Unethical Gamification: A Literature Review

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Gamification has become a mainstay approach in designing engaging systems, practices, and cultures across practically all walks of human life. However, as gamification mainly attempts to affect individual psychological states, motivations, attitudes, and behaviors, conscious consideration of ethical aspects, as well as underlying values and premises, is very much warranted. However, gamification research and practice have sprung up rather rapidly and myopically as boosted by the contemporary hype related to technology and games, which has led to the relative dismissal of ethical considerations in relation to gamification. In order to map these considerations and the current state of the discussion in gamification literature, we systematically reviewed research related to ethics, and particularly, possible identified and discussed harms of gamification. The corpus reveals that psychological distress, exploitation, lack of performance, and privacy issues are the most commonly contemplated possible harms, with different frequencies based on the game elements, types, and contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 56th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2023
EditorsTung X. Bui
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9981331-6-4
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventHawaii International Conference on System Sciences - Maui, Hawaii, United States
Duration: 3 Jan 20236 Jan 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
ISSN (Electronic)2572-6862


ConferenceHawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMaui, Hawaii


  • Game, Psychological distress, Persuasive technology, Ethics, Sustainability

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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