Do a Google or YouTube search on Gamification and you will hear many people talking about how its the way of the future for products and services.
The gist is that FarmVille, Groupon, Coupons, Air Miles and even capitalism itself is just a game. We should treat more products and services as a game. Use game design theory to add a carrot and stick to more products and services and then profit by better controlling consumer behavior.
Recently I met someone who told me that the health care industry is going to take this very seriously. Others are jumping on the trend.
I propose that this is a bad idea that will result in small gains, then ultimately suffocate itself.
Essentially people will start laying rules on existing products. The layers will get thicker and thicker. Certain consumers will become very involved in trying to ‘win’ at buying ice cream, airline flights, sandwiches, etc. Others will find ways of ‘gaming’ the system and unintended or unexpected consumer behavior will start to emerge. Local maximums will be discovered by companies that have A-B tested their product game.
Other people will become very overwhelmed with the rules and added complexity to their already complicated life.
Disillusionment will hit the people who have wandered into these mazes. Finally a company will make a simple product with a simple agreement with the consumer. “Our product costs 5$” People will love it. After all, most people like paying for a product they love if they can understand it and know that it add value to their life. No games required.