To Gamify, or not? That’s the question

According to Pew Research Center’s recently published report, gamification evokes hope as well as fear among individuals and enterprises. There is hope about the possibility to leveraging game mechanics for sparking innovation, delivering greater training impact, and generally bringing about greater motivation and engagement among employees and customers. On the other hand there is a fear and skepticism. Fear because “behavior modification”, a key goal for any gamification project, reminds us of some kind of a heinous mind-control project; and skepticism because nobody wants to invest in a fad.

The question is will gamification be around and widely adopted in 2020? Recently, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a survey among 1021 Technology stakeholders and critics to answer this question in an online, opt-in survey.  42% of the respondents felt that gamification will not be a major component in people’s everyday digital activities although it will be used occasionally. 50% of the respondents felt that gamification will play a major role in our lives.

Here are some takeaways and comments from the various respondents:

1. Playing beats working. So, if the enjoyment and challenge of playing can be embedded in learning, work, and commerce then gamification will take off. It will help if the personal rewards of the social side of game playing spread to other realms.

2. Games can be compelling and that can easily lead to behavioral manipulation. “It’s a modern-day form of manipulation. And like all cognitive manipulation, it can help people and it can hurt people. And we will see both.”– Danah Boyd, researcher, Microsoft and Harvard’s Berkman Center.

3. Those who see gamification advancing note that fun is compelling; some project a merger of play + labor (“playbor”), work + leisure (“weisure”).

4. Game elements enhance and grow social networks, increase participation, and speed up self-organized learning. Simulations are especially compelling.

5. Cooperation trumps collaboration, gamification is hype, gaming fads come and go and they will not be transformative.

6. Gamification isn’t easy; costs and people’s personal time constraints will limit its practicality. Expect “leaderboard fatigue”.

You can download the report here.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy


I love to read and share thoughts on technology, enterprise learning, mobile and any thing cool that impacts enterprises.

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Posted in Game based Learning

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