Playful vs gameful user experience

Why are games important for user experience design?

Gamification was proved to be more of a buzzword than a real catalyst in enterprise software, that missed the distinction between play and game, misinterpreting the role of “motivation”. Nevertheless, game experience and game research have a lot to teach us, as designers, in understanding the human behaviour and this is what I would like to share.

We talk about video games, but there is a significant difference among play and game. As a UX designer I observed these two dimensions under the scope of game experience, in a way that gamification failed at interpreting them, and consider them as a great opportunity to use and design for these users with cognitive tools acquired already over video games.

This talk was given in the Gamescom Congress 2017

This talk collects recent statistics from the current market of video games to point out the presence of video games in everyday life and the importance of the Game Experience Design as a major influencer of UX. In that sense, why should UX be playful and gameful? It seeks among various definitions for the terms of playful and gameful, underlines the differentiation between gameful and gamified, so as not to be misinterpreted; then questions whether we should be talking about gameful OR playful UX and whether the first suggests the latter or not, so, when we should be talking about games and when about play. The article analyses the framework used in game design, identifies game mechanics as the proper tools for building games, discusses the use such mechanics in any application, since these are already part of the acquired experience.

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