A great annoyance to many game designers, the idea of “gamification” of websites is getting increasingly popular. It’s the idea of borrowing a foundation of game mechanics to motivate consumers to interact with content, to stick around and become loyal to the site – by giving the consumer (I almost wrote “player”) points or other rewards for doing so. It’s not only cynical, it’s a misunderstanding of what games are.
Raph Koster said it much better than I can hope to do, so I’m quoting him:
“When we train game designers, when we critique projects, and when we discuss what makes games compelling, we certainly do discuss feedback. But what we dwell on is the game systems, the core loop.”