In our daily lives, we do our shopping at the usual stores, buy a meal at our favourite fast food chain or visit our usual watering holes. We are rewarded by being loyal customers and we know when and how to get things at a cheaper price. Turning our attention online to social networking services like Facebook and LinkedIn, you’ll see the number of friends you have implicitly considered as a scoreboard, while the profile completion progress meter would look like feedback in the leveling process, all of which are game mechanics that tease our psychological urges. Casual games hosted on these platforms like Farmville and Mafia Wars are making us go back and play them every 30 minutes or so.
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