In a nutshell:
…gamification is marketing bullshit, invented by consultants as a means to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business, where bullshit already reigns anyway. – Ian Bogost
In defense of gamification, from the comments:
Where games are rich and challenging experiences, gamification simply aims to add a layer of behavior-tracking and accomplishment to otherwise dry experiences. – Tony Ventrice
I’m still forming my own opinions on the matter but, in terms of education at least, Gamification seems like a superficial and stop-gap solution. This week I start a Coursera course on Gamification (by Kevin Werbach) – it’ll be interesting to see how my thoughts change throughout the course.
Also see Bogost’s article on Explotationware in Gamasutra.