There Be Dragons: Ten Potential Pitfalls of Gamification

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My talk at the 2011 Digital Shoreditch Gamification Workshop, May 4, 2011, London, UK.

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  • There Be Dragonsten potential pitfallsof gamificationSebastian Deterding (@dingstweets)Digital Shoreditch, London, May 4, 2011cbn
  • (Grumpy monster talk)
  • With unexplored territories ...
  • comes dangerous ground.
  • 7 3 10 8 9 4 6 2 5 1A (partial) map of troubles ahead
  • 1The Crap CrabAbuse is not a value proposition
  • 8 MillionFoursquare Accounts! But daily checkins/user dropped from 0,5 to 0,4 to 0,34 while growing from 2to 5 to 8 million accounts (foursquares own data, 2011).
  • Who knew?Foursquare has anengagement problem.
  • http://www.creative360.com/blog/2009/09/why-i-quit-playing-foursquare/
  • What we have learned from our users is that anygame aspect has to be, at least for finance, moreoriented toward some specific thing that you areworking toward: I want to buy a house or a car, take avacation, get out of debt ... Otherwise you have asystem of points with no levels or no end game. Aaron Patzer founder, mint.com (2010)
  • We give you points User Business value value You check inThe gamification battlefield** Courtesy Buster Benson, The Game always Wins
  • The marketing dictum that good marketingcannot compensate for a bad product ispatently turned upside down in the Funwareworld. Game mechanics and thepsychological conditions they exploit arepowerful tools that marketers can use, andtheyre a lot cheaper than cash in the longrun. Gabe Zichermann game-based marketing (2009)
  • Points and badges for loyalty you are so cheap! That one coupon and Im gone!An abusive relationship
  • Stack Overflow
  • You get answers & build reputation, we grow our platform User Business value valueThe gamification honeymoon
  • Playing field User Business value value OffStay in the playing field
  • What do users value?* Getting things done, easier Self-improvement Community recognition and belonging A sense of meaning and meaning Instrumental value, cash Fun and enjoyment Competence and achievement * A completely off-the cuff, non-comprehensive, non-scientific etc. pp. list
  • Getting things done, easier
  • Self-improvement
  • Community recognition & belonging
  • Would my non-geek friendbrag about this during dinnerwith colleagues?(The community status litmus test)
  • Sense of meaning and contribution
  • Imagine a world in whichevery single human being canfreely share in the sum of allknowledge. Thats ourcommitment. Wikimedia Foundation slogan
  • Cash, instrumental value
  • Fun and entertainment
  • The Feedback BlowfishRewards are not achievements 2
  • Score: 964,000,000,000,000 (You rock!)Earn 1,000,000,000,000 points
  • Fun is just another word for learning. Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)
  • Fun from games arises out of mastery.It arises out of comprehension. It is theact of solving puzzles that makes gamesfun. With games, learning is the drug. Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)
  • Clear goals ...
  • plus constraining rules ...
  • equals interesting challenges.
  • Plus constant, clear feedback ... http://www.ickr.com/photos/bodgerbrooks/1315419080
  • equals experiences of achievement.
  • Feedback without achievement
  • The Maelstorm of Misplaced ChallengeGetting in the way of efficiency 3
  • Ticket To receive ticket, steer point through maze
  • Ticket Level 2 To receive ticket, steer point through maze
  • The core challenge of e-mail? Maximum output? Error-free, polite, actionable? Prioritization? Quick answers? Checking less often? Inbox Zero?
  • Prioritization
  • Procrastination
  • The Trapped Sea of StalenessNo fresh content and challenge 4
  • 2010: 85Max. level 2008: 80 2007: 70 2004: 60 YearWorld of Warcraft Expansions
  • FrontierVille Seasonal Content vs. Quality and Variety
  • The Urobus of Unintended ConsequenceNeglecting side effects 5
  • Tumblarity vs. Quality and Variety
  • Mayor Maker
  • The Social Signal Sea SerpentIgnoring Context Meanings 6
  • Autonomy Leech and Value VampireThe hidden costs of extrinsic rewards 7
  • vs. Quality andthrough controlCurbing autonomy Variety
  • Devaluing the activity http://www.ickr.com/photos/courosa/4955407599/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • http://www.ickr.com/photos/courosa/4955407599/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • The Ice Shelves of IgnoranceNot knowing your users 8
  • FarmVille
  • Fallout 3
  • Fanlib.com, a cautionary tale
  • 9The Feature ShallowsNeglecting design process
  • Prototype & playtestVariety why vs. Quality and for how,
  • Analytics for where, how much
  • The Panacea PythonLooking for a quick-fix, one-size-fits-allwonder potion 10
  • At SCVNGR we like to jokethat with any seven gamedynamics you can get anyoneto do anything. Seth Priebatsch welcome to the decade of games (2010)
  • When do people do stuff?* ability (Skills, habits) Usability motivation behaviour (intrinsic, extrinsic) Game design(and other things)