This article presents a critical examination of European policy in relation to gamification. We begin by describing how gamification “traveled” as an idea, evolving from controversial yet persuasive buzzword to legitimate policy priority. We then focus on how gamification was represented in Horizon 2020: the flagship European Research & Development program from 2014 to 2020, worth nearly €80 billion of funding. The article argues that the ethically problematic aspects of gamification were removed through a process of policy capture that involved its assimilation in an established European network of research and small and medium enterprise (SME) actors. This process of “ethical neutering” is also observable in the actual funding calls, where the problematic assumptions of gamification around agency and manipulation are made invisible through a superficial commitment to vague and ill-defined criteria of responsible research and innovation.
- discourse analysis
- Horizon 2020
- policy analysis
- responsible research and innovation