Gamification is using game design to make otherwise mundane tasks fun. Imagine you’re a worker in a warehouse and you have to pick and sort an endless list of packages into bins and you have to do it really quickly. All day. It could be a boring hellscape of menial labor, or with the right game incentives, it could be a delightful multiplayer contest. That’s what companies like Amazon hope they can do by gamifying their work processes.
The Washington Post reports that Amazon has started testing the concept at a few of its distribution centers. Workers in a select few warehouses can play an handful of internally developed videogames on their handheld work systems that foster productivity with things like high scores, achievement badges, and multiplayer leaderboards. Titles like PicksInSpace and MissionRacer may not sound like a good time, but research has shown that even rudimentary gamification can increase worker morale and performance. Players of Cookie Clicker can attest to this.
Representatives from Amazon say the games are strictly voluntary, and they do not track participants’ performance in the games, but they do measure and rate their workers’ normal productivity. Imagine the monkey’s paw scenario of your boss trying to make your daily tasks more “fun” via something like Bad Rats or Superman 64. Electric dreams can come true!