Designing an addictive game

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lizwool's picture
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Designing an addictive game

You will want to go to the link, to read the entire article.

Design Testing: The use of addiction metrics to force rapid evolution of innovative game designs

Design testing
We need tests and metrics that capture such ephemeral qualities as 'fun' and 'addiction'.

What makes me think we can test 'fun' and 'addiction'? I believe that core game mechanics rely on relatively simple psychological reward schedules. A successfully addicted player exhibits easily identifiable behavioral symptoms. By tracking these symptoms in a statistically valid manner, the designer gains useful feedback on the addictive properties of their gaming system.

Common Metrics for Design Testing
Testing for addiction is easier than you might imagine. The following are easily gathered metrics for measuring system-wide addictive behavior.

Length of playtime
Intensity of play time
Willingness to play again
Length between play times
Number of play times
Spot exit surveys

Edited by: lizwool at: 4/11/06 12:26

Liz Woolley

Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
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Joined: 04/09/2003 - 7:42am
Re: Designing an addictive game

And no, this wasn't a satire. It was written by a game developer for a market of other developers, with a perfectly straightforward approach.

Note that morality is not even considered in this article. Whether it is a good thing to create a product that is so addictive that people ruin their own lives, never came up. It just wasn't important enough to think about. Getting people addicted in this context isn't about your opportunity to maybe make people's lives worse, the usual context. Its that other context, making money. And whatever the product, if there's a market, there will be people trying to meet the need, risk just adds to the cost...

But at least drug dealers can go to jail... these guys laugh all the way to the bank.


Leveling in Real Life

anonymous (not verified)
Re: Designing an addictive game

yes, business as usual has caught up with games

Though I did not think the article to be particularly good. All it proposes is to use market research in the gaming industry.

This may make better games but has certain risks as when you test concepts, you essentially disclose them and then your competition can go and make a game out of it.

Market research - at least done in the traditional way - stuffles innovation, because people like what they know, so this paradim would tilt the gaming industry further towards EA and similar "sinister groups"

(Max who has about 10 books on market research lying around on his table waiting to be read)

What you think, you create. What you say, you produce. What you do, you call forth more of.

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