Behavioral product strategist and gamification designer. This is my public hypertext notebook, sharing my thinking in motion at various stages of development.


Lazy gamification

Lazy gamification is what happens when you slap a relatively homogenous configuration of points, badges, and leaderboards onto a heterogenous set of problems. This is done without thinking about where, why, and how those interventions work to influence user behavior given the parameters of the who the users are and important contextual factors.

It's a common trap to think about game mechanics as motivators. I prefer to instead think about them as Think about mechanics as facilitators.

Gamification is not one monolithic thing, and yet I often hear people strawman all of gamification as lazy gamification. However, there's so much homogeneity in gamification that I can't really fault them. It deserves its fate.

Sometimes, I feel as though I'm a "gamification apologist," but I'm not defending the lazy gamification that people are attacking. I'm defending the first principles of game design as a lens for studying and influencing behavior.

I want a new term that more accurately captures what I'm referring to than gamification, because gamification's meaning has been co-opted by lazy gamification in the Foursquare genre. Anyone have any ideas?