The Social Games work with a “effort-reward” system, generating what is called “compulsion loop,” or “engagement loop”: when a player gets a small reward for each action performed, he will be motivated to act continuously, in a “gratification loop”, or a “involvement loop”.Read More
Videogames are designed around a core element: the player. The player’s role is to carry out actions aimed to get a reward, within the limits set by rules of the game. John Hopson has coined it “contingencies“: a set of rules under which the player acts, getting rewards and reinforcements. Experiencing different ways of rewards, different patterns of player’s response can be found.Read More
The third of the series of posts about the new objectives of game designers: today, game designers have to consider revenue issues and business models since the beginning of their creative processes.
Exploiting the power of “give and receive” social pattern certainly contributes to the strengthening of viral and attractive phenomenon and behaviours.
Reciprocity is a deep-rooted instinct in the human mind and many experts argue that it has played an important role in the development of modern society.
In social contexts, people interact with each other in similar ways: when someone gives a gift to you, you not only feel grateful and almost obliged to return the favour, but also your opinion of that person improves. Following this behavioural pattern is perceived correct; breaking it may cause a sort of confusion in the relationship between people.
In social games, players tend to behave according to this principle. Beyond enjoying the gifts received, doing the same can improve the personal image of the player. So, this creates a circle of strong viral and attractive reciprocity.
To fully exploit this type of dynamics, it is required to make the player’s actions observed – and therefore judged – by the other players. As game designers, it is particularly important to establish a clear sequence of in-game actions, which can create reciprocity expectancy, like “ Send gifts to your friends, and ask them to send one in return”.
Anyway, it is absolutely necessary to calculate very carefully this cycle: the feeling of “obligation” doesn’t always lead to expected results, particularly in long term, when it is perceived as a burden. The reciprocity effect is a double-edged blade with a great potential, but game designers should use it with attention and above all, with the skill to trigger it implicitly within the game.
PENS is an interesting research that aims to overlap the concept of “fun” to focus on the psychological needs that videogames can satisfy. This Thesis develops metrics typologies that can evaluate the player’s satisfaction degree, an important issue for game developers that need a profound comprehension of the psychological dynamics in the game activities. Competence, autonomy, relatedness are key factors in a videogame experience and can be linked to the seven deadly sins theory applied to videogames. It’s even possible to move forward in this argument, developing both theories in the social games sphere, true field of application for modern game design.
The second of the series of posts about the new objectives of game designers: today, game designers have to consider revenue issues and business models since the beginning of their creative processes.
The lead designer of Settlers Online, Teut Weidemann, maintains that the first step for a game designer is to identify what makes a mechanic funny: it must be able to attract users.
But, at the same time, it is necessary to consider the monetization power of that mechanic, since monetizing has become a crucial and essential part of game design.
The technique adopted by Weidemann is interesting, but it is also cynical. It is based on the exploration – or rather, on the monetization – of human weaknesses, that he called The Seven Deadly Sins. Not only because of his name, it has caused a lot of reactions within the community of developers; however, in our opinion, it is a correct logic.
Players love competition, and even more, they love to boast and to show how good they are and the goals they have achieved. Competing and cooperating at the same time is a very powerful dynamic which gets players to try to improve, also considering the progress of the others. This dynamic leads to the next sin….Read More
This will be the first of a series of posts about the new objectives of game designers.
Today, in fact, social-game designers have to consider revenue issues and business models since the beginning of their creative processes.
Games are one of the main reasons why people visit Facebook. In fact, it is estimated that about 40% of users are online to play social games. This means that more than two hundred million people enjoy playing on Facebook every month, and that the top ten titles on social network can boast over twelve million users each.
In the same way as the entertainment industry is rapidly moving toward online business models, for example cloud gaming, digital delivery and social gaming, so game designers need to adapt to this situation too. They have to develop their technical-cultural knowledge in order to link creativity with market laws, which have to be more and more aggressive and innovative; so, today, game designers have to find the perfect mix between fun factors and revenues.
This does not imply a leveling of gameplay in favor of monetizing for its own sake: in fact, gameplay is gaining importance even more than before, because of the fierce competition and the staggering growth of the sector. However, gameplay is increasingly focused on simplicity and on the emotional stimulus rather than on actions to do or on th aesthetic depth of the ludic architecture.Read More