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John Dodds

All too often gamification ignores the joyous more ephemeral aspects of games-play such as flow and interaction and focusses on those aspects that can be mechanised such as points and badges. The latter are not that interesting to people - they are place-holders designed to cover the tedium of what is being done.

Far better, as you suggest, to reduce the friction of the process and allow one to get to the challenging heart of the matter quicker.

David Hull

Although I agree with the premise that enterprise software is mostly boring, I have to disagree with your purported solution.

First, most games that people enjoy playing (and you can't throw out puzzle games, as those are games that people play) have little to no story at all. And I believe it is incorrect to argue that, for those games that do have a plot, the story is what keeps people engaged in gameplay. For some perhaps, but not all.

I think most workers that are responsible for repeating these daily boring tasks understand what they're doing, but even if you turned it into a work story, they would be bored to tears.

The more fundamental thing that keeps people playing games of any kind at all, not discounting any games, is the challenge and reward aspect. Story may enhance the "game", but is not required. This is what must be recreated to make enterprise software more engaging, and the theory of gamification is spot on in that regard, even if few implementations of this theory have it right yet.



allow me to expand on two things you mentioned:

"And you can't throw out puzzle games, as those are games that people play": Yes I think you should - if there is any purpose in gamification of enterprise software it's certainly that it should get the focus on "getting a job done" or create some value - and that is always, without exception, a process (as in steps of activities with a goal).
By definition a story is a process, i.e. only storydwelling would yield work results in the enterprise.
Gamification for pure entertainment would be nice and... ehh... entertaining, but for it's purpose of enhancing value creation, an utter waste.

The other part is about rewards: There are two types - intrinsic and extrinsic, the former works, the latter does not work (see Dan Pink for more).
Extrinsic are things like bonus, stars, likes and so forth - short term effect, mid to long term negative effect for knowledge workers.
Intrinsic are threefold - purpose, mastery and autonomy. Again, there is a clear case that without process (for games, story) those three would be unattainable.

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