8-3 | The Gameful World: Approaches, Issues, Applications

Book Review

The Gameful World: Approaches, Issues, Applications

Steffen P. Walz and Sebastian Deterding, eds.
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 2014. Introduction, index. 676 pp. $50.00 cloth. ISBN: 97810262028004

by Riccardo Fassone

First Paragraph:

According to the remarkably concise definition provided by Sebastian Deterding and his coauthors in a 2011 article, gamification is “the use of game design elements in nongame contexts.” Assigning points, badges, and rewards to loyal customers, monitoring one’s performance while jogging and comparing it with that of other joggers, and dividing one’s process of learning math or a foreign language into challenges are all classic applications of the precepts of gamification. Now that the pervasiveness of gamification as a ubiquitous buzzword—Gamify your business! Gamification for learning!—has started waning, it is possible to reconsider its applications and consequences with the due critical distance. The Gameful World, a hefty anthology edited by Steffen P. Walz and Sebastian Deterding, aims at discussing the process of the ludification of everyday life, culture, and work, of which gamification represents a notable epiphenomenon in the context of a scholarly debate that eschews hyperboles and sales pitches. Divided into three sections—approaches, issues, and applications—the book proposes a series of articles that explore specific themes and juxtaposes them with concise, often provocative, position statements that act as counterpoints.