Corporate America has long exploited the persuasive elements of gamification to sell product. Now, Best Buy is taking the next step and placing virtual storefronts in “Cityville,” a game on Facebook by noted social game developer Zynga, makers of the popular “Farmville.” Apparently, Best Buy is also closing many of its physical locations as it moves its retail operations further online. Recently laid off by Best Buy? No worries. Con your friends into playing “Cityville” with you, and you just might earn enough Facebook credits to nab a flatscreen TV from Best Buy as a house-warming gift for your new cardboard box.
In all seriousness, though corporate gamification is disturbing, the positive upshot of all this is that games work to increase engagement, which is why we in higher ed should be figuring out how to make our pedagogy more game-like.