Book: The Gameful World is Out

Nike+, Foursquare, Opower, Khan Academy: more and more products, services, and organizations are infused with elements from games and play. But what are the social ramifications of this “gameful world”? Can game design energize society to solve mankind’s challenges, or will algorithmic incentive systems become our new robot overlords?

The Gameful World, now available from The MIT Press, is the first volume convening the state of the art of research and thought on gamification and the ludification of culture.

Editors Steffen P. Walz and Sebastian Deterding have gathered more than fifty luminaries from academia and industry to examine the key challenges of gamification, including Ian Bogost, John M. Carroll, Bernie DeKoven, Bill Gaver, Jane McGonigal, Frank Lantz, Jesse Schell, Kevin Slavin, McKenzie Wark, and Eric Zimmerman.

Mixing systematic chapters with personal viewpoints and stories, The Gameful World breaks out

  • approaches to gamification and ludification, such as rhetorics, behaviorism, motivation, economics, or design;
  • issues they raise, like exploitation, control, privacy, or ethics;
  • application areas: the enterprise, health, sustainability, social media, education, politics, and the like.
In the words of Elizabeth F. Churchill, Director of User Experience at Google and Executive Vice President of ACM SIGCHI, The Gameful World is “the go-to volume” for the current debate around the promises and pitfalls of our ludic age.

“This volume embodies the spirit of debate around the highly contested areas of games, gamefulness, and gaming. With help from key thinkers in the field, the editors lay out central debates, case studies, ethical concerns, and dreamscapes for the future of this field. This is the go-to volume for rhetorics and debates on game mechanics in interaction programming. If you want to understand the potential and the pitfalls of what the editors call the ‘interpenetration of games and everyday life’, this an essential resource.”
—Elizabeth F. Churchill, Director of User Experience, Google; Executive Vice President, ACM SIGCHI

“Gamification, for better or worse, has taken the world by storm. Walz and Deterding have collected virtually everything important that has been said about it. Wide-ranging and incisive, the essays collected herein give us a deeper understanding of the very real possibilities inherent in using the many glories of games and fun and play.”
—Raph Koster, lead designer, Ultima Online; author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Learn more
Read the table of contentsintroduction, and first chapter, at The MIT Press’ site of the book.

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About the Editors
Steffen P. Walz is an Associate Professor and Director of the Games and Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEElab) in the School of Media and Communication at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and Director of RMIT’s GEElab Europe in Karlsruhe, Germany. Sebastian Deterding is Assistant Professor in the Game Design Program at Northeastern University, and associate at the international design agency Hubbub.

Hardcover | US$ 50.00 | £34.95 | ISBN: 9780262028004 | 688 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 82 b&w illus., 6 tables | January 2015

Contact us
For media requests and other questions to the editors, send an email to editors (at)


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