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posted by mrpg on Thursday January 20, @05:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the read-three-more-stories-to-earn-a-virtual-taco!-(redeem-via-IRC) dept.

How 'Gamification' of Everything Is Manipulating You (and How to Recognize It):

“Gamification” is the practice of adding game-like elements to non-game contexts. It isn’t new, nor it is always a negative, but it is being aimed at consumers and employees more and more frequently, whether to keep you addicted to an app, motivated at work, or inclined to spend your money on something.

[...] There’s nothing necessarily wrong with making consuming a product or doing a job “fun,” but when marketers and employers are hacking our pleasure centers in ways we don’t fully recognize, that’s manipulation, and that’s not really a game. Below are some of the tricks of the gamification trade, so you can spot it before it happens to you.

Behaviorists’ studies of rats and humans prove that both species are more motivated by intermittent, unpredictable rewards than anticipated ones. Rats will pull the lever more often if they sometimes get a food pellet than if they always get a food pellet, and gamblers would never play a slot machine that returned 89 cents every time they put in a dollar, even though that’s what will happen over time.

Some of the tricks are: Variable rewards and suspense, Manipulating our desire for progress, and Engagement and “streaks”.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Barenflimski on Thursday January 20, @06:26PM (2 children)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Thursday January 20, @06:26PM (#1214259)

    I find streaks absolutely annoying. I know they mean nothing. I understand why I shouldn't care one bit about them. But, for whatever reason, I like streaks. I have an ATT account I can't seem to bring myself to drop because they always tell me, "you've been a customer with us for 2 decades and are in our special club for people like you". And don't get me started on this /. software.

    I believe the "people like you part" for sure and know I'm one of them morons. I know I'm totally getting played. What is it about streaks!

    Maybe I need some streak-alin or oxy-nostreak pills.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @04:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @04:12AM (#1214456)

    Maybe some numbers on how much money you will save if you get rid of ATT can break that streak.

    ATT single line unlimited is $75/mo now. So, if you are not on some sort of family plan, you will save at least, $50 per month by switching away from ATT. $600 per year free money. 20 months and you can e.g., buy a macbook air with the savings. Or, better yet, just invest the savings and retire that much sooner.

    Visible (MVNO owned by Verizon) has unlimited voice, text, and real* unlimited data for $25/mo if you head over to [] (or mobile: [] ) and find a "party pay" group to join. There is no real tie to the group, you get your own separate bill, and you have no financial responsibility for others in the group. The group I use has several thousand members now (as long as there are at least 4 members, you get the $25/mo price).

    If you only need voice and text, you can find plans on other MVNO carriers for around $10/mo with enough data to use a map app / look up something once in a while. $15/mo can get you a few gigs of data/mo with unlimited voice and text.

    Using an MVNO may not work well in some areas, though.**

    * "real unlimited" meaning, no data cap and no throttling. Tethered traffic is throttled to 5Mb/s, but the detection is trivial to bypass. I get 75Mb/s down and 25Mb/s up when I tether.

    ** MVNO customer traffic is deprioritized by the real carrier (ATT, T-Mobile or Verizon) when the real carrier is congested-- e.g., Mint Mobile which uses T-Mobile towers was useless in my area due to frequent severe deprioritization). But, deprioritization on Visible hasn't been a problem here (yet?).

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by mcgrew on Saturday January 22, @01:10AM

    by mcgrew (701) <> on Saturday January 22, @01:10AM (#1214685) Homepage Journal

    I thought you streakers [] were only around in 1974?

    Free Martian whores! []