Foursquare to Bring Back Gamification to Platform

Foursquare’s Swarm was the greatest thing to happen to Yelp.

Foursquare was an app that would track where you were going via check-ins, let you create lists of places you would like to go to, and see where your friends have been.

It would unlock badges, including my infamous “Mile High Club” badge that got sent out to my work contacts.

It’d also run competitions among you and your friends.  Who has been to the most airports and bars?

And I loved that!  It would keep track of where I was too, so when I insisted I wasn’t at the Denver airport before, Foursquare corrected me.

And then they decided to re-engineer Foursquare and split the discovery part off from the check-ins, and kill the badge/competition/tracking system completely.  The check-in app became Swarm and when you checked in… well, nothing really happened.

Effectively making checking-in completely pointless.

People were so angry at this change that they took to Twitter–often.  A twitterfeed, Kill Swarm, emerged because people are still angry.

So people moved their check-ins to Yelp.  It made sense.  Checking into Yelp would create verified reviews, so there was at least some benefit.

But FourSquare has responded, albeit pretty late, and issued a cryptic message:

It looks like they’ll be bringing the games back to Foursquare’s Swarm, but didn’t exactly say how.  My guess is the badging system and competition will come back because that is what set it apart from the other apps and is why people were using it in the first place.

I liked using the original FourSquare–it gamified travel and incentivized me (through, yes, useless badges) to discover new airports and destinations.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Thanks for the update. Once Foursquare turned to Swarm I disliked the changes so much I uninstalled the app. I’ll warily watch to see if they bring back the fun stuff!

  2. I was very sad when Foursquare broke down – I had achieved a respectable (30s I think) number of unique airport check ins (legitimately, with one minor exception driving by an airport in Grand Rapids on the way to Detroit). I never bother to install Swarm, so when they stopped supporting the original app I just stopped supporting them with my “free data points”.

    The only thing I ever got out of foursquare besides the gamification of travel and checking in was free appetizers, and yes I did frequent those restaurants that gave me free apps for using this social app.

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