This seems to be the hot, hot, hot topic these days. There are conferences, books, and companies jumping on the bandwagon to bring you apps and more that can help you gamify your web space, your company, and even your school.
Don’t get me wrong – love games. I think they are an extremely important and versatile medium for all kinds of things.
BUT, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to see everything and every place gamified.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but points, badges, and shallow machine generated flattery are not things that motivate me, or make me feel special. Stickers didn’t work so well with me when I was a kid either, and this is really no different. Gamification will not make me feel any sense of loyalty to the company doing it to me, nor will it make me more engaged. While there are a few exceptions, many of the examples of gamification are rather repulsive – and I’m sure that was not what they were going for.
Take Branchout! for example. I don’t want to be part of an ’empire’, even if it’s my own. I don’t want badges, and I could care less how many points I have. I don’t want to feel like everything is a competition. I really don’t. (I KNOW I’m not the only one who feels that way.) There’s even evidence to suggest that competition can be counterproductive.
This stuff does not make me feel happy, or warm and fuzzy, or accomplished. It makes me feel a little unclean though – like I should take a shower and start over again with a clean piece a paper.
What ever happened to sincerity? ACTUAL quality and service? People who cared about doing a good job that was NOT directly tied to money alone? Feeling good about a job well done, as opposed to ‘winning’?
I guess, only time will tell.
p.s. I think there are some excellent examples of using gamification effectively – but I suspect, here, like everywhere else, Sturgeon’s Law holds:
90% of everything is crap.