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The Deliberate Flaws of Modern Day Game Incentives – a Deeper Look

Gamingtodaynews1b - The Deliberate Flaws of Modern Day Game Incentives - a Deeper Look

Coming from a background of oldschool gaming with games such as MGS, TLOZ and many others,In late years there have been many questionable implementations of certain features in games,while their transition from paid products into paid digital services has been going on, the use and abuse of this transition by companies has been obvious by most aware players.

It has been apparent that there is an overextend of what a developer/publisher/company is going to ask off of their players for offering a copy or license for use of their game for personal entertainment.

That said, there is an increasingly concern about said features, examples of which are lootboxes, microtransactions of certain type and time-limited or time-gated paid reward structures (battle/season passes).

All said implemented features are meant to draw more money from the players than they were previously willing to spend prior of their game purchase, this is done by means of psychological and behavioral manipulation.

Let us go directly to the point of this post, it is meant to raise awareness in order for the collective of players to respond appropriately to these features and optional services.

When one for example purchases a lootbox, usually the box's value is much lower than the possible contents that can be obtained, when someone is interested in a specific cosmetic for example they will be caught in a cycle of spending a lot more than the actual value of the item if it is locked behind a loot box, the more one fails to get what they want (even with stacking odds) the more likely they are to not stop buying more lootboxes because the belief that eventually they will get it is there, "Just one more" is another psychological aspect of these systems, gambling addiction as a coping mechanism is also a thing, when someone feels bad for any reason, there is a compulsive reaction that a coping mechanism will be required to be "done" or "executed" in order to elevate any negative emotion/feeling, this however can stack with itself, feeling bad for an addiction can indeed compliment more towards that addiction.
Game-related Addiction is not an illness realistically, it is a logic-based issue or mechanism, once understood you can reverse-engineer to get out of these loops.
In the end… there is a 50% chance that you will be buying "just one more" loot box which increases the worse you feel about your purchase in most cases, this requires minimal effort for companies and it nets a maximum gain simply due to how human behavioral psychology works and in game mechanics take advantage of that to maximize profits for the game company.

Many of us know about B.F. Skinner's box experiments, these psychological manipulation techniques can and are used in modern day gaming.


Another factor to consider is time-limited and time-gated events AND "Passes", we are essentially paying for someone to provide content for us to grind, essentially we are paying for someone to give us work to do… ironic isn't it?The rewards of course are there and there are games which actually do a very good job with battle passes, however most games implement very badly with minimal "exclusive" rewards and the issue remains, they bind the player to do tasks they might not be interested in due to the time-limited nature.Time limits + Exclusive Rewards create attachment, attachment leads to suffering (yes, thats an eastern quote that is nonetheless very true, the core of tilting in games).Sidetracking from the topic but Dr.K, the known streamer actually talked about this recently on his interview with other known league streamers.In the end, time-limits and exclusives put a lot of psychological pressure on the player who in most cases has already paid for said content. In a realistic scenario someone would have to abandon their social life to be able to keep up with even 1 game, if someone plays 2 games, it will be virtually impossible to keep up, we are not even talking about the same genre of games.That is indeed the issue here, most games do that nowadays and not just a couple.

The rewards and challenges (which can often be side-tracking and deviating focus from the actual game) are actually being taken away from the core gaming experience and locked behind a paywall of sorts, in some cases this is alright but in most cases it can take away from the game.

This now leads to main and final couple of mechanics or "features", since we are talking about time-limited events, we have to raise awareness about the pressure that is being thrown down to players by dailies and reset-based daily events, sometimes including logins (although that can take a few moments which is no big deal usually).

Now you might say, many of these things are optional and you would be right, however game companies have made sure we will be tempted every time we login to our game to buy their service, it is a matter of advertisement and manipulation, we are made to feel bad if we do not in the end… again, depending on the context. There are games which only have a couple of login rewards and there are also games which are literally flooded by all sorts of incentives.

Finally, this is the point of what makes modern gaming oftentimes unfun, what used to be in game contents and features is now more of a secondary product and the core of games is more lacking because of that, companies use behavior manipulative practices on their products to draw way more money out of their players (which is disrespectful towards their customers of course) and finally, there is too much pressure put on players with all the time-limited activities thrown at them.

Indeed, this all comes down to mindset, there are a couple of things to do in order to feel better about and while playing games,

One thing to consider is ask ourselves "Why do I play?", "why do I do that? what the reason behind my actions or pursuits?" and "Why do I play this particular game? is it fun? where does this fun come from?",sometimes people will play for escapism or use it as a cope mechanism, other times they will do it out of inspiration, this in my opinion is the highest quality of gaming experience, being inspired, having that hype feeling of pure enthusiasm about a game at the moment of playing is the peak of gaming.

In the end, remember why you are playing games, what is the "true purpose" of games and follow what actually makes you happy about gaming.

Best Regards

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