4 Intriguing Differences Between Gamification and Serious Gaming

Learn more about the key differences between Gamification and Serious gaming and how fun they can be. Visit eVULX International for more solutions.

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So you’ve read (and seen) all the buzz around gamification and serious games, particularly in the learning and development world. It’s all great regarding recognition, but what are the differences between gamification and serious gaming? Maybe you ask yourself: “What’s the difference?” or “Can these be combined?”


Gamification and serious gaming


Four key differences between Gamification and Serious Gaming

Gamification and serious games have four key differences.    

  1. Gamification uses game elements to motivate people to engage in behaviours they would not otherwise engage in; In contrast, serious games are designed to teach and train people.
  2. Gamification is an approach that applies game-thinking techniques and mechanics to non-game contexts, while serious games use game elearning purposes.
  3. While gamification aims to improve engagement with a particular product or service by adding gaming and learning elements, serious games aim to educate or train players about a specific topic with no reference to the company’s products or services (e.g., educational software etc.)
  4. Serious games generally don’t offer any rewards. In contrast, the reward system is one of the essential components of Gamification as it motivates players’ engagement with online learning games content by providing feedback on their performance.


Now that we understand the key differences let’s dig deeper into abstract differences.



If you’re trying to accomplish a specific goal, gamification can help you get there. If you want to learn a skill, serious games are the way to go.

Gamification motivates people and encourages them to achieve goals they might not have thought possible. Gamification uses game activation keys mechanics as part of its design process to keep users engaged and driving towards their goals. 

Serious games are designed to teach skills or concepts through an immersive environment—not just by giving instructions or directions like with gamified products. Serious games are often used in education settings and other situations where learning is crucial.



Gamification is a tool for achieving a specific outcome. Serious gaming is also a tool for achieving a particular outcome, but it’s not necessarily the same. 

For example, the result you might be trying to achieve with gamification could be anything from increasing sales of your product or service to improving customer service satisfaction or motivating employees in your company by rewarding them with points they can redeem for rewards like coffee mugs or gift cards. These all fall under “rewarding behavior” as an outcome that could be accomplished using gamification tools. At the same time, serious games are explicitly designed to teach players about real-world situations and scenarios.


3.Purpose and Use

What do you use gamification for?

Gamification is often used to entertain and/or market, while serious games are designed to educate or train. Let’s look at some examples:

  • If your company has a loyalty program that rewards customers who purchase certain products by giving them the point they can redeem for discounts on future purchases, this is gamification. This initiative aims to incentivize customers to keep buying from you so that the company can continue earning revenue from their investments.



  • This is serious gaming if your company uses computer simulations to teach new employees how to perform tasks like repairing equipment or responding during an emergency. The purpose of this initiative is for employees to be trained via simulation exercises to know what needs to be done and how best to do it themselves when faced with real-world situations.


Related Article: How does Gamification affect motivation?


4.Learning Approach

Gamification is about learning through play. Serious games are about learning through purpose

Gamification is about intrinsic motivation, while serious games rely on extrinsic motivation—but these aren’t hard and fast rules! Gamification is about learning through fun. Serious games are about learning through impact.



Hopefully, we have shed some light on the differences between gamification and serious gaming and why they approach learning differently. Gamification focuses more on engagement and encouraging users to participate, while serious games are a training platform to improve proficiency, cognitive skills, and performance. While games and gamification all lie under the same umbrella, there are different yet valuable ways to conquer both of them!

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