Gamification, for the last decade is the hyped word in terms of boosting user engagement and increasing user behaviors, social synergy, or quality and activities’ productivity.  The aspired models are thought to arise in consequence of positive, intrinsically motivating, “gameful” experiences.

Gamification field applications are closely connected to social media and mobile, which goes hand-in-hand with artificial intelligence.


Background of Gamification and Literature Research

The terminology of “gamification” dates back to 2008, followed by the practices in the field of technology and healthcare experts within the early months of 2010, incorporates a wide range of game-related components into the business. The most generalized and widespread definition states “gamification is the use of game design elements in nongame contexts”. Gamification is widely accepted and adopted by companies to strengthen the initiation phase and retention of aspired behaviors, on top of that, the estimation says 60% of health officials in workplaces, in present, incorporate gamification components.

As it can be observed in literature research (over 47,200 papers on Google Scholar; over 1.500 on Science Direct database (accessed on March 10, 2019.) the studies in the gamification medium is quite popular. This may suggest:

  • that accurately created gamification designs have the ability to affect users,
  • that minimization of different biases via experimental design
  • that information gathering makes it the most reliable way to discover its effects or its restrictions.

Identical terms are in the market and fresh terms keep being brought alive, such as “productivity games”, “funware”, “playful design”, “behavioral games”

  • Furthermore, we can assert that gamification is standardized as the common term. In the meanwhile, gamification term is also open to severe discussions, essentially within the industry of games and the studies of games. Restlessness with current practices, simplicities, and discussions have driven some people to invent modified terms. A good example of that is from an academician, she describes “Alternate Reality Games” as “a game you play in your real-life”. On the other side, another practitioner suggested substituting the name “gamification” with “exploitationware”, that grammatical politics that would more accurately depict the exploitation that gamification probably causes. He also asserts that gamification disregards games’ secondary characteristics over the primary elements. Adding, it fatally abuses and disrupts games. There is a mistake that games’ attraction for oversimplified ones directed to extrinsic motivations.

The current main usage of the term gamification fluctuates among two similar ideas. Primarily to grow engagement, and universality of games in daily life. Secondly, the more precise concept is the reason that games are created for fun, and because it has demonstrated to drive them with exceptional depth and continuation. Game elements transform real-life cases, which don’t incorporate gaming elements, more delightful and charming as well.

There are client-looking definitions existing, often pronounced by consultants to describe gamification, for instance, the wide use techniques in the non-gaming business, solving real-life issues by game design framework.

In time, some studies have investigated playfulness as a sought-after UX concept. Although there is a sizable literature, there is no common definition for the state of playfulness: Seldom, there are associations like “pleasurable experience” or “fun”, or any work surpasses task concept. Considering this, a researcher proposed some norms “ludic design”, “ludic engagement” and “ludic activities”, explaining “activities motivated by curiosity, exploration, and reflection”. According to another description, gamification is mainly, a design method dedicated to enhance or reconstruct real-life scenarios.

In outlining gamification, a group of researchers asserts gamification summons the same experiences when we play games. Some researchers, in contrast, indicate that the elements used gamification identical to those in games.

In the last decade, gamification has appeared as a trend within various areas. Indeed, gamification is far from being a firsthand idea, there are prior implementations in marketing involving points badges and bonuses, grades, and degrees. The growth of gamification is made possible by a few uniting elements, involving technology becoming affordable, information availability, and the predominance of the games

  • Game studies can be included in the list, which remains to explain a methodically examined framework, which brings about immersive experiences, feeling of fun. Therefore, a more complicated interpretation of gamification is “behavioral management technique”. Alternatively, the gamification studies concentrate on the decisions, which are consolidated by a certain measure of consideration given to motivation and teachings extracted from game design.

In gamification, creating a particular outcome is the main intention such as increased learning, increased health. Gamification is closer to game design studies, rather than games as a concept as its motivational as well as behavior outcomes. This reasoning is the answer to understanding gamification studies.

Designing a game where the play is relevant is not fundamentally a goal of the designer. There is the case that, fun is not the core aspect of gamification; for example, some researchers asserted a user training activity can be improved by adding a narrative only. Cases like this, play is unnecessary.

Gamification may be characterized as a post-positivist concept of game studies that examines the different study methods, and matters applied to supplement existing real-world processes with game elements. A researcher, suggests a physical existence that is observed through subjective review.

It would be right to say, gamification can be classified as a discipline under game science. It also shares literature research and game factors toolkit with various other disciplines, however, it has uniqueness in focusing on the design of gamification systems for altering real-life without designing a “fully-fledged” game.

Moreover, the elements of gamification are not as magical as caused by complete games. Provided that, it is required to examine if progress bars affect a process, the people may be selected to experience progress bars or the nonexistence of progress bars and choose a meaningful outcome-based upon analytical tests regarding which test converged more into desired outcomes.

An additional description of the gamification system is an application, helps people to satisfy their needs, gives an order to their lives. In some examples, Gamification provides online health services to users and users are expected to nurture their health back faster by fulfilling systems.

Gamification as Game Design Methodology

The particular methods to alter the real-life process by adding game design elements to gamify are the primary aim of literature. The gameful design may be explained as the method of “designing for gamefulness, typically by using game design elements”

One of the methods of gamification is gameful design but is distinguished from the more general notion of gamification, involves the aim of designing for a target outcome, that creating a gameful activity, meanwhile, gamification may employ purpose.

For instance, when non-game processes enriched with progress bars cannot be considered gameful but employs gamification. This case is not appointed to perform the experiment in a gameful way. Alternately, this enables us to benefit from the motivational influences of progress bars to make the survey fulfillment behavior, differently.

Some studies criticized and found manipulative or immoral when there is no gamefulness in gamification design. In management field gamification systems, we see improved command over user behavior once we introduced points, badges and leaderboards which likely does not consist of gameful design.

A researcher reviewed the extent gamification literature into a structure that involves components. They are separated according to intend. The first is the game interface, which is interaction components. Stages, progress bars, competitive boards are examples of these cases. The second level basically game mechanics. The third level, game design principles that of gameplay and goals”.

Eventually, the most obscure one is the game design method, which involves, testing the gameplay and design that is centered on the gameplay. Choosing the fittest gamification method differs from case to case and no common agreement on for such design is held

  • a several were suggested. For instance, using the tiniest distinguishable factors in the user’s abilities is called skill atoms. This practice applies as, continuous feedback circle of skill atoms of which can involve game elements. Therefore, the goal of each step in the design process is to facilitate changes in and progress toward achieving the designated goal. In a contradiction, some researchers used a method
  • to introduce story, plot, scenario create levels in a real-life case to make it seem like a game. Once complexity in the real-life advances, the distinct area among the game and gamified system is more obscured. Lastly, we may say the structured type of play can be considered as games, however, the play is only a sub purpose of gamification.

Gamification sometimes doesn’t include play however, in the game literature, the terms game/play are used correspondently. It’s claimed that the unique form of play is called games under specific rules. There is an emphasis that play is associated with the player and so the game with rules.

Rather, users of gamified systems sometimes don’t play and it may be a no-rule game. So, a gamified system would not surely focus on play to accomplish the proposed result except, the goal is explicitly defined as play.