Your world is being gamed, reports Nick Wingfield in the New York Times:
Congratulations. Reading the first paragraph of this article has earned you a badge.
If this made-up award makes you feel good about yourself, then you are on your way to understanding gamification, a business trend — some would say fad — that aims to infuse otherwise mundane activities with the excitement and instant feedback of video games.
Many businesses are using these game tricks to try to get people hooked on their products and services — and it is working, thanks to smartphones and the Internet.
Buying a cup of coffee? Foursquare, the social networking app that helped popularize the gamification idea, gives people virtual badges for checking in at a local cafe or restaurant.
Conserving energy? More than 75 utilities have begun using a service from a company called Opower that awards badges to customers when they reduce their energy consumption.