inessential by Brent Simmons

Faruk on Gamification

Faruk Ates, Gamification Fatigue:

Most gamification sucks because it breaks down our humanity like it is no more than a computer program that needs to be understood and then rewritten for maximum reward — reward for the company behind it, rather than for the player.

He makes the point that some game-like elements, in the right place at the right time, don’t have to be disrespectful or cynical. I agree with that. There are times when appropriate milestones and rewards (like getting more power on a forum) make complete sense. There are cases when they’re a natural fit for the system, rather than something designed to turn people into chattel.

More from Faruk:

No, the real science behind gamification is a far more perverse, depressing and manipulative one than Brent theorized. It is all about addictive substances and behaviors, human psychology, and taking advantage of the scientifically-verified knowledge we have of these topics.