Could game play at work actually improve engagement?

"Button" is a nice example of how games can be used to mentally stimulate people in order to keep them engaged in their mundane jobs. The game is as simple as it gets: there is a button on the screen and when it lights you push it.

Explains Techcrunch:

Blank Software will choose random times to light the button up, and it will light up for every user around the world. And occasionally, they will randomly select one of the Button players and replace their regular button with a prize button. If they see and hit it, they’ll get the prize.

At first, there will be things like $20 gift cards, but eventually they may include larger prizes.

When the makers were testing the game out:

they began to notice feedback from testers mentioning that playing the game helped them with their normally mundane tasks at their jobs. The thought is that the effort required to open up and play Button on the iPhone was just enough brain stimulation to keep people engaged in whatever boring tasks they may be doing. Also, knowing a reward was possibly coming for pushing the button made it interesting to users.

Could this be the beginning of a trend of gaming at the workplace?

A game like Button would certainly enliven some dull cubicle jobs, especially if you connected it to something meaningful—not necessarily to the winning of prizes. But if you turned this game or something based on an equally simple premise into a contest between different parties within the same company you could spice things up a little.

Say playing is about keeping the company afloat or the game is tied to some fictional empire and by your actions you determine its future—against the guys from accounting or some branch office. I'm sure the distraction would be appreciated.

A company would just have to handle it in a way that doesn't result in the whole thing getting too distracting. Keeping it as simple as possible is certainly a good idea in this regard—something Button surely excels in…

What do you think? Will games be used one day to enhance people's engagement in their work?