Swarm 3.0, over-gamified, missed its chance with me

Swarm app

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who, over time, forgot the little things that mattered? And, when you purposefully address that he or she doesn’t take you out anymore, that person careens, full-blown, so hard into the other direction that it’s almost too obvious how far they want to address their failures?

That, everyone, is Swarm’s latest incarnation in a nutshell. After spending nearly a year in existence without a single gamified feature (a mistake so glaring it never left my mind every check-in), the folks at Foursquare seem to have overcorrected for the error.

First, Swarm revived the purposefully-killed Mayorship in June, and now the company announced “Swarm 3.0” for iOS and Android via blog post. This update expands mayorship to include the old Foursquare feature “leaderboards,” which operates with a new, coin-based currency:

Now with every check-in, you’ll earn coins to help you climb to the top of your leaderboard. You’ll get bonus coins for streaks, mayorships, or any out-of-the-ordinary check-ins. For now, they’ll just help you beat your friends and conquer your leaderboard, but stay tuned for more fun to come.

iPhone 6

So, to put it plainly, Foursquare is reintroducing gamified features that the company called arbitrary in a post about why they were dropping gamified features for Swarm in the first place. It took roughly a year, but it seems that Foursquare finally got the hint that without something to keep Swarm sticky, no one will stay.

I spent about 9 months on Swarm before I had an epiphany one day: what am I even doing this for? I was no longer getting anything out of it, and putting the work into it seemed less fun as a result. But now that it’s full of all these blingy, shiny incentives that are promising “more fun” down the road, it kind of just makes me sad.

In the words of Joanna “JoJo” Levesque, it’s too little, too late. I have precious few megabytes left on my phone, and they will not be going towards this new Swarm.

Swarm [iOS & Android]

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