The idea of turning a boring or difficult task into a game is not new, but under the term 'gamification', this notion is currently rapidly gaining interest. The backlash is also starting to gain momentum. In this timeline, I try to capture the rise of ideas, individuals, and products that seem to be driving (or fighting) the current growth of this technology sector.
Created by poinky on Jun 2, 2011
Last updated: 07/19/11 at 05:48 PM
Google News releases a system of badges, to reward users for reading articles related to particular topics.
In response to a Gabe Zichermann post on the O'Reilly blog, Kathy Sierra and Sebastian Deterding lay out the main problems with gamification as it is usually presented.
A confusing mess, mixing up social gaming, gamification, social responsibility and "social challenges". The most trumpeted result is " 55% of Americans said they were interested in working for a company that uses gamification to increase productivity. " However, it's not clear what respondents thought "gamification to increase productivity" meant.
Kathy Sierra elaborates on her gamification critique. "There is a world of difference between helping someone *appear* more awesome and helping them actually BE more awesome."
Sebastian Deterding puts the final nail in gamification's coffin. Games teach us how to deal with the hard parts of life, they are not something that should be used to hide reality. "Suffering is no a bug - it's a feature of life." The entire field of gamification is stopped dead in its tracks, all projects in-progress are halted, and no further work is begun.
Well, not really. Apparently not everybody got the word...
The goal of the workshop was to "...develop a shared understanding of existing approaches and findings around the gamification of information systems, and identify key synergies, opportunities, and questions for future research."
Organized by Sebastian Deterding
Ian Bogost argues for renaming gamification to "exploitationware".
Kathy Sierra comments on a post by Zichermann, criticizing his approach. " It is not just game devs who feel gamification is perhaps worse than snake oil because -- like slot machines-- it IS indeed based on psychological principles that manipulate people."
Jane McGonigal appears on "The Stream" to discuss how terrorists are using gamification to motivate and recruit followers.
Gartner predicts that by 2015, "more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes" and that " more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application."
Gabe Zicherman makes a remarkable statement, that perhaps lies at the core of many people's interest.
Gamification Day at the Serious Games Summit featured a keynote by Jane McGonigal and "The Grea Gamification Debate", including McGonigal, Jesse Schell, Ian Bogost and others. Panelists were against bad gamification.
Jane McGonigal talks about her book on the show "Science Friday"
McGonigal is interviewed on the Colbert report about her book "Reality is Broken"
The first gamification summit, organized by Gabe Zicherman, and included Jane McGonigal, Amy Jo Kim, Ian Bogost, Sebastian Deterding, among others, as speakers and panelists.
Jane McGonigal publishes "Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World"
When presenting her ideas, McGonigal attempts to distance herself from the term "gamification", preferring to use "gameful".
Gamify launches gamify.com and announce the Gamify Platform, a platform to drive user engagement through points, badges, and rewards.
Zichermann presents "Mastering Game Mechanics for Community Building"
Gamification company Badgeville launches a platform to drive user engagement through points, badges, and rewards.
Sebastian Deterding's presentation at Playful 2010, discussing how gamification's focus on rewards and points tends to remove elements of fun and playfulness. The first well-publicized and well-thought out critique of gamification.
Big Door announces Badge-o-matic, a platform to drive user engagement through points, badges, and rewards.
Jane McGonigal's Ignite presentation, describing the game she developed to recover from brain injury (leading to http://superbetter.org).
Gabe Zichermann publishes "Game-base marketing: inspire customer loyalty through rewards, challenges, and contests"
Evoke is an alternate reality game, created by Jane McGonigal for the World Bank Institute. "The goal of the social network game is to help empower people all over the world to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems."
Jesse Schell's "Design Outside the Box" presentation at DICE 2010 described psychological tricks used by Webkinz, Farmville, and the Wii, and outlined a feature where everything, including toothbrushing, is a game
Jane McGonigal's presentation on using games to change the world.
Byron Reeves and J. Leighton Read (of Seriosity) write about using virtual worlds and games to make work more interesting.
A Volkswagen ad campaign showing how people can be motivated to choose better behavior by adding a fun element.
Check-in at locations and earn badges
James Currier writes glowingly about using game mechanics for marketing : "And that might be the best part of it, is that as everything gamifies, we’re going to like it. It’s fun! " References Clay Shirky and Bret Terrill use of "gamification" term. Mentions that Gabe Zichermann uses the word "Funware".
Joel Spolsky announces the launch of Stack Overflow, a site for asking and answering questions about programming. With voting and reputation features, Stack Overflow is often cited as an example where an engaging core user experience is supported by game-like elements, instead of adding a "game-layer" to generate interest.
Jesse Schell publishes "The Art of Game Design - A Book of Lenses" an in-depth description of the game design process.
Reporting on the Social Games Summit, Brett Terrill (who would soon after join Zynga as Senior Director of Corporate Development), mentions how the "gameification of the web" was a hot topic of discussion.
Are there earlier references where gameification/gamification is used?
"Children of Flickr: Making the Massively Multiplayer Social Web" a panel discussing "sneaking fun into everyday online life"
Erik Bethke of Go Pets talked about using reward structures to motivate user behavior in virtual worlds, but also for exercise and other domains. One attendee summarized the talk with " Use points and leveling up to get people to do ANYTHING." (http://lsvp.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/applying-game-dynamics-to-virtual-worlds/)
"Bunchball, a Web services company dedicated to making websites more addictive, today announced the launch of its new Web Catalytics service, Nitro." Nitro is a platform to drive user engagement through points, badges, and rewards.
Chorewars uses MMO inspired mechanics to turn doing chores around the house into a game.
Seriosity and IBM release a report describing how MMOs like World of Warcraft help players develop leadership skills that can be applied in business settings.
Seriosity (http://seriosity.com) introduces Serios, a virtual currency for email management. Badges included.
Seriosity was founded in 2004, but this is the earliest reference to Attent I could find.
In this interview, Zichermann states that he gave his first presentation on gamification in 2006.
Nike+ shoes track runner statistics uploading them to a service where users review them, compete with others, and earn badges for specific achievements.
Blizzard announces that WoW has reached 6 million users, firmly establishing itself as the most popular MMORPG. The idea that games can lead to serious numbers is sparked.
Amy Jo Kim, Creative Director of Shuffle Brain, describes different game mechanics that can be applied to non-games:
Ludologist Jesper Juul's book on video game theory, discussing the nature of games and why they are enjoyable.
Raph Koster publishes "A Theory of Fun for Game Design", describing learning as the core element that makes games fun.
Surely not the first attempt to use games for learning, but let Carmen Sandiego represents the vast previous history of games in learning.
"You see, in every job that must be done there is an element of fun/You find the fun, and snap! The job's a game."