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Fitness as a game…

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…makes sense, since most training activities are centered around a game of one sort or another.  Engadget reported today that Nike is extending the Nike+ brand to gamify training, in this case: basketball.  Several tangible components are measured during training, but some abstract concepts (hustle!), as well as “for-fun” activities (dunking!!) are shown as well.  These applications are tied to the sale of shoes, which is a great cross promotional endeavor (think: Microsoft selling PC’s to extend sales of Windows, Office, etc.).

I think that gamification has a strong future for enticing adoption.  There are pundits out there who are not as enamored with the concept.  But contrary opinion doesn’t address the fact that gamification can increase adoption and, through providing palpable, immediate achievement to the task at hand.  People seem to thrive on achievement, and even contemporary workplace project management ideologies champion the approach of manageable slices of work with clear goals and a consistent, measurable definition of completion.  Why, then, can’t everyday activities be like that?

Measurable results certainly help in achieving a goal, since they drive the user to push towards a predefined criteria.  While it is true that a fair degree of buzz and marketing traction has made the concept of gamification in any endeavor more widespread and noteworthy, the concept is effective.  Tom Robbins said, in Still Life With a Woodpecker:

We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.

Isn’t gamification just one way to do just that?