This article points to another describing a “third wave” of gamification that involves effectively users creating their own games within the environment they are using, and expresses some dubiousness about its utility.
I am dubious too.
The number of people who actually want to create their own systems is (very) small compared to those who would be OK with using one.
Just look at how many people can program compared to how many people use programs.
One of the first and most important rules of application design (and a gamified system is an application) is that
NOBODY WANTS TO LEARN YOUR APPLICATION – They just want to get their work done.
Forgive the yelling, but I’ve been teaching computer science for 30+ years and it seems to be one of the hardest things to get software developers to accept.
Something many of the “pushers” of gamification as marketing voodoo magic fail to get is that people play games for entertainment. They play by choice. As soon as you make a game or gamify something that they HAVE to do (like work or formal education), things change. Now, that’s not to say that games and gamification are not worthwhile – I feel very strongly that they are – but there is a big difference between designing something fun so people will do it willingly, and making something they have to do more enjoyable or engaging (and if you want more effective, that’s a whole other challenge).
Even though I’m a pretty good programmer and can build my own websites, courses, games, and other systems, I DO NOT want to have to build my own gamification for some task I have to do. Customization is all well and good, but taken too far it becomes counter-productive.