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Gamification is NOT all about Badges, Points and Rewards
Gamification is gaining increasing amounts of attention and credibility as a concept that can be applied to achieve goals and objectives in many “non play/entertainment” sectors. Much of what is being offered as “Gamification Strategies” focuses on the use of badges, points and rewards, giving the impression that successful Gamification is about offering rewards, incentives and recognition. This document is intended to challenge that notion and to offer a more comprehensive understanding of how and why Gamification is so significant in today’s digital age.
Gamification has been described as the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts. This makes the assumption that there is some differentiation between games and other everyday activities. Whilst the above definition seems intuitively understandable because it somehow implies that games allow “risk-free, trial and error” development that is missing in work or other situations, I believe that every human activity should be viewed as a game if we are to develop the skills and understanding to apply Gamification strategies successfully.
The first point to make in the argument that games are an essential part of every human activity is that we frequently use the words “games” and “players” in “non-game” contexts. Examples include “BP is a major player in the oil industry” or “He/she is playing mind-games”. I have heard the expression “benign manipulation” used to describe gamification but the reality is that we all use gamification skills every day of our lives in order to have some control or influence over our lives.