One of the things this has shown me is the existence of an effect I’m calling here “the diminishing effects of rewards”.
Basically repeated use of rewards leads to the rewards becoming less and less effective until they become expected payments rather than rewards. This is not quite the same as Over Justification effect as the reward does not become more important than the activity, it just becomes an expected part of the activity and without it, the activity is no longer considered acceptable.
If you promise your child one pound for tidying their room, they will expect that pound the next few times you ask them to tidy their room. However, over time that reward is no longer enough, it has become an expected part of the activity. The reward has diminished in its impact.
Unlike the concept in economics called “the law of diminishing returns”, where one variable is increased whilst others remain the same, here all variables stay constant. That is except for the expectation of the person receiving the reward.
The reason this came to mind was the recent news that Romania had legalised certain forms of “corruption” in the government. Now, the issue here is that greed does not change because it has been legalised. As the money or power that was gained from corruption becomes part of the expected income, the corrupt will need to find new ways to add to that income, ways that are not on the legalised list.
In gamification, this effect is a killer as normally systems reward the same action the same way each time it is taken. 10 points for a like or 50 points for a comment. The first few times this may seem interesting, but very quickly the impact diminishes until it is worthless to the user. If you have built the system well, by that point the user should have found an intrinsic reason to continue to act, if not you are in trouble!
This is also an issue when you “over reward” people, coming back to previous comments about the best rewards taking effort to earn and thus being meaningful to the user.
If you see people are doing less of what you have expected, check to see how often you are rewarding them for menial tasks and if there is a drop off over time. Then ask why. Then ask if you really need to be rewarding the menial tasks at all?
My vision of a dislike button would have lead to a world where the useless or unhelpful crap that filled much of social media could be slowly trained out. By that I mean that trolls and the like would learn that if everything they post can be disliked and hidden, that they would just crawl away and die.
How very utopian of me.
The reality is going to be far worse for the average user than it is for the trolls – as the trolls will rule the button. Any user who posts a food pic, or a truly emotional cry for help, or something honest, will be a target. Trolls and less kind individuals will be able to passively say “we think you are irrelevant” just by clicking a button.
Just look at YouTube, where personal vendettas are played out by disliking everything a certain person may produce – not because it is not good, just because they don’t like the person.
If a dislike butting was just going to be used by nice people, it would be a great way to tidy up the social web. Sadly, it is always the minority voice of the nasty that is loudest and most noticable on the web these days.
If the word gamification was banned from all usage – what would you replace it with. I’d go with “game thinking” personally.
What followed was a fantastic conversation that I felt deserved to be shared. This is just a small example of the great content this group generates.
In this case, I would try to get rid off everything that sounds like game (because it will still confuse everyone).
My two cents: Engagement-Design or Human-Driven-Design
Rewards and Motivation Design
Both good. I am waiting for human centric design or ludification / ludic design as well!
Gamification is and does so many different things, so it’s kinda hard to choose one name. But if you really twisted my arm, I’d go for experience design.
My only question is that human-centric design or human driven design are already out there: it’s called Design Thinking. I don’t think we should hide from games because it’s precisely what makes gamification so special and not just another lame stab at design. We’ve already got pervasive design, persuasive design, human centric, experience design and so on… game thinking or playful design are interesting, but I’d probably go with game based design. It sends the message across and sort of implies that it’s not game design, it’s just game based…
Game Thinking +1
I see that human focused design is not mentioned. Human centric design exists already. Experience design is good but could be confused with UX design. User Focused Design?
I’m jumping & hoping to start a conversation, I’m curious…Manuel Pimenta with the list of names you’ve just mentioned, where do you think ‘gamification’ is different and how does it add value?
I used to say human focused design also but than I experienced that customers thought about it more as a passive activity. This is why I changed to human driven design. It puts the human in an active position within the design. Means: the gamified activity changed all the time depending on the performance of the user. Driven by the human
Or Engagement Engineering. ME is aka Mechanical Engineer and EE is aka Electrical Engineer
Game-Like Human Focused Design!!
If that looks like too long…GHFD
ha It is on my business card
Roman Rackwitz Inofficially I call it Enjoyneering. For the germans: from Engineering to Enjoyneering
simulations and advanced explorative -participative environments
This is a scenario only Europeans and Chinese people would role play.
What about ex-pat NYCers in love with Oaxaca, Gabe.
The “what if we banned a word” scenario isn’t hugely important in any of the North American countries. It’s not really our thing.
Andrzej Marczewski its all good! Just trying to get at the core of certain issues some seem to be having
I am all for simple and clear definitions. Words like human centric design and experience design are nice, but way too generic and vague. I use rewards and motivation design to educate my clients, and they feedback that it’s much clearer and sells the benefits directly.
Gabe Zichermann not a fan of role playing either- it’s tough to educate Asia on gamification and it helps sometimes if there is an analogous definition.
LOL you guys. I’m just stalling until someone says Gabeification. JK. I like lots of the ideas mooted above. My personal thing is to vary the synonym based on the context.
