Speaking at Gamerlab 2011 in Barcelona, MUD1 developer Richard Bartle had harsh words for the current state of social gaming: "The big thing about social games that they don't like to tell you, is they're not actually social. Games played on social network sites is what we mean by social games ... These games are categorized more by the platform than that they are social themselves. The way they engage their players is not through interesting gameplay, it's done through extrinsic rewards — basically bribes. ... The difference is, social games rely on the extrinsic rewards so as to be compelling. People keep playing the game because it keeps giving them things — rewards. This has led to gamification. In the hands of designers, this has a great deal of potential, but unfortunately it's not in the hands of designers, it's in the hands of marketers."
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