ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Funware? A Brief Explanation

Updated on December 28, 2011

Funware is a part of the gamification movement, which involves the use of video game mechanics in non-gaming contexts such as shopping, exercising, learning, volunteering, or even cleaning the bathroom.

In other words, something can be classified as funware if it makes an act more engaging and interesting by making it more like a game. Most common examples of funware utilize one or more of the following elements.

Funware is part of the broader gamification movement in that it comprises the basic tools that are used to turn everyday activities into games. Though funware has been around for ages, it is becoming more prevalent, and more companies and even governments are beginning to intentionally build it into their products, services, and marketing campaigns.

iCoolhunt uses levels and leaderboards to motivate players
iCoolhunt uses levels and leaderboards to motivate players

Weigh in!

Have you encountered funware before?

See results

Funware Staples

  • Points: Users can accrue points for activity- whether that involve clicking around a web app, completing a small task, or even spending money.
  • Badges / Achievements: To reward players for specific types of activity, be that checking in to a certain number of Starbucks locations or publishing a certain number of online articles, funware may create special badges or "achievements"- cute icons commemorating one's good gaming.
  • Levels: Players can motivate themselves and compete against others by vying to level up in a game- perhaps by evolving from a Rookie to an Observer, then Spotter, and then Guru on, one example of funware used for spotting trends.
  • Tangible rewards: Users may get actual prizes, such as free flights or points that can be redeemed for hotel stays or consumer products (this is very common with customer loyalty programs).
  • Social capital: Even without points, badges, levels, or tangible prizes, users can be motivated to engage with funware for the sheer prospect of accruing social capital (think more followers on Twitter or more likes on Facebook).
  • Leaderboards: The various rewards offered by funware would be meaningless if they were not prominently displayed and easy to track- hence leaderboards often play a very important role when it comes to keeping users motivated.
  • Challenges or tournaments: Users can be challenged (by the game or other players) to achieve certain milestones or complete certain tasks. This encourages more active participation, and can also encourage players to recruit new users. Funware developed on or with social platforms can also use challenges and tournaments to boost collaboration or competition amongst players.
  • A plot or mystery: Alternate reality games motivate players by presenting them with a story to uncover or a mystery to solve.

An Open Definition

The elements listed above are by no means required for something to be counted as funware. The term funware, after all, is an informal one, and it was only coined back in 2008. The definition and aspects of funware are therefore likely to change in the coming weeks, months, and years.

Funware can be as simple as the application of a song and some snapping to the act of cleaning a room (thanks, Mary Poppins). More elaborate iterations of funware are, however, more dependent on the concrete elements of game design listed above.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Guys you will not get any points for conitmemng now its closed now.. so now just get points by tweeting,+ing and visiting daily. this has been done to avoid spamming

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Good point! I'm adding that alt wording into the Hub :D

    • ezhang profile image

      Edward Zhang 

      7 years ago from Bay Area, CA

      Sometimes, instead of "badges" they are more commonly referred to as "achievements"



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)