So, for example, if we’re doing a project that is employee engagement, I might call it that: an employee engagement program based on game principles. Or such. Without gamification as an omnibus term, we just end up having to be super specific is all.
same in Alabama and Huntsville is a Federal Gov’t town…not generally known as even early majority adopters of innovation or technology.
In some senses, Gabification ought to be the name of a conference hall in the Gamification Hall of Fame, Gabe. Fitting tribute.
Agree with Gabe Zichermann that gamification still ought to be the main keyword. Evangelizing just needs baby steps to start with, just like changing habits through gamification. And Gabification is not a bad idea. Maybe a good April fools
I was being called daveification for a while lol
Every name different from gamification, misses out on some of the most important differences, namely that Gamification include the focus on the player’s interests and motivations, and that fun is an important element. Experience, Engagement, Behavior Design do not cover that. Design Thinking is not looking at the motivations and interests and the fun of a player either; And they all don’t have metrics in focus. Gamification inherently is data driven, and has that too.
None of the “alternative” terms describe that and communicate those qualities so quickly.
Also just because executives get squeamish because there is the word game in there, is a lame reason. The very same executives find it totally normal to use even more stupid words like “cloud” (is my data disappearing like fog?), mobile (does my stuff go away? Isn’t a car a mobile thing?) and so on…
Don’t know if I can agree with you on that Mario: Design Thinking does have the motivations and interests of the user in mind, and of course it has a focus on metrics, or else it would be useless as an approach in an enterprise context. On the other hand, I think that the focus on “fun” and the implied decision to treat users like players (and calling them as such!) is what brings gamification’s chops into play (no pun intended :D).
Marigo I think that this is precisely the big difference with gamification versus all the other approaches: not the way it targets users or utilizes motivation and engagement engineering, because, let’s face it – nowadays there is a whole movement based on making the experience special for the users. Don’t know if you’ve heard of it, it’s called Apple.
Gamification for me is what brings FUN into the spotlight. Gamification uses FUN as its main driver. Players need to truly enjoy the experience, to enter that window of FLOW that few other media apart from games can create on such a diverse and instantaneous scale. So yeah, I wouldn’t change the word, even if I have to begin every meeting with “this is not about making games”, but if I had to, I would certainly not shy away from using “game” as a buzzword.
That being said, I also believe that there’s something to what Gabe was talking about regarding tailoring your message for the context it’s being delivered in. Like Maarten Molenaar I believe once said, the application of “subtle” gamification, as in, it’s there even though you don’t mention it explicitly, and when your client finds out he’s already hooked on it
I have done Design Thinking a lot and also served as a DT coach in enterprises. We never talk about metrics. And also: we don’t look at motivations and interests. We look at how we can help the user to accomplish the task easier and with less errors. But never ask the question, if they actually want to do that out of their own motivation and interest. Observing them at a ticket vending machine does not ask why and what’s their motivation, but how they can be helped to make it frictionless. A toothbrush for children (IDEO designed the one with the thick handle) did not have the question, if the child is motivated or interested in that, or to make it more fun, but more how can we help the child brush the teeth easier.
That is a very different approach. Gamification comes in and asks exactly that. So yes, DT and Gamification ARE different. Now, we use DT as a basis for Gamification Design Thinking, but we added those missing components to the design process.
I’m not denying your mad skills on DT here
We are an evolved species, we can think and act for ourselves. We have reached a point where we no longer have to hunt for food or build our own shelters (unless we choose to or in certain cases of poverty – you know what I mean though). We have cars and computers and a world connected in ways that we could never have imagined. We live longer, are healthier and more productive than ever before.
However, this has come at an extremely high price. The more “evolved” we become, the more ridiculous we have become.
We have jobs now that involve sitting perfectly still all day, looking at a screen. We count imaginary numbers and sell imaginary products that exist in imaginary clouds. We pack ourselves into tiny trains like canned tuna, to take us from our nice warm home and family, to a dull office to press buttons on a piece of plastic with a screen.
Then we come home on the same packed train, eat with our family, kiss our kids goodnight – then stare at another screen whilst pressing buttons on a piece of plastic.
When we are not working, we view the beauty around us through the lens of a phone, watching concerts through its tiny screen, marvelling at nature through a Hudson filter and a little tilt shift. We play sports through our Xbox’s with people we have never meant, in countries we have never visited.
How is this evolution? We are devolving at a rapid rate.
How does this relate to gamification? Maybe it doesn’t, but I want you to consider a challenge here – a game if you like. Next time you are about to take a picture of something you find beautiful, call a friend or family member over first to look at it and enjoy the moment with you. When you are about to boot up FIFA, phone some friends and see if they want to go for a kick about in the park to warm up. When your kids do something great, congratulate them before you Facebook it.
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”daverage” suffix=””]Enjoy the joy of living before we all become automatons in a virtual augmented reality[/inlinetweet].