What Do You Have to Say about "Trophy Inflation" and "Gamification"?
An interesting e-mail from a reader/listener named Andrei Herasimchuk about what he calls “gamification”:
It’s a word and term that drives me nuts these days. I design software, and have done so for two decades now. Everyone is trying to add gamification features to their products these days in the tech industry. Think badges, achievements, and things normally found in a game like World of Warcraft. People in this industry lately seem to believe that these sorts of things drive engagement in their products. From everything I’ve seen, and from influences of your work, I’d assume what people really want to do is find ways to design incentives into products. Incentives versus Gamification? What works better?
Andrei (and I) would love to hear what you have to say on this question. I have a few superficial thoughts:
- For some years now, it has struck me that we’re in an age of severe trophy inflation, where mere participation in an event gets you a trophy or medal;
- That said, I (and my kids) like trophies as much as the next people, so when you’re on the receiving end of a relatively meaningless award, it still feels better than zero; additionally:
- Winning even a virtual medal, as silly as it seems, is still fun, at least for me, as experienced for instance on the very, very excellent World Golf Tour game; that said, I don’t know if I want such trinkets cluttering up a piece of financial or productivity software; and lastly:
- Who’s to say, per Andrei’s point, that “gamification” isn’t a perfectly legitimate form of incentive?
What say you?