Department of Design

April 17th, 2013

Want to make people run? Don’t give them a badge for running. Give them a ball and shove four sticks in the ground. They’ll run around the field chasing the ball (and each other) for ages. The experience is intrinsically challenging and amusing, and the running is a by-product. Games rely on dynamics like these and rules to generate the conditions for positive engagement.


…The badges in and of themselves are meaningless. They’re only of value in the context of an activity that is intrinsically rewarding enough to make people want to participate in it. When an activity is designed well enough to be intrinsically rewarding, you can start assigning extra rewards like badges. These rewards gain endogenous value – a value that truly exists only within the context of the game.

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