Damn it, stop making so much sense. In all honesty, this culture has been bothering me a lot for a good while in games. It’s not only that I’m sick and tired of the endless goose chase, but I’m also sick of the all the negative social byproducts of these systems. It’s especially problematic in MMOs where it easily leads to various brands of elitism and a development of a social hierarchy where your worth as a player (and sadly, often as a human being as well) gets defined by the text-colour of your gear or what have you. All because of human vanity and the collective pressure to keep chasing that goddamn carrot. I’ve always hated it because to me gear is ultimately always just a means to an end.
What I really want is to get to experience new challenges and to see the story involved. I don’t mind if it gives me new better gear that makes my character more efficient in battle, but I don’t really want it to be the focus of my character development either. It only constrains you and forces you to along the path the developers set out for you. If you try to break from it, the game mechanics just come back biting you in the ass, leaving you no other choice if you still want to develop your character.
I can only wonder what this would ever lead to in a real working/learning environment. Unless it can reward everyone fairly, I could definitely see a lot of potential problems. Suppose in small dozes it could always be a good incentive, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to base your systems on it.
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Haircut, snazzy guy.
Nice callout to Shamus’s novel too.
And Spy Party (although I don’t think it’s coming to PC is it?)
Gamification I always referred to as ‘the psychology of games’, where developers will deliberately play with your mind in order to get more money from you (with future purchases or the like), not unlike what supermarkets do with specials, putting milk below cost and at the back of the store so you buy impulse items etc, rather than ‘gear acquisition syndrome’ style things where you get a good feeling for completing the whole set (of the experience bar).
Also, some label it Farmville syndrome (although they employ a much wider array of tactics to get your money rather than your time).
I also think valve employ a significant amount of it to advertise Steam; you like them more from good games (which they essentially buy after the concept design is finished even if it’s not cost effective to do so) so you’re more willing to purchase from them despite being an expensive digital distribution platform (compared to others).
The gamification comes in for the achievements and the sense of community they want you to feel; as if you’re letting down real life people by not being on steam. Also the reason they don’t release their financial statements; they don’t want to be seen as a big greedy company, they want to appear more ‘indie house’ when they are one of the top 5 in the businses.
I only surpass these systems (except for xbox achievements occasionally, if I don’t have to go more than a few minutes out of my way to get it), although maybe because I’m a musician and I can spot timewasting bullshit and look at my end goal rather than a sense of satisfaction in achieving short term goals/
Also, bing.tv is horribly slow for me to download (not to mention the ads that show up every video) but I understand it is better for you (advertising + youtube’s 10 minute limit until you’re ‘known’), and you seem to be much more lighthearted since you started appearing on spoiler warning.
Now you’re beating the whole thing pretty down. Sure, “gamification” isn’t the ultimate solution which leads us into a bright future by itself. Yet neither is it “just another marketing hype”. It’s just a tool! And as a graphic artist i know just too well that every tool is just as good as the person using it.
So basically gamefication as of now is essentially a lazy stopgap solution to a fundamental problem with the way the businesses operate.
Which is honestly kind of sad because there should be a lot of overlap in the field of basically designing an experience for someone and setting up a work environment. basic concepts like “find the thing people are going to do thousands of times and make it as easy and satisfying as possible” should really enhance the way people work.
Gamification (much like social networks or any of the other things you cite as being products pushed) is just a tool like any technology. It is not inherent to a tool to be good, bad or otherwise, but inherent to the purpose that it is put toward.
An example of this is support groups. These were developed as a way for people to share the burdens that come with attempting to change one’s life by rooting out bad behaviour. But this (once again like any tool) can be used destructively as well as constructively. With the advent of the internet (and likely even before that) you can now find support forums for people with eating disorders who are cheering each other on rather than trying to become healthy. They’ve taken the seemingly incorruptable tool of a support group and turned it toward a destructive end.
Gameifying is no different. It is a means to shape people’s behaviour… and it’s not really new. Grocery stores have been using discount cards to shape people’s purchasing habits and steer them toward buying certain things for longer than I’ve been alive. Videogames just increased the complexity.
Here’s the way I think of it, especially for gamifying enterprise apps. These apps are things that people must use in order to do their jobs. As a rule, these apps are boring, they are not engaging, they don’t help their users kick ass (which their users *do* want to do), they don’t help their users collaborate, they don’t help their users understand if they are doing a good job, or guide them to *do* a good job, they are often error prone. On the other hand, these are all issues that good games address, via a combination of intrinsic factors – it’s always fun to kill things in an MMO or a first-person shooter – and game mechanics – it’s really good to know if the thing you killed was worth killing, or how far you are from getting the next level upgrade, or if there are potential allies nearby who can help you handle the boss, whatever it might be.
Are enterprise apps intrinsically motivating in the same way? No, they are not, but people *are* motivated to do their work effectively, even if it’s a partially extrinsic motivation- and everyone *does* want to do a good job, even if it’s not what they’d rather be doing in the best of all possible worlds. And then there are those people who actually *do* love their jobs, just not their tools for doing their jobs. Using game mechanics in enterprise apps helps to address all of these issues.
Saying that gamification is just for “helping the man” and that it’s all a scam is like saying “let’s make everyone go back to 24×80 text screens to do their work – Windows are just a way for the man to get more work out of us.” It’s just a ridiculous argument.
[…] This video by Chris of Errant Signal. This is what I have been trying to say all along (well that and that grades ARE gamification of […]
I do agree that “gamification”, in its current form, is exploiting people in harmful shallow ways. However, could it not be possible that, down the road, “gamification” could become a good thing?
Companies are using only the most basic forms of reward systems akin to archaic game design of earlier years or of current social networking. “Gamification” is the application of game design in a non-game environment. Is it not possible for the systems and ideas of “gamification” to develop beyond these shallow forms and evolve into more intrinsic-based design.
It is true that many people are getting far too excited for the possibilities of “gamification” and not the reality of it today. These reward-based systems do become a means to an end but perhaps it will catch up with modern gaming. The addictive nature of the Civilization games is created by design, enticing the player to play longer for the game’s sake and not for an achievement’s sake. If “gamification” is continually researched and built upon, it’s possible that we will arrive in situations more like that in our offices than some XP bar going up for all the world to see.
I am fully sympathetic to your reasoning as it is exploitation but I, personally, feel as though you’re being far too harsh on what it still an incredibly young and ill-defined concept that has potential but is simply being abused by certain groups that create a misunderstanding of the concept. “Gamification” still has a long way to go if it is continually built on and doesn’t fade away. The idea is the issue but its current use in my opinion.
I put “gamification” in quotes because it is a rather stupid title and we really should be hunting for a replacement.
*The idea isn’t the issue but its current use is, in my opinion.
[…] the original Sonic Bible.Campster has many more videos on his blog, Errant Signal; my favourite is his summary of gamification, which has become my go-to resource to share with anyone that needs an introduction the topic.Why […]
[…] a quick rundown, you can read Ian Bogost’s “Gamification is Bullshit”, or Chris Franklin’s Errant Signal video on the matter. Take gamification and reverse the thought process: marketing discovered in games […]
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