There Be Dragons: Ten Potential Pitfalls of Gamification


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My talk at the 2011 Digital Shoreditch Gamification Workshop, May 4, 2011, London, UK.

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There Be Dragons: Ten Potential Pitfalls of Gamification

  1. There Be Dragonsten potential pitfallsof gamificationSebastian Deterding (@dingstweets)Digital Shoreditch, London, May 4, 2011cbn
  2. (Grumpy monster talk)
  3. With unexplored territories ...
  4. … comes dangerous ground.
  5. 7 3 10 8 9 4 6 2 5 1A (partial) map of troubles ahead
  6. 1The Crap CrabAbuse is not a value proposition
  7. 8 MillionFoursquare Accounts! But daily checkins/user dropped from 0,5 to 0,4 to 0,34 while growing from 2to 5 to 8 million accounts (foursquare’s own data, 2011).
  8. Who knew?Foursquare has anengagement problem.
  10. »What we have learned from our users is that anygame aspect has to be, at least for finance, moreoriented toward some specific thing that you areworking toward: I want to buy a house or a car, take avacation, get out of debt ... Otherwise you have asystem of points with no levels or no end game.« Aaron Patzer founder, (2010)
  11. We give you points User Business value value You check inThe gamification battlefield** Courtesy Buster Benson, “The Game always Wins”
  12. »The marketing dictum that “good marketingcannot compensate for a bad product” ispatently turned upside down in the Funwareworld. Game mechanics and thepsychological conditions they exploit arepowerful tools that marketers can use, andthey’re a lot cheaper … than cash in the longrun.« Gabe Zichermann game-based marketing (2009)
  13. Points and badges for loyalty – you are so cheap! That one coupon and I’m gone!An abusive relationship
  14. Stack Overflow
  15. You get answers & build reputation, we grow our platform User Business value valueThe gamification honeymoon
  16. Playing field  User Business value value OffStay in the playing field
  17. What do users value?*• Getting things done, easier• Self-improvement• Community recognition and belonging• A sense of meaning and meaning• Instrumental value, cash• Fun and enjoyment• Competence and achievement * A completely off-the cuff, non-comprehensive, non-scientific etc. pp. list
  18. Getting things done, easier
  19. Self-improvement
  20. Community recognition & belonging
  21. »Would my non-geek friendbrag about this during dinnerwith colleagues?«(The community status litmus test)
  22. Sense of meaning and contribution
  23. »Imagine a world in whichevery single human being canfreely share in the sum of allknowledge. Thats ourcommitment.« Wikimedia Foundation slogan
  24. Cash, instrumental value
  25. Fun and entertainment
  26. The Feedback BlowfishRewards are not achievements 2
  27. Score: 964,000,000,000,000 (You rock!)Earn 1,000,000,000,000 points
  28. »Fun is just another word for learning.« Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)
  29. »Fun from games arises out of mastery.It arises out of comprehension. It is theact of solving puzzles that makes gamesfun. With games, learning is the drug.« Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)
  30. Clear goals ...
  31. plus constraining rules ...
  32. equals interesting challenges.
  33. Plus constant, clear feedback ...
  34. equals experiences of achievement.
  35. Feedback without achievement
  36. The Maelstorm of Misplaced ChallengeGetting in the way of efficiency 3
  37. Ticket To receive ticket, steer point through maze
  38. Ticket Level 2 To receive ticket, steer point through maze
  39. The core challenge of e-mail?• Maximum output?• Error-free, polite, actionable?• Prioritization?• Quick answers?• Checking less often?• Inbox Zero?
  40. Prioritization
  41. Procrastination
  42. The Trapped Sea of StalenessNo fresh content and challenge 4
  43. 2010: 85Max. level 2008: 80 2007: 70 2004: 60 YearWorld of Warcraft Expansions
  44. FrontierVille Seasonal Content… vs. Quality and Variety
  45. The Urobus of Unintended ConsequenceNeglecting side effects 5
  46. Tumblarity… vs. Quality and Variety
  47. Mayor Maker
  48. The Social Signal Sea SerpentIgnoring Context Meanings 6
  49. Autonomy Leech and Value VampireThe hidden costs of extrinsic rewards 7
  50. … vs. Quality andthrough controlCurbing autonomy Variety
  51. Devaluing the activity
  53. The Ice Shelves of IgnoranceNot knowing your users 8
  54. FarmVille
  55. Fallout 3
  56., a cautionary tale
  57. 9The Feature ShallowsNeglecting design process
  58. Prototype & playtestVariety “why” … vs. Quality and for “how”,
  59. Analytics for “where”, “how much”
  60. The Panacea PythonLooking for a quick-fix, one-size-fits-allwonder potion 10
  61. »At SCVNGR we like to jokethat with any seven gamedynamics you can get anyoneto do anything.« Seth Priebatsch welcome to the decade of games (2010)
  62. When do people do stuff?* ability (Skills, habits) Usability motivation behaviour (intrinsic, extrinsic) Game design(and other things) opportunity Prompts, (Situation, environment) context* A comprehensive, well-researched, widely adopted etc. pp. model (namely the Motivation, Opportunity, Ability Model)
  63. Four questions to leave with• Is motivation the issue?• Is there a core value that game elements can amplify?• Can this be gamed (does it involve a learnable challenge and autonomy)?• Is gaming the most cost-benefit efficient way of improving motivation here?
  64. Thank You. @dingstweets