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Gaming a System: Using Game Design Patterns to Motivate User Behaviour in Non-game Contexts

Gaming a System: Using Game Design Patterns to Motivate User Behaviour in Non-game Contexts

Playing video games is a highly engaging, intrinsically motivating activity. Researchers and practitioners alike have therefore suggested to apply game design to other software applications to afford a more intrinsically motivating user experience. All kinds of online activities, from computer-supported collaborative work to learning or user participation on online platforms could be made more motivating through such "gamification".


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Project Description

However, one of the major theoretical advances of recent game studies has been to understand "games" and "play" as not so much dependent on the designed artefact, but rather constituted by the social context or frame of the activity. Thus, the transfer of design elements from a playful game context into non-playful contexts such as learning or work might strongly affect the motivational affordance of such design elements.

Combining Human-Computer-Interaction, Game Studies and Media Psychology, and building on a methodological mix of interviews, participant observation, and experimental studies, this research project constructs an empirically grounded theory of the motivational affordances of game design patterns in non-game contexts.

Project Information


Duration: 2010-2011

Involved persons

Sebastian Deterding, M. A.

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person



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