Gartner redefines "Gamification"

The chances of having attended a talk on gamification and listening a quote from Gartner are 99% . That organization is responsible for painting a future where 50 % of companies will use gamification to innovate their processes and 80 % ofprojects will fail gamification in 2014 due to design problems.

On 4 April, Brian Burke (Analyst) published on the company blog that future failures could be foreseen due to a loosely definition of " gamification" and therefore they have given a new twist to this definition (no, they have not decided to call it “ludification” ):

"The use of game mechanics and design experience to digitally engage and motivate people to Achieve Their goals"

In case anyone is wondering , the latter definition , extracted from their IT Glossary was:

Gamification is the use of game mechanics to drive engagement in non -game business scenarios and to change behaviors in a target audience to Achieve business outcomes . Many types of games include game mechanics : such as points , challenges , leaderboards , rules and incentives That Make enjoyable game -play. These Applies Gamification to motivate the audience to higher and more meaningful levels of engagement. Humans are "hard -wired " to enjoy games and have a naturally tendency to interact more deeply in That activities are framed in a game construct .

I write this post two days after the release , and I'm not the first to react ( Herger , Rackwitz Marczewski and other have already answered). Dear reader, as an exercise , I'd like you to try to think what points of the definition that have been more criticized. Then read on.

Keeping the concept of "Game Mechanics" instead of "Game Elements" , ignoring the dynamics , balance or aesthetics elements whose importance had been stated by frameworks such as MDA.

The other option to maintain the “Game Mechanic” approach is that they have decided to include every other concept (feedback, balance, reward patterns…) within it, an inefficient decision especially when designing or when identifying the value that each element brings to the whole system.

Continue using points, medals and leaderboards as paradigmatic examples. Besides, as Herger or Rackwitz says in the comments of the post, those are mainly feedback elements (like the "wedges" in Trivial). With the huge number of innovative examples throughout the past three years, using PBL as examples of gamification instead of gifting, avatars, vanity items, powerups etc ... Is in my opinion a simplistic (and somewhat outdated , I venture to add) perspective.

I think Mr. Burke has to receive a deck of Marczewski’s or Manrique’s cards, to see the full potential of game elements.

Third point, the unnecessary inclusion of the "digital" term, excluding from the definition all activities not technology mediated and all the environments where technology is irrelevant, but not gamificatio). Burke himself , in a comment on his post, argues that if anything differentiates gamification today ,is the possibility to bring the power of PBL to lots of people through technology . Mr. Schell was right: The gamepocalypse has arrived.

Fourth, the exclusive emphasis on commitment and motivation as the ultimate goal of gamification. Again I don’t deny the value of gamification to “energize” users , but I don’t think that is the main value of it. Well-designed systems use gamification to make out surrounding reality more comprehensible, to make people achieve their goals because they are more effective at making decisions and at applying their skills, and not only because they are more motivated . Gamification works because it empowers (and not only motivate) the knowledge and skills of people.

In a nutshell, I don’t see the definition of Gartner as “bad” (Although, I’ve gutted it top to bottom). I think that with their emphasis on the “digital” thing, the firm is trying to narrow a definition of the term that meets their needs as a consultancy, technology and services company, rather than defining gamification with the intention of helping the discipline to take a qualitative leap forward .

Gartner has contributed a lot to the development of the discipline and its popularization. If they keep this definition... will it mean a loss of credibility within the professional community that uses gamification as a tool? I don’t think so.

But I get the feeling that, with this new revamped definition they are helping to fulfill their prediction of 80% of failures by bad design. Self-fulfilling prophecy?

As Indy's Guardian of the Holy Grail would say: When defining gamification, Gartner choose... poorly.