free meal. They can't be that hungry. There is a real psychological thing going on within the group. And the competition is not with each other or some other company. It's against the vagaries of weather and equipment malfunction best as I can assess.


Legitimacy destroyed = business as usual. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 3 years ago | (#37043674)

Like the .com bust, the thin-client bust, XML bust, and the yet-to-be cloud bust, the trend is not in any of these concepts being bullshit. The trend is in these concepts being taken away by men in gray suits and becoming the substance of what they do that is bullshit. It isn't bullshit to begin with. They take lemons and make bullshit, because it sells for more than the lemonade.

Although there are extents to gamification, there definitely is a legitimate idea here that has practical uses. Success can be counted or "scored". Failures can be given limits or "lives", which when depleted, would cause a reset or "game over". Workers with many completed tasks, regardless of outcome, can still gain experience, or "EXP" then maybe get promoted or "level up". Now, scores, lives, exp, and levels, are all numbers which can be shared and compared. And just as this information can guide and govern the flow of a game environment, it can with a work environment. This is inspired by games and would be my best guess as to a practical approach to gamification.

But who cares. For marketing and sales, gamification can be made out to be something more when it isn't, and more expensive when it shouldn't be. This is roughly how it's done.

1) Talk big, be epic, and as if you know. Pick a good myth,
"Make it a game and everyone will play it."
"Every game is fun."

2) Add financial talk that include similar terms, drop names. Feel free to lie, but applicable facts are usually easy to find.
"The game industry is huge!!"
"VCs say its the next big thing."
"Microsoft is adopting it."

3) At this point, if they buy it, it's game on. Sell them everything but the kitchen sink. Charge them for:
- per user
- per game level
- a gaming engine
- a 3D rendering machine
- 3D modelers, writers, artists
- programming and consulting fees
- the princess they get to spend the night with when they complete the game.
- customer support

The key is 1+2 meeting a specific threshold which is sell-ability, and it pretty much what triggers an industry trend driven by suits. Once a few big clients topple over, the avalanche begins. They then repeat 1 through 3 until the industry catches on, then move on to something else. But the template is more or less identical.

Not a word (1)

Stiletto (12066) | about 3 years ago | (#37044552)

It's a marketing non-word, used over and over by only a handful of people (probably with a profit motive). Go look for blog posts or "articles" mentioning this word. It's always the same people pushing the use of the word.

I don't understand the hard feelings. (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 3 years ago | (#37044578)

full disclosure: i work for a marketing agency and my primary role is game programmer / designer.

Why do people care so much if a razor has an online leaderboard showing who shaved the most square meters, or if a hotel gives people badges for checking in at 2 places 1000 miles apart in a day? Yes it's marketing. Yes it's leveraging people's competitive nature to incite them to purchase the product. Yes, most often it's a bastardization of the art of game design. It's probably possible to do it right, and do it well, and it doesn't take anything away from the art of games.

Marketing bastardizes everything. photography, film, music, are all art forms that are used to sell crap. Nobody seems to be claiming that marketing has ruined these mediums and destroyed the talent pool. Sure, people will say that ad is a horrible perversion of photography. I never hear people calling for a moratorium on using photographs in marketing. Often times marketing in these mediums is even held up as a shining example of the art done well. Isn't it possible that gamification could be done well?

I don't think it's inherently bullshit. Most of the time it's going to be employed because the agencies think, this will sell our product. Some of the time it might be legitimately fun. If someone comes up with a strategy that sells a product people want and actually make a fun competition around the purchase of that product, how is that not on par with a revered tv spot? Hell. I'll grant an achievement to the best use of gamification!

I can be the Hulk now? No!? (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | about 3 years ago | (#37061072)

My first read of the headline made me think they came up with a way to make the average consumer into The Incredible Hulk. Then I realized it said Gamification and not Gammafication.

My day is now thoroughly ruined. :-(

It's definitely not bullshit. (1)

jcsehak (559709) | about 3 years ago | (#37114520)

Else, how could Chore Wars [] exist?

Gamification is what your dad said when you complained about picking up sticks in the backyard, and he replied "Let's make a game of it. See how many you can get done in a minute, and then try to beat your record for the next minute."

Gamification is what makes people practice instruments on Rock Band that would bore them in real life.

That someone who studies games could call it bullshit kinda puzzles me. It may be a silly word, and it may be misapplied to things like FourSquare badges no one cares about, but it's hardly bullshit.
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