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From Points to Progression: A Scoping Review of Game Elements in Gamification Research with a Content Analysis of 280 Research Papers

Stuart Hallifax; Maximilian Altmeyer; Kristina Kölln; Maria Rauschenberger; Lennart E. Nacke
In: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (PACMHCI), Vol. 7, No. CHI PLAY, Pages 1-21, ACM, 2023.


We lack a shared and detailed understanding in gamification of what game elements are. To address this, we provide a scoping review of the last five years of gamification research, focusing primarily on how game elements have been applied and characterized. We retrieved the definitions of game elements from 280 research papers, conducted a content analysis, and identified their features. On the basis of this information, we provide responses regarding the frequently cited game elements, whether they are consistently characterized in the literature, and the frequently stated features of these elements. Our research has identified 15 game elements in the literature, with points, badges, and leaderboards being the most prevalent. As a first step toward clear definitions, we suggest a set of properties to characterize these game elements. The results of our review contribute to the formation of a consensus among gamification scholars about the application and definition of game elements.