On the Gamification of Apps and Strongly-Worded Opinions

Ben Brooks:

It’s that thing where an app developer thinks it would be really neat to make parts of their non-game app into a game. I hate it, and I think it’s bullshit.


And it makes the software developer look like a dick.

It’s time to put an end to this.

And Dave Caolo:

Ben is understandably frustrated with the practice. It’s silly at best and manipulative at worst. I don’t understand why it makes him so angry. His short, 209-word post contains “dick” twice, “hate” twice and “bullshit” once. Then it ends with what seems like a virtual call to arms.

I agree with Dave that Ben laid it on a little thick. I know that’s kind of Ben’s deal on his site, and I respect that, but name calling is kinda lame. The guys at Realmac are all super, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know a couple of them since meeting at Macworld.

They don’t seem like dicks to me.

Ben’s choice of words aside, I don’t think the addition of “secret” UI themes in Clear is a bad thing. The app itself — its gestures, etc. — are playful and light. The “gamification” doesn’t get in the way of using the app, and the “awards” don’t add any functionality. It simply adds new free themes.

What’s so wrong with that?