VP, SocialBon

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Can game mechanics lose their influence if they become overly pervasive?

Gamification is becoming more and more influential over our behavior. We see this in everything from Klout.com, Weight Watchers, frequent flier programs, and even TED Cred.

Gamification can often lead to positive outcomes in behavior, but is it possible to over-saturate our daily lives with game mechanics? If too many of our behaviors are associated with game mechanics, will we start ignoring the the incentives that they offer altogether?

  • Aug 9 2011: If most of our daily activities were gamificated and we were forced to participate in that mechanic, yes, I think a lot of people would start to reject it, others would perhaps thrive in it, I don't think its for everyone and I don't think everything must or should be gamificated.

    This also depends, just like games do, in the creativity and originality with which this is done.
    I think the most useful place for this technique is to motivate the youngest kids to take an active voluntary participation on school while they are far from being able to see a purpose in it even if it had one that truly served their interests.
    • Aug 9 2011: I agree that not everything that should be gamified, but that it is appropriate in the right context. I think the risk is that individuals become too reliant on game mechanics to incent them, then they'll be unwilling or unable to behave proactively in their absence.

      The use of game mechanics in school is certainly territory ripe for exploration. I've not heard of it being implemented in grade school, but I did read that XP has replaced grades in some classes at the University of Indiana: http://gamepolitics.com/2010/03/18/xp-replaces-grades-indianan-university-classes