Removing Gamification: A Research Agenda

Katie Seaborn

The effect of removing gamification elements from interactive systems has been a long-standing question in gamification research. Early work and foundational theories raised concerns about the endurance of positive effects and the emergence of negative ones. Yet, nearly a decade later, no work to date has sought consensus on these matters. Here, I offer a rapid review on the state of the art and what is known about the impact of removing gamification. A small corpus of 8 papers published between 2012 and 2020 were found. Findings suggest a mix of positive and negative effects related to removing gamification. Significantly, insufficient reporting, methodological weaknesses, limited measures, and superficial interpretations of "negative" results prevent firm conclusions. I offer a research agenda towards better understanding the nature of gamification removal. I end with a call for empirical and theoretical work on illuminating the effects that may linger after systems are un-gamified.

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