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A Quick History of Gamification Vol.2
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A Quick History of Gamification Vol.2

So, as the timeline continues…if you missed Vol. 1, do check it out here. We track the movement from the inception of games to its evolution till 2005.


2008 – Gamification goes on record


In an article comprising of his time at the 2008 Gaming Summit, Bret Terrill is documented as using the term “gamification” for the first time:

“In conversations, one of the biggest topics … is the gamefication of the web. The basic idea is taking game mechanics and applying to other web properties to increase engagement.”

Sadly, for Bret, his spelling didn’t stick!

Also, this year:

Sony begins rewarding trophies for the PlayStation 3.


The 2010s


By 2010, gamification was receiving the identification it deserved! But things were about to get really exciting.


2010 – Gamification changes the world


Jane McGonigal addresses her groundbreaking TED Talk; Gaming Can Make a Better World, in which she foretells game-based heaven:

When I look forward to the next decade, I know two things for sure: that we can make any future we can imagine, and we can play any games we want, so I say: Let the world-changing games begin.”

This talk could very well be the defining importance in the antiquity of game-based learning.


2015 – Gamification and Millennials


Gallup research reveals startling trends in employee engagement. The study finds that only 31% of employees are involved with their work, and millennials are the most insignificantly engaged group (28.9%).

Millennials gaming 


2016 – Gamification Goes Viral! (and no one Realises)


Pokémon Go is one of the most thriving applications of game-based learning, with over 800 million downloads. People who would usually turn their nose up at badge collection were out patrolling the streets hunting for rare Pokémon’s!

Pokémon Go is one of the most prosperous apps of all time. It even broke records:

  • Highest-grossing app mobile game in its opening month
  • Most maximum downloads in its first month for a mobile game
  • Most global charts topped concurrently
  • Fastest course to gross 100 million

Also, this year: 

  • Snapchat introduced Streaks, advancing the world to a whole new gaming feature!


2017 – Gamification Advocates Face-off!


This was the year that Europe made a notable scene! For the first time, a number of passionate gamification advocates were getting together to share strategies and ideas.

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2018 – It’s Everywhere!


What makes 2018 stand out is that nearly all apps included gamification in some way or another. It is no longer just found on exercise apps and language learning, but on to-do lists, meditation, litter picking, job applications, wildlife spotting, … you name it. There’s a gamified application for it.

It’s much more challenging to recognise it these days. Not because there’s less of it – but because there’s just so darn much of it. Gamification is everywhere.

Future of Gamification

What’s even more interesting is it’s now got lots of different names, from engagement-focused experience to behavioural design.


Conclusion – Where are we now?


It’s been a wild wild ride, that’s for sure. To conclude, gamification dabs into the very essence of human nature, helping people in their lifelong quest for encouragement, adventure, and recognition.

Our brief history started off with the scouts – but it’s always been there.

The military gave out medals/badges and practiced a reward system for hundreds of years before the first scout embroidered a badge on his sleeve.

If you could jump inside a time machine and spin the date back to 500 BC, you’d almost certainly find Greek athletes ascending league tables and sophists scoring points against each other.

But what if you could spin the dial on the time machine forward? The fate of the industry is, obviously, shrouded in mystery.

It’s packed full of exciting ideas. Whilst some of it might appear distant, we guarantee you that these predictions are all closer than you could think.

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