In a press release written in 2012, Gartner said by 2014,
“80% of current gamified systems will fail to meet business objectives primarily due to poor design.”
Verifying the 80% may be a bit difficult at this time, however, it’s pretty easy to come up with many examples of failed gamification. (Note: there also weren’t wildly successful ones.) How could it be that something so highly praised could fail so much? The problem is we’re choosing the wrong game mechanics to apply.
They don’t want to use the hard, strange, magical features of games. Instead, they want to use their easy, certain, boring aspects. Those are the gimmicks which can be leveraged into “monetizable APIs” and one-size-fits-all consulting workshops.
Adding points or badges will not make your product successful but this failure to produce results is not due to a failure in gamification–it’s a failure in understanding what gamifying a product means. In order to comprehensively understand gamification, we have to understand what makes a good game and pay attention to what the gaming industry can teach us.
The problem with applying game mechanics in a shallow way is, at the root of it, they cannot solve the problem of a lack of motivation. In order to sustain long-term user activity:
“When well done, gamification helps align our interests with the intrinsic motivations of our players, amplified with the mechanics and rewards that make the come in, bring friends, and keep coming back. Only by carefully unpacking consumer emotions and desires can we design something that really sticks.”
–Gamification by Design
↩︎  Dom Nicastro, “Gartner Sticks to its Failing Gamification Prediction”↗︎, 12/13/2012
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