It's also a basic game design principle, said Kim, the Silicon Valley consultant.
"Games are about designing compelling experiences around the player's progress in their journey," said Kim, who has worked on games such as Rock Band and Ultima Online. "Actions and feedback loops are at the core of that."
Kim, however, cautions against seeing gamification as "magic pixie dust" that can fix flawed products.
"It's been jumped on as an easy solution," she said. "It's not."
Rewards attached to pointless tasks can become repetitive and boring. "In games, it's called the grind," said Carless.
Worse yet, some developers, including Kim, believe that point systems could have a detrimental effect. If designed poorly, people can view points as cheap manipulation, for example.
"Gamification is a totally absurd word," said Chris Hecker, an independent game designer who worked on Spore and other titles. "It's really just behavior modification. And it doesn't even work that well at that. When you reward people with gold stars for doing something, they tend to focus on the gold star and not the thing you are trying to get them to do."