The recognition of gamification is growing, and growing quickly. The question is, is it growing too fast? According to Gartner, the movement is somewhere near the top of the hype cycle, which means that there still needs to be some disillusionment before gamification enters its productive phase. MIT’s Technology Review today released an interview with Yahoo researcher, Judd Antin, who looks at what it will take to cut through the hype and uncover the true value of gamification.
In the interview, Antin looks primarily at gamification of the enterprise. Adding game mechanics to business cylces has been gaining a lot of traction lately with enterprise software heavy-hitters such as Salesforce and Jive recently adding gamification features to their popular business platforms. Antin finds that with these systems “you’ll motivate some people, you’ll demotivate other people, and for a third group there’ll be no effect at all… [Gamification] is a promising way of motivating people to collaborate more, and what we need is to have a more nuanced view of it.”
This finding may be pretty straightforward, but some evangelists still claim that gamification is a silver bullet that can raise metrics across the board. Antin has published articles looking at badges in social media and the different motivations of the Wikipedia community. In his conclusions, he finds that there is a range of perceptions of online collaborations tools, and they are not necessarily positive.
He does cite the success of a community badge in Wikipedia, but you will have to read the full interview on MIT’s Technology Review to find out the details.