Gamification is evolving: Here’s how to keep up

Insert Coin
4 min readDec 13, 2021


Greatness comes from humble beginnings

In this blog post you will learn what Gamification 3.0 is, why it matters to us, and why it will be important for companies and people around the globe for many years to come.

The first decade of gamification has been insightful. Since 2009 there has been immense growth both regarding business and academia. In 2017 the gamification scholars Lennart Nacke and Sebastian Deterding divided the decade into the first and the second gamification wave. From 2010 to 2015, the first wave of gamification was still unified by what gamification is and why we need it.

Experimentation and exploration

Working in the business and industry of gamification, we can term this period as Gamification 1.0. In a retrospect business perspective, Gamification 1.0 was, to be honest, opportunistic and chaotic.

It consisted of hype-curves, gurus and more or less serious consultancy companies that had “unlocked the secret of user engagement ”by “utilizing the power of games”. In the end, it often involved adding simple game mechanics like points, badges and leaderboards to a webpage or smartphone application.

Simply put, more like throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, while putting the label of games and gamification as a sticker on top.

Reaching maturity

By 2015, there had been a maturing of gamification, which Nacke and Deterding describe as a second wave. Scholars had started to ask differentiated questions concerning how, when and how and when not to gamify.

We condense this period as Gamification 2.0, which acknowledges the gamification industry starting to establish itself more properly due to sober benchmarking, ethics discussions, and agreed-upon design processes.

But most important, a commencing recognition from various sectors that gamification was not just something to ignore but a force to be reckoned with. Following the five-year cycle, this decade commences a new wave of Gamification, leading us to the raison d’être for Insert Coin’s upcoming Gamification Report.

The next step: Gamification 3.0

Insert Coin is currently collaborating with international experts in multiple scientific fields and industries connected to gamification, in writing what we call “Gamification Report 2021”.

In the report, we will focus on the current state of gamification research, trends we see in the industry, and also what possibilities and challenges the future holds. Here are some work in progress headlines — as a teaser on what you might expect from the report:

  • The end of consulting projects and start of scalable solutions
  • Adam Palmquist, PhDc at University of Gothenburg and Chief Science Officer at Insert Coin.
  • Why we need better and more scalable solutions to truly make gamification easier and more economically viable for companies both big and small.
  • Gamification as a chance for sustainability in companies
  • By Jeanine Krath, PhDc at Institute of Management and ZIFET of the University of Koblenz-Landau
  • “…sustainable employee behaviour through games and gamification is gaining momentum. Inspired by other game-based apps for behaviour change, such as fitness or nutrition apps, a current research project at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, is investigating the design and effects of a gamified smartphone app for sustainability in the workplace.”
  • The future of XR and gamification in Industry 5.0
  • By Fabrizio Palmas, XR researcher, author, and CTO, Creative & Technical Director at straightlabs GmbH & Co.
  • “Considering society as the collective contribution of human beings, it is clear that it is our responsibility to find a way to realize its potential by educating and empowering people with lifelong learning… Our latest research has explored two up-and-coming gamification and game-related trends: extended Reality (xR) Training and Adverlearning.”

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Insert Coin

Insert Coin AB is a Scandinavian company offering Gamification as a service (GaaS) and knowledge sharing in collaboration with scientific research projects.