9.5 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Gamification

“Gamification” is: hot, hyped, oversold, misunderstood, unavoidable, a buzzword, a question mark, a quick fix, a huge unfulfilled potential. In the past two years, the notion of infusing digital products and services with game elements to make them more engaging has been stirring up the digital industries. Multiple vendors have sprung up that sell gamification as a software service, and ‘gamification gurus’ are beginning to litter the online airwaves like ‘social media experts’ in years before. Are points and badges mere indulgences for the faithful flock looking for redemption in loyalty programs? Or is there something deeper underneath, something worth salvaging?

In nine (and a half) theses, this talk will walk you through the precursors and parallels of gameful design, question trends and definitions, point to open issues, and answer the question: What are we as researchers, designers and product managers to make of this?

Speaker Details

Sebastian Deterding is a researcher and designer working on playful and persuasive design and is usually flown in for some thorough German grumpiness. He is an affiliated member of the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research and PhD candidate at Hamburg University, where he currently finishes his PhD on the interaction of social contexts and technical artifacts in video game play. Before that, he was program manager multimedia at the Federal Agency for Civic Ecucation and user experience designer at Gruner+Jahr. His research focuses on the increasing regulation of human interaction by software – and what ramifications this holds for ethics, design, social and psychological processes. He publishes and speaks internationally at venues like CHI, Interactions, Games Learning Society, Lift, DiGRA, Google Tech Talks, or Web Directions, and currently hosts the Gamification Research Network. He lives online at http://codingconduct.cc.

Sebastian Deterding
Hamburg University
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Series: Microsoft Research Talks