Emotional Hooks From Games-As-A-Service

Emotional Hooks From Games-As-A-Service


Learn Techniques Used by Addictive Cloud Games To Engage Your Players And Customers More

It’s a SERVICE. Not a game. It’s a WORLD. Not a game. It’s a COMMUNITY. Not a game. Anyone who says, “it’s just a game” is missing the point.” The Laws of Online World Design

The secret to keeping players engaged in Games-As-A-Service lies in creating emotional “hooks” and community management. This philosophical shift into communitarianism is already taking place in business. Think of books like Tribes by Seth Godin, Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki or the idea of “participatory systems” by Tim Brown in his book Change by Design. Building an engaged community is the key for successful video games and businesses alike, it just seems natural for gamification to set up shop in this field too.

Game designer Raph Koster (@raphkoster) offers 6 examples of emotional hooks used in online virtual games:

  • Guilt: You feel guilty if you abandon the game (like not watering your virtual crops). This is linked to conscientiousness;
  • Love: You love the community! The game is a hobby. You love what you’ve created in it and the friends you’ve made;
  • Obligation: The feeling that you must support your friends in the game (for example in online games where a player’s success depends on his/her team’s overall performance);
  • Pride and anger: Defeating a level or opponent in a game becomes personal. Raph explains that a big feature of games comes from the desire to rise in a social hierarchy. Pride and anger are very strong motivators in gameplay

Here is a great video on how anger keeps players engaged, where even anger works to the game developers’ advantage:

The following quote explains why our brain triggers anger when playing a game: “The rage is not designed to make you stop the game, it’s designed to make you try again. Try harder. To break through that wall and achieve your reward.”

Anger keeps us engaged until we get our dopamine reward if we initially failed.

  • Security: Players can escape reality through the game. Raph gives the example of a mother wanting to stay away from screaming children for 10 minutes;
  • Curiosity: The desire to know what happens next in the game.

The business processes behind Games-As-A-Service are somewhat different from many popular gamification concepts, but I believe them to be one of the best way to engage in open business systems, especially the service sector. Keep tuned in to GCo blog for more gamification goodness.

Every business is a service business. Does your service put “a smile” on the customer’s face?” Philip Kotler


Need help with behavioral science and gamification? Get in touch with our boutique consulting agency Dopamine.