Game Research

Blog by the game research group

Expanding the magic circle – gamification as a marketplace icon

Mikolaj Dymek (2017): Expanding the magic circle – gamification as a marketplace icon, Consumption Markets & Culture

This article explores the gamification trend sweeping the globe promising increased engagement and motivation, in practically any industry, context and culture, based on a stratagem of “game design elements in non-game contexts,” which is its most quoted definition.

The rise of gamification as marketplace icon is examined and particularly claims that position gamification as the manifestation of a wider societal transformation into playful societies – a “ludic turn.” Many of these grandiose statements are the result of ahistoricity and ambiguity regarding the definition of gamification.

Based on game philosophy, game studies and gamification research this article posits gamification as an emergent perspective, as distinct conceptualisation, on the rule-driven organisation of sociotechnical management systems that reference “games.” Of particular importance is the role of rules.

Examples such as Frequent Flyer Programmes and Foursquare are analysed according to the player/consumer positions they bestow, which are explored from participatory, co-creational, critical and game philosophical perspectives.

Conclusively, a “gameful” perspective of rule-generated goal-oriented behaviour, or “playful” perspective of instinctive and limitless fun, shed two challenging perspectives on the interpretation of gamification in the marketplace.

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