While I was working on "6 steps to use gamification in your classroom" I came across this interesting graphic which sheds some light on the difference between gamification and serious games. The words gamification, games, and serious games are not to be used interachangeably and here is why.
According to Sean, gamification is not necessarily a game. A game is something that you can lose at. Games are also inherently and intrinsically rewarding( examples incluse, chess , role playing games..etc) there are also extrinsic rewards that are offered through games as well.
gamification is a little bit different. gamification role is to find these intrinsic rewards in an activity and also offer you those extrinsic rewards for doing them, an example of that would be fitness. Fitness is intrinsically rewarding but a lot of people have problems getting motivated to do it, so the goal of gamification is to help people get motivated.
Gamification is the application of game principles to something that is not necessarily a game and this should not be confused with serious games. The goal of serious games is to train or teach somebody something and this is something that gamification is moving more towards joining all of these principles.
Click on the image to see it in full