As a continuation of Pew Research Center’s series looking at the future of the Internet, whereby experts are asked “tension pair” questions, Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie completed a report to determine if the use of gamification will gain momentum between now and 2020. While some believe that gamification will be a short-lived trend, others believe that gamification has a long life ahead of it. Anderson and Rainie surveyed 1,021 technology stakeholders and critics to determine their thoughts and found that 53% mostly agreed with the statement that by 2020 there would be “significant advances in the adoption and use of gamification,” while 42% mostly agreed that by 2020 gamification “will not be implemented in most everyday digital activities for most people.”
The questions are phrased in such a way that the respondents are encouraged to elaborate on their selected answer, providing valuable insight into their view of gamification. The responses showed both support and resistance to the idea of gamification advancing and also touched on other issues such as the behavioral manipulation properties that gamification has.
Ross Rader, general manager at Hover and board member of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority observed, “Gamification may be the most important social and commercial development of the next fifty years.” Radar goes on to say, “Socially, gamified technology will evolve and humanize many of the artificial interactions we currently endure—check-in’s, like’s, shares, and their kin will all ‘just work’ and drive new waves of innovation in our technology.” Conversely, Sandra Braman, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an expert on information policy says that “for all of the reasons that critics of game theory have identified over the years regarding its inability to capture the full range of human motivations, perceptions, cognitions, and practices, I believe there will be efforts to gamify much of what we do, but that much of that will just come and go as fads.”
The report and responses include several different variations of the term gamification including: “game-style engagement,” “game-like approaches,” “game,” “serious game,” and “game mechanics,” indicating that the respondents may not have had the same concept in mind when responding. The results of the study and the responses may be best read with this in mind.