But What If They Get Addicted To Your Gamified System?

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation But What If They Get Addicted To Your Gamified System

Amazingly the question “But what if people get addicted to the solution and stop working” has come up in more than one conversation with clients over the years.

It’s an interesting question, that is worth thinking about. At first, it is easy to dismiss this as silly. When you think about it, thousands of games are released each year – about 9000 just on Steam in 2019 – the majority of them are totally unknown or fail. So how on earth is your gamified system going to become more important to people than the games they want to play or their work? Read More ...

What is Your Least Favorite Gamification Element?

I often get asked what my favorite gamification element or elements are, but no one ever asks what ones I dislike!

So I thought I would ask you guys the question and offer my own answer.


That’s right, one of the mainstays of gamification, leaderboards are my least favorite element in gamification.

Don’t get me wrong, they have their place and when used well they can be a great asset to a gamified system. The problem is, they are so infrequently used well and normally are there for a “quick fix”. Read More ...

Underjustification Effect

Overjustification Effect

Before we get onto Underjustification effect, let’s talk about its inspiration. Many of you will know about The Overjustification effect, first described by Daryl Bem in his work on Self-Perception theory in 1967[1].

Put simply it is the decrease of intrinsic motivation to perform a task or tasks when an extrinsic reward is introduced, and the reward becomes more important than the original task. So, for instance, if you love painting and then start to get paid for it, the money can start to become more important than the love of painting. Once the money is removed, you may be reluctant to go back to it for free, your intrinsic motivation to paint has been undermined by the extrinsic rewards. There is plenty of research out there to back this up! Read More ...

Schools, Rewards and FFS

Chatting to my daughter today and she was telling me about the latest incentive/bribe scheme the school was running to get kids using RM Easimaths – a gamified maths app. The app, by the way, is brilliant.

The set up was this. Most hours on the app gets a prize…

So, anyone know where this is going?

I’ve written about his in the past 

The first thing that happened was a couple fo kids got caught out logging in to the app and just leaving it running for hours and hours. The rules, such as they were, did not prevent this as they were looking at a quantitative analysis – the number of hours, rather than qualitative for example, number of questions done per hour of use. Anyway, they put a stop to that, to an extent, but still were only really measuring time, but with a few sense checks in there. Score one for lack of understanding. Read More ...

Gamification: Overjustification Effect and Cheating

Happy New Year everyone. I was going to start the year with a little article on how I problem solve, but an opportunity arose to write about something that I have been wanting to write about for a while!

When extrinsic rewards go bad

A couple of nights ago, I was bombarded with notices about comments on one particular blog post. Each was from a different, but similar anonymous email address and contained “Nice post xxx” where xxx was a number. Each comment also came from the same IP address.  I was about to block the IP totally, when I noticed that the leaderboard on my site had one very clear leader. It also showed that had a very unusual stream of activity – multiple comments on one post, multiple likes and tweets and g+ across pages and more. They had found a loop hole in the way CaptainUp manages scores. I knew it would probably happen and truth be told the culprit was not a great surprise to me.  What did surprise me was an article that he then published about his experience with gamified systems on my site and another. Read More ...

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