In the tech world, the word “gamification” stands for the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment, such as websites and mobile applications.
Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.
Tubik Studio

It’s so much more fundamental than that.

So many UX designers clutter apps with badges, virtual currencies, etc. because they don’t understand that the app itself is the game.

A game is a form of structured play. Play is a voluntary experience that people pursue for the sake of having that experience. Structure is the set of rules, limitations, and win/lose conditions that push people to a goal.

Facebook is a game. Twitter is a game. Instagram is a game. Even ebay is a game.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram’s core mechanic is trading. You trade your attention for someone else’s content. The win condition is getting the most attention. You don’t have a leveling system, a plethora of different badges, or any of the other usual contrivances that designers employ in getting-things-done and fitness apps. You have interaction with *real* people. That interaction is constrained to viewing, liking, commenting, and sharing - and it works so much better than artificial challenges.

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