Kevin Slavin, co-founder of Area/Code (now Zynga New York) and Sebastian Deterding, UX designer, academic and gamification expert, both agree that Saatchi & Satchi S’ new study, “Engagement Unleashed: Gamification for Business, Brands, and Loyalty“, is plain and simply sloppy. “In a world filled with sloppy thinking, this ‘Gamification’ deck… is the sloppiest I’ve seen in a while,” says Slavin on his Tumblr feed.
The oft-quoted finding from the study is that “Most Americans Want Gamification at Work” (something we used in our own headline). Although the number is certainly growing, the percentage of American’s that have heard of gamification is minimal. Even more basic, Slavin finds that Saatchi and Saatchi and research firm, Ipsos, do not fully understand the categories of games, “There are simple errors in taxonomy, including the fact that “Gamification” is not “games”, and “Social Games” are not what 99% of people are playing on their tablets.” Kevin’s post outlines the finding that although most people play games at work, this does not correspond to the number of people that are excited to implement gamification solutions for innovation and communication.
It may all seem like a game, but Slavin identifies one of the reasons how communication around their products has been difficult, and more generally why businesses focusing on serious games and gamification have been slow going in the past,
For the first five years of Area/Code, we were working with agencies and brands and companies to develop games that built new forms of engagement. That was very difficult, because basically, no one had any idea what we were talking about, and we had to spend a lot of our time educating clients as to what games did, and can do.
Deterding clarifies these details in his footnotes where he goes through many of the questions from the study with a critical eye. Saatchi & Saatchi S’s study may have some important information, but as Deterding and Slavin point out, sloppy research may do more harm than good.