Jessica Grose on what's wrong with Foursquare:
The major limit to Foursquare’s widespread appeal is what differentiates it from the other location-based apps—game mechanics, which have limited appeal to older users (it should be noted that competitor Loopt has recently acquired similar gaming technology). With Foursquare, you get badges based on participation, and you can compete for badges with your friends. If you “check in” to a particular location often enough on Foursquare, you become “mayor” of that location. If you check in four nights in a row, you get a “bender” badge, and so on. Though hyper-social twentysomethings in cities with endless options may enjoy competing with their friends for the “player please” or “douchebag” badges, the reward system does not hold much for anyone older. “I don’t get any real thrill from the gaming aspect,” one thirtysomething, New York-based Foursquare user told me. “All the badges seemed aimed to a young, single dude,” said another.
Another limitation of Foursquare’s appeal is that users are rewarded—“given pieces of digital candy,” in the words of co-founder Dennis Crowley—for seeking out new venues and experiences as much as possible. This is only valuable in enormous markets like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, where there are constantly new restaurants, events, and bars to patronize.