Subtle psychology and cold calculation are hidden behind uncomplicated entertainments like “Vikings” and “Sultans.”
It would seem that modern games like Death Stranding or Control with realistic graphics, interesting scenarios, and live actors in the lead roles should bring fabulous profits, like expensive blockbusters.
But on this point, they are bypassed by unpretentious mobile freemium-games like ” three in a row ” and other puzzles. Last year, the Russians spent 2019; spending on mobile players in Russia amounted to $ 744 million; they cost $ 744 million.
How can frankly stupid toys with cartoon graphics and straightforward gameplay make so much money? It’s all about several tricky tricks that their creators use.
Using virtual currency
Study “Paper or Plastic?”: How We Pay Influences Post-Transaction Connection, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that people place more value on things they buy with cash. At the same time, they are not so sensitive to money from cards.
Video game creators have found a way to take advantage of this feature of the human psyche. In most projects, virtual currency is sold for real money, and only then will the players buy the necessary items. This allows you to mask the true value of the goods.
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So, if you are told that this “Great Orcish Ax +1 to Strength” costs $ 4, you doubt the need to spend money on such nonsense.
But if you need 10 virtual gold for it, it will be much easier to buy it.
Add to this the following: to buy an ax with in-game currency, and you do not need to exit the game, open the banking application, and confirm the transfer. Less fuss, less time to change your mind. This is approximately why I use chips in casinos rather than real money.
Splitting the purchase into several stages
Another way to hide the real cost of purchases is to introduce compound items into the game that must be purchased in parts—for example, some things in Apex Legends like Raven’s Bite ax.
In the game with the Iron Crown set, to obtain it, you had to open 24 other items, spending money on containers with them (about $ 160 in total). And then buy Raven’s Bite itself for 3,500 Apex coins (somewhere around $ 35).
As a result, even with discounts on in-game currency, the ax costs at least $ 170. But if a gamer gives a similar amount, not in one go, but gradually, it no longer feels like a significant waste. Many avid lovers of fashionable skins do not even notice how much they spend monthly to buy virtual whistles.
Using behavioral incentives
The concept of “operant conditioning” was introduced Skinner – Operant ConditioningHarvard psychologist Burres Skinner. In simple terms, it is the process of reinforcing correct behavioral responses.
You do something, you get a reward, and you want to repeat it more often.
This is how casinos work: people are sometimes allowed to win in order to keep them interested. And so they keep playing.
Game developers also use operant conditioning. They constantly throw rewards to the gamer: new levels, skins, weapons, characters, and the like. As a result, the desire to get more and more pleasure Loot Boxes Addictive? Analyzing Participant’s Physiological Arousal While Opening a Loot Boxby constantly discovering something new keeps people in the game.
Betting on annoying incentives
Many games seem to be free, but if you don’t spend money on them, it becomes unpleasant to play. For example, you are periodically shown annoying ads that cannot be turned off without paying. Or, in free mode, pumping a hero can be difficult.
Therefore, anyone who tries to play without financial investments will constantly be defeated in fights with donators.
In some strategies, you are forced to wait for a while on a pause until the desired building is built or research is completed – or they are offered to part with a small amount and get what you want immediately. If your character dies, you can wait half an hour for him to resurrect or pay $ 4.99 to start the game right away.
All these negative incentives are designed to make the gamer pay at all costs; otherwise, interference will continue to arise. You are constantly hinted: part with a certain amount – and you can play in comfort.
Introduction of a social element
Freemium multiplayer games deserve special mention, in which participants, without investment, are constantly defeated in battles with those who pay and use premium weapons and various advantages.
Being worse than others is always unpleasant. It’s one thing to lose in battles with a computer that won’t boast of victory.
But to be defeated by living opponents is much harder.
The gamer is faced with a choice; spend hours honing skills to most likely lose again to a richer opponent, or pay and become a winner immediately. Naturally, the second option is more attractive.
Withdrawing an award
The economist Richard Thaler and psychologist Daniel Kahneman described a psychological phenomenon called the “ownership effect” in the 1970s. It lies in the fact that people value much more what they already have rather than what they can get. Game developers take advantage of this: first, they hand over something of value and then threaten to take it away if they do not give money.
Psychologist Ramin Shokrizade calls the Top F2P Monetization Trickssuch a trick of “taking away an award.” The process looks like this: you reach certain progress in the game to have something to lose. And then you accidentally die in the next boss fight.
And the game “pleases” you with the message that all your experience or collected items will disappear without a trace after the death of the hero.
But if you agree to spend a little money so as not to lose the accumulated good. So you have to pay with each new failed attempt.
Punishment for refusing to play
Some shareware games like Farmville and Candy Crush punish their fans for taking too long to get out of the game. For example, in the same Farmville, your crops die if they are not harvested, even when you do not enter the game.
But at the same time, withered crops can be fertilized for a small fee; then, they will continue to grow. You are presented with a choice; either to enter the game regularly or to spend money.
Decreased value of skills
In ordinary video games, victory or defeat depends on the player’s skill and a bit of luck. Freemium games try to look like skill is important, but in reality, the money a gamer invests is more important than his ability. Ramin Shokrizade, describing this trick, gives the Top F2P Monetization Tricks an example of the famous Candy Crush Saga.
In this game, the early cards are fairly easy to play, and the person gets the impression that he is savvy enough to win without any investment.
However, then the complexity grows, and from a certain moment, it becomes impossible to achieve noticeable progress unless you pay. As a result, it becomes a pity for the player to abandon the progress already made. He resigns himself to the inevitable expenses.
Don’t be manipulated by the creators of freemium games. Better pay your attention to single-player titles on Steam, PlayStation Store, and Xbox Store. They are much more interesting, and you only need to buy them once.
Adapted and translates by Wiki Avenue Staff
Sources: Life hacker