Gamification originally sought to take advantage of the fact that intrinsic, embedded rewards are more effective motivators than external ones. It has also become exceedingly common, but the widespread understanding and implementation of gamification seems to be focusing more and more on external rewards: fill up this boring form and get 5 Quipes. Perform these menial tasks, and get 20 more Quipes - and nothing else happens.
I have observed in myself 'gamification fatigue' - when the work remains uninteresting and meaningless (see Ariely et al. [PDF] for some interesting reading on 'meaning' and motivation) but now has some flashy game-like mechanism tacked onto it, the desire to earn points sustains me for a few minutes, but then I get tired and stop paying attention to it entirely. However, I still get the task at hand done.
I am interested in knowing if this is always the case. We know from other research that 'an expected external incentive such as money or prizes [can decrease] a person's intrinsic motivation to perform a task'. Gamification may also present other side-effects, such as slow progress (e.g. Codecademy's tutorials are terribly paced for non-beginners looking to get into a new language, as they tie learning syntax and learning programming concepts very tightly together.)
Is there any research on how users react to poorly designed gamification? Can gamification cause results that are worse than non-gamified tasks? Under what circumstances does the motivation to perform a task once again turn from intrinsic to external - it's obviously not a simple matter of overexposure, but what other factors are involved?
Further reading found upon a quick Google: http://www.slideshare.net/playfulwingmen/gamification-extrinsic-vs-intrinsic-rewards-17681228