Popularization of gamification

The psychologist Gabe Zukerman popularized gamification and contributed to the beginning of its application in all spheres of life. Under his leadership, the first Gamification Summit was held in New York in 2011. Also, he formulated a more precise definition of gamification.

Gamification is the process of using game mechanics and game thinking to solve non-game problems and to involve people in a process.

In parallel with badge-based gamification, books began to appear on the use of gaming approaches in games and business.

A good representative is the book Reality in Question by Jane McGonigal.

Jane McGonigal is an American game developer. However, she had no direct relation to gamification, and moreover, she denied her involvement in the industry when the word “gamification” was imposed on her.

Jane has been more of an ideologist in the history of gamification and the author of several well-known books that talk about games for self-motivation used in real life.

Gamification in Gartner hype chart

In 2011, research firm Gartner included gamification in its Emerging Technology Expectations Chart and issued a press release stating that by 2014, 70% of the Global 2000 companies would use gamification in at least one project.

But this did not happen. The article began to change the year when this percentage will be reached. By 2017, according to Gartner, the hype had gradually passed, and by 2018-2020, gamification in America had reached a "productivity plateau".

It became clear that gamification will not appear in every product. She has carved her niche. And the products, where only badges remained, sharply lost attention to themselves. Badgeification, both in the West and in Russia, has ceased to be popular.


In the same period, in 2012, the first course on gamification by Kevin Werbach, an American academic, businessman and writer, was released on the Coursera educational platform. For the period 2021, more than 350 thousand participants have already completed the course. 

2012 — 2013 The first Russian gamifiers.

Gamification Now!

Just at this time, I, Ilya Kurylev, begin to work as a consultant on gamification, as requests on this topic begin to grow after the successful launch of the LinguaLeo project. I was probably one of the first and until 2013 the only specialist in the field of gamification. I have a decade of experience in the gaming industry as a game designer and creative director.


At the same time, the first gamified corporate social network and the first competitor, the Gingerbread Agency, appear.

Gingerbread is an online service for organizing internal communications, motivational programs, idea management projects and other business processes in companies.

2014 — 2018 Rise of gamification in the West


Slowly, talks on the topic of gamification begin to increase at TED. We are talking about the fact that game mechanics are becoming the head of the world.

Yu-Kai Chou's "Headless Gamification Platform will change the world"

In the West, gamification is fixed mainly on products for a mass audience: in all fitness products and services, almost everywhere in the field of learning English.


One of the most famous global projects with gamification in the field of learning is the service for learning foreign languages ​​"Duolingo”.

It was launched back in 2011 and covered the same idea as LinguaLeo: a character (brand mascot), progress visualization, levelling, etc. As of December 2020, the Duolingo app has been downloaded over 500 million times.