Posted on October 18, 2011
The Psychological Incentives Of Social Games Are Oddly Familiar. Hmm…I wonder where I've seen this before?
Here Are Some Psychological Incentives Of Social Games That We have Observed
- Money is converted to “credits”, tokens, or chips for playing. This abstraction makes it harder to keep track of how much money has actually been lost. Once real money has been converted to play money, it takes significant mental effort and discipline to cash out, even after a win.
- Players of social games receive frequent, small prizes at irregular intervals. This encourages continued playing in the hope of getting a big reward.
- The mathematical complexity of some social games disorients customers by allowing multiple lines of play and various purchases. A little cash per transaction appears to be insignificant, but can add up to more than the price of a console video game over the course of a month or even a week.
- Social games keep players in the in the game by offering hourly incentives or goals that must be claimed and/or achieved within a short time minutes. (i.e goods mature and must be collected or they spoil )
- Customers are required to use their social network persona to play. Although there may not be a requirement to buy credits, once they are logged in, the player may actually be more apt to buy credits because they feel secure in familiar social network.
- Social games are filled with happy loud sounds like the tinkling of coins and simple ditties for winning play and quiet short sounds for losing play.
- Hypnotic rotating wheels and video displays with flashing images keep the customer’s attention in the social game.
- Social games are programmed with “near misses” make customers think that they are close to winning thereby encouraging further play. The psychological stimulus of almost winning augments the desire to continue playing to try to get a big prize.
- The posting of social games achievements to the player’s wall for friends to see serves to convince players who have who have not been playing that it is possible to win by continuing to play.
- Social games flash messages such as “Skip task for x Cash” which imply that it is advantageous to pay real money to get ahead in the game. These messages act like subliminal suggestions that may be obeyed subconsciously.
- Social games are designed to give better rewards only when cash is used. The best items require real money to be spent. This encourages players to pay real money to maximize their play.
- The everyday subject matter, familiar surroundings, and constant rewards of social game relaxes the customers and makes them lose track of time.
- Social games are played in social networks on computers. This forces players to sit down to play, and relax in situations conducive to playing.
- The interface of a social game is like a giant maze. The icons and messages are arranged in staggered clusters that make it impossible to click between two points in a straight line. It is necessary to meander through a variety of icons and menus and it is very easy to get lost and disoriented inside a big game. Keeping the customer in the game increases the chance that he or she will spend some money in for in-game items to assist or advance play.
- Social game companies establish a tier system with labels of “platinum”, “titanium”, and “diamond” for the more prestigious players, whereas the ordinary players are assigned categories like “gold” or “red label”. The higher ranks with greater fringe benefits can only be achieved by increased level of play or by winning large rewards. Big players have access to the “high roller” with direct access to customer services and game designers.
Sound familiar? They should. These were not originally written for social games. We stumbled upon the Psychological Incentives Of Gambling Addiction and just changed the wording a bit (and deleted one that did not really fit). Go read them here: http://www.scientificpsychic.com/workbook/gambling.html. Weird, odd, interesting, or kind of scary?