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The Dark Side of Gamification: How we should stop worrying and study also the negative impacts of bringing game design elements to everywhere

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st International GamiFIN Conference
Subtitle of host publicationPori, Finland, May 9-10. 2017
EditorsPauliina Tuomi, Arttu Perttula
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2017
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventGamiFin conference -
Duration: 9 May 2017 → …

Publication series

NameCEUR Workshop Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)1613-0073


ConferenceGamiFin conference
Period9/05/17 → …


There are always two sides to every story. This statement is true also for the most recent hype term gamification – i.e., bringing game design elements into non-game contexts – that has been used to improve users’ motivation and performance in various domains. Previous studies on gamification have mainly taken a positive approach towards the phenomenon and its implications. To depart from the existing research, this tertiary literature review assesses the negative effects of gamification (such as game addiction and ethical issues). The systematic literature review method is followed in collection of 22 literature studies published on gamification. The analysis of these secondary studies show that while several researchers acknowledge possible problems and consequences, there is a clear research gap in understanding the negative impacts of gamification. We categorize the presented negative implications to limiting and harmful issues. Finally, this study calls for further work assessing and defining the limitations and borders for the ethical use of game design elements in everyday life as well as for growing our understanding for harmful issues.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland