Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Brief History of Gamification: Part III - The Definitions

The third part of The Brief History of Gamification is here, following A Brief History of Gamification: Part I - The Origin and A Brief History of Gamification: Part II - The Name. I invite others to contribute (with comments to the post) if something is missing and to correct what may be wrong or incomplete.

This third post is about the definition of the concept that became known as gamification. There are probably as many definitions for gamification as people writing about it. Gamification definitions have been proposed since the word appeared in 2010. Some of them were listed previously in this blog in a post where 23 definitions were listed. Those definitions were found in web logs, technical reports and academic papers. Some of them are redundant or very similar to each other. 

Here are some of those definitions and a few more recent ones:
  • “The notion that gaming mechanics can be applied to routine activities” (Johnson et al., 2014);
  •  “The use of game mechanics and rewards in non-game setting to increase user engagement and drive desired user behaviors” (Duggan and Shoup, 2013);
  • “Implementing design concepts from games, loyalty programs, and behavior economics to drive user engagement” (Zichermann and Linder, 2013);
  • “The use of game elements and game-design techniques in non-game contexts” (Werbach and Hunter, 2012);
  •  “The application of game metaphors to real life tasks to influence behaviour, improve motivation and enhance engagement” (Marczewski, 2012); 
  • “Using game techniques to make activities more engaging and fun” (Kim, 2011); 
  • “The use of game attributes to drive game-like player behavior in a non-game 
context” (Wu, 2011); 
  • “Taking game mechanics and applying to other web properties to increase engagement” (Terrill, 2008);

Other definitions from the academia are:
  •  “Incorporating game elements into a non-gaming software application to increase user experience and engagement” (Domínguez et al., 2013);
  • “A form of service packaging where a core service is enhanced by a rules-based service system that provides feedback and interaction mechanisms to the user with an aim to facilitate and support the users’ overall value creation” (Huotari and Hamari, 2011);
  • “The use of game mechanics, dynamics, and frameworks to promote desired behaviors” (Lee and Hammer, 2011);
  • “The use of game design elements in non-game contexts” (Deterding et al., 2011).
This shows that there is no consensus for a single and widely accepted definition for gamification (Werbach and Hunter, 2012). The first known definition in an academic paper is the one from Huotari and Hamari. In spite of all these different proposals, the definition that is more often found in academic papers is the one from Deterding et al. (2011). This definition is now widely used as the academic definition for the concept of gamification.

The definition from Domínguez et al. refers to non-gaming educative contexts. To conclude, some more definitions regardind education and training contexts:
  • “The adition of elements commonly associated with games (e.g. game mechanics) to an educational or training program in order to make the learning process more engaging” (Landers and Callan, 2011); 
  • “Using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems” (Kapp, 2012); 
  • “Simple gameplay to support productive interaction for expected types of learners and instructors” (Rughinis, 2013); 

See also:

A Brief History of Gamification: Part I - The Origin

A Brief History of Gamification: Part II - The Name

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., and Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining ”gamification". In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, MindTrek ’11, pages 9–15, New York, NY, USA. ACM.
 Domínguez, A., Saenz-de Navarrete, J., de Marcos, L., Fernández-Sanz, L., Pagés, C., and Martínez-Herráiz, J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers and Education, 63(0):380–392. 
Duggan, C. and Shoup, K. (2013). Business Gamification for Dummies. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.  
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Technical report, Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. 
Huotari, K. and Hamari, J. (2011). Gamification: from the perspective of service marketing. In Proc. CHI 2011 Workshop Gamification. 
Landers, R. and Callan, R. (2011). Casual social games as serious games: The psychology of gamification in undergraduate education and employee training. Serious Games and Edutainment Applications.
Lee, J. and Hammer, J. (2011). Gamification in education: What, how, why bother? Academic Exchange Quarterly, 15(2):2.
Marczewski, A. (2012). Gamification: A Simple Introduction. Marczewski, A.
Rughinis, R. (2013). Gamification for productive interaction reading and working with the gamification debate in education. In Proceedings of the Information Systems and Technologies (CISTI), 8th Iberian Conference on Information Systems and Technologies.
Terrill, B. (2008). My coverage of lobby of the social gaming summit   
Werbach, K. and Hunter, D. (2012). For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business. Wharton Digital Press. 
Wu, M. (2011). What is gamification, really? [web log message] 
Zichermann, G. and Linder, J. (2013). The Gamification Revolution. McGraw-Hill Education. 


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