Gamification offers a framework to improve our non-virtual lives.

The hierarchy of airline passengers used to be simple dichotomy. You either flew first-class, or you didn’t. Book a standard flight on Delta Airlines today, though, and you’ll notice a new option. For just $9 extra, you can upgrade your seat to “Economy Comfort.” The advantages are many: priority boarding, fifty percent more seat recline, four inches more legroom. And with space at a premium and fuel costs surging, airlines are looking for any advantage they can offer.

So you plunk down into your seat, pull out your tablet, and fire up a round of Clash of Clans. Invaders are gathering to the north. You commence building a new barracks to strengthen your defenses. The construction will finish … in twelve hours. You spot an aggressive clan on the outskirts of your map. There’s no time. You pay $1 to speed up construction and successfully defend your village. Then you recline, fifty percent more than those suckers behind you, and realize your real-world comfort and in-game success both came from the same source: microtransactions.

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