Can FarmVille make dealing with the IRS more fun?

Can FarmVille make dealing with the IRS more fun?

Summary: No, the government hasn't decided to give away badges or other rewards for paying taxes, but that's the example gamification guru Gabe Zichermann uses to describe the whole concept of using game mechanics to make everyday life more fun (even dreadful things like dealing with the IRS) in a recent radio interview.

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No, the government hasn't decided to give away badges or other rewards for paying taxes, but that's the example gamification guru Gabe Zichermann uses to describe the whole concept of using game mechanics to make everyday life more fun (even dreadful things like dealing with the IRS) in a recent radio interview.

Zichermann is making the rounds promoting his upcoming (and first-ever) Gamification Summit 2011 in San Francisco on January 20-22. The author of ‘Game-Based Marketing’ and other reps from Google, Microsoft and FarmVille-maker Zynga will be on hand to talk about how businesses can work on bettering their user engagement by turning their product into a sort of game.

The key to gamifying your business, Zichermann says, is SAPS -- status, access, power and stuff -- which are the four main things  people are looking for when they engage with a brand. Many companies have been doing this for years, such as airlines with their frequent flier programs, he says, which has managed to keep millions engaged with a “pretty low-quality product.”

Of course, gamification’s next big hurdle is figuring out how to create a more compelling game-like experience for customers, one that goes beyond handing out a bunch of random virtual badges. Zichermann agrees. “I’m really advocating that companies shift from giving away coupons and cheap giveaways like hats and T-shirts, to giving away more valuable long-term status benefits that connect the customer to the brand in a more long-term, meaningful and emotional way.”

Considering how emotional paying taxes can be, maybe there's something to the whole IRS and FarmVille idea after all.

Listen to the full radio interview here. For more information on the Gamification Summit 2011 visit gsummit.com.

Topics: Government, Travel Tech

Libe Goad

About Libe Goad

Texas native Libe Goad resides in New York City and has spent the past decade covering technology and video games for publications including Blender, PC Magazine, Bust, Seventeen and Sync.

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6 comments
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  • RE: Can FarmVille make dealing with the IRS more fun?

    This is a pretty cool concept. I know I tend to stay longer on sites or with companies that tend to offer points or things that are essentially useless, but make me feel better about what I'm doing. Simple, but effective.

    Ryan the <a href="http://www.externalharddriveworld.com">External Hard Drive</a> guy.
    Externalharddriveworld
  • RE: Can FarmVille make dealing with the IRS more fun?

    Gamification makes sense for businesses that are competing to gain and hold customers, but the IRS has a captive market. Why give rewards to do your taxes? They charge you penalties if you don't! You don't need a business degree to figure this one out folks...
    Scanjo
  • RE: Can FarmVille make dealing with the IRS more fun?

    "The key to gamifying your business, Zichermann says, is SAPS ? status, access, power and stuff."
    Funny thing is, that is what I usually call most of the individuals seeking those qualities, or Republicans...
    trust2112@...
  • &quot;using game mechanics to make everyday life more fun ...

    ... (even dreadful things like dealing with the IRS) "

    He MUST be kidding! Shall we so trivialize everything in life? Must all things be Pollyanna fluff?

    "Gamification" of taxation? If you love it so much, just send everything you have to the U.S. Treasury. They'll be happy to take it.

    For the rest of us, taxation is a burden, and it's not fun.
    oldbaritone
    • RE: Can FarmVille make dealing with the IRS more fun?

      @oldbaritone, I know, all those "burdensome" roads and snowplows and schools and libraries and police and firefighters and the military. Who needs all that? Give me my money!
      Stoshie
  • RE: Can FarmVille make dealing with the IRS more fun?

    Only if they can make them GO AWAY for ever. There is no need for the IRS to exist, unless your Filthy Rich and a Politician.
    james347