For the past years the gamification community has been using the term gamification defined as “the use of game-mechanics or game-elements in a non-game context” and that has brought a lot of confusion and discussion in the industry.

Primarily the main problem lies behind how words are written (those bastards at Webster!!). @Andrzej Marczewski puts it very clearly in his latest entry: 

Take the word beautify as an example. The Oxford dictionary defines that simply as  “make beautiful”. Whilst we are thinking of the word simply, it also defines simplify as “make simple”.

So, it stands to reason that the layperson would look at the word gamify and assume it means “make gameful” or just “make game-like” (as gameful isn’t really in common language still). And, as we are looking at this from the layperson perspective – I’m throwing in the word game as well, not just game-like!

Almost every time he writes something the industry kind of shakes a bit. At least it helps us all brush the dust on some things we take for granted and remember the basics.

Merriam Webster’s definition still stands like this:

The problem with this definition is that it leaves a lot of components to interpretation and complicates everything for experts, newbies, stake holders, customers, clients, participants, players and your dog if they ever heard the word.

The new proposed definition by @Andrzej is a lot simpler, easier to understand to anyone AND the most important thing, it works.

So I’m jumping on this boat and will update my current material accordingly as this is the result and evidence of years of work from hundreds of experts in the industry.

Gamification is the process of making something a game or game-like.


End of discussion. At least for another ten years I hope.