Gamification refers to using game-like elements in non-gaming contexts. A lot of new dating apps are borrowing elements from games. Tinder, and other apps like Kahnoodle, gamily dating by using elements commonly seen in games. For example, Tinder uses the active motion of swiping through singles, either left (to anonymously pass on someone), right (to like someone), or up (to super-like someone). Kahnoodle applies game-like concepts like point accumulation and rewards to real life relationships.
Games (like sex and violence) are powerful human motivators. According to Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham in their book, “Gamification by Design,” games “marry the desire-drive of sex with the predictability of duress—except without force and, when successful, driven entirely by enjoyment.” This is the reason games can become addicting (i.e. slot machines) and why app designers include addictive elements from them in their applications.
Zellinger, Julie. “Kahnoodle App Makes Reigniting Your Relationship Into A
Game” The Huffington Post.
Hakala, Kate. “How the Gamification of Dating Apps is Changing our Sex
Cunningham, Christopher and Gabe Zichermann. “Gamification by Design: Implementing Game Mechanics in Web and Mobile Apps.” O’Reilly Media. Sebastopol, 2011. Print.