Gammify: the 21 Century Name of the Game

Gamification of Fitness
Physiologically speaking, there are 2 classic ways to lose weight: food intake reduction or/and burning off calories. Wii Fit and its gamification ploys seem to represent a third one, according to L, an anti-fitness acquaintance. Ever since I know her, L could never stick to a fitness routine. She’s always had something to say about the fitness instructor ‘who did not like her’ at the gym, to justify her giving up or she used to say that she felt like in the chamber of torture. [I don’t blame her. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I am not a fan of starvation or torture myself, and the ‘physical’ solution is only one part of the answer. Not only TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) but also TLC (Tender (self) Love and Care, for example) are called for for weightloss] Lo and behold at our next encounter: I’d swear she’d lost 20 pounds.
L bought a Wii Fit and only too eager to tell me about her success, swore by the weight tracker and fitness coach “balance board,” which measures ‘players’’ movement, and the vast array of activities–from running to push-ups to yoga : an all-in-one fitness club just for her, from the comfort of her home. It’s only when she talked fondly (almost teary) of her virtual instructor, though, that the power of gamification applied to fitness appeared to me both in its promising and worrying light. ‘No more put downs by insensitive fitness instructors, no more shame’ she said. She seemed in control though: ‘I did not like the voice of the man so I took the woman” or something like that. She’d obviously lightened up about fitness and it made all the difference for her, ready to tackle new challenges.

Apparently, she’s not the only one to have benefited from the gamification of fitness. Sure, this mode is more engaging and fun with the taking up of challenges, rather than doing boring repetitions…in bad company. Research on the gamification of fitness shows that gamification in this area may represent hope in the breaking of the (especially American) obesity epidemic. The next health revolution?

The 3 Fs: Feedback, Friends, Fun

Keynote Gabe Zichermann at TNW 2012

<>There seems to be far more to gamification than just infantile badges and points collection, friending or unfriending on Facebook.  Gammification may contribute to create a better world,[ a lighter one in every way, at least] as Gabe zichermann attempts to show with many examples, in the above video, like writing for free for CNN, to have the privilege of having one’s article in the front page (status and credibility perk) . This gamification expert resumes the emotional appeal of gamification, among others, through the 3 Fs: Feedback, Friends and Fun [his bad language could make you think that he means something else], an experience quite familiar to bloggers, for example, and successful given the huge number of blogs out there on the blogosphere.  In this keynote, in 30 something minutes, you get a pretty good idea about gamification and the marketing power it has to design powerful emotional experiences for consumers.

The Gamification Revolution

Of course, as shown above, gamification is not limited to the health and fitness industry but indeed now pervades all the industries: social media (ex: blogging), education (ex: Coursera), sportswear (ex: Nike), environment (ex: recycling), entertainment (ex: gaming), meteorology etc…  ; at institutions, organizations, schools for sure, and one can even find application of its concepts in seemingly unlikely institutions (prisons ), the sky is the limit. The last 10 years or so, businesses are undergoing a gamification revolution and experts and courses proliferate.

‘Sight’: Gamification Dystopia

There is no question that gamification, though a fairly young marketing/business practice, is the name of the game nowadays. With our world going increasingly virtual and digital, with 100s of apps created everyday, it is no wonder that artists/creatives question this pervasive practice.  “Sight”, by Daniel Lazo and Eran May-Raz ,from Bezalel Israel Academy of Arts, is one short film that shows the dehumanization process created by gamification, through glass-apps pervading everyday habits (food, entertainment,dating etc..) ) and how human relationships (represented by a dating situation in the film) become the arena of calculation, manipulation, totally devoid of spontaneity, warmth and, paradoxically, emotions, what it was supposed to enhance. Quite chilling.

Like with any innovation, it is in the hands of innovators, entrepreneurs, business owners, policy makers etc  to reflect on gamification practices, make sure they are as ethical as can be for consumers, and even choose to limit their fantasy, their imagination…their greed, for the advancement of the greatest good, for genuinely creating a better world.

Gammify: First world’s Gamification Championship

Gammify Official Trailer at

For the meantime, we are still quite far from the scenario displayed in “sight” and innovators are invited to join the Inaugural Gamification World Championships in San Francisco, starting 1st September 2013. So innovators/ students, if you’re serious about gamification, the ‘perks’ are not bad ($25,000 cash prize for the winner; World’s Top 16 Finalists will be flown to San Francisco), besides having the privilege to compete in front of a prestigious panel of judges in this field (like Mario Herger, Yu-Kai Chou and Marigo Raftopolous).

You can find further information and register at:

Media & Sponsorship EnquiriesMr John Persico Global Lead Organiser

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