Since a few weeks now, I play some casual games and other flash games on Kongregate. Kongregate is a portal promoting new games and helping developers to develop better games by getting more feedback and to earn more money because it remains the main reason for work.
By playing Kongregate's games, it is possible to earn points, badges, and level up. Earned badges and total scores appear on the players' profiles; often motivating them to play earn more badges by playing more games.
This game-around-the-games mechanism - or Meta-game - is quite interesting as players are motivated to play more to games they like; until they earn all badges for example. It also pushes players to discover and play new games.
This mechanism is also enforced thanks to the existence of Kongai, an online battle-oriented card game. Kongai relies on similar (but less complex) concepts than older classical card games like Magic The Gathering or Decipher' Star Wars Customizable Cards Game. Cards can be of course purchased but also and preferably earned through playing any game hosted on Kongregate. This is called challenges). More cards can be earned by playing Kongai itself. As for any collectible cards game, these come with several editions and you can view them through an online card album.
This concept of Meta-games or games around games is quite thrilling. Once you start caring for your score, the race is up and you will quickly try to reach just another level. As Kongregate proposes thousands of games, you will always find some that you like or care enough to earn one more badge. The online card game attached around is also a good idea even if in this particular case the Kongai game itself could probably be a bit more sophisticated.
Now I wonder if a meta-game concept could be used with massively multiplayers online role-playing games (MMORPG) ?