What Makes Games So Addictive: The Psychology Behind Gaming
How do games win our hearts and our pockets? We have all been stuck playing for hours without noticing the time passing by but what makes games so addictive? In this article, well explain the psychological mechanisms that games trigger to give us pleasure and generate $140 bln in revenues for the industry.
In fact, games put us in construct realities the main purpose of which is to give us pleasure and make us want to return for more. And the only way game creators can achieve that is by leveraging the same pleasure mechanisms that the real reality has developed in us throughout the evolution. Hence, if we want to understand the games trick, we should look for the answer in human nature and the very basic mechanisms that navigate us in our everyday lives. Also, these mechanisms coupled with the F2P monetization model explain how our platform will enable much easier access to what makes games so enjoyable and help bring the entire gameplay experience to a new level.
Finding Out What You Value
How do you figure out what your values are?
Exercise: Grab a piece of paper and write 500 words about a time where you felt fulfilled. Sit down and do the exercise. This is really important because while gamers tend to think a lot, they actually aren’t good at reflecting or criticizing their own thought process.
When playing a game, a gamer comes up with an idea of what’s going to work. Then they go into the game and get told by the game whether the idea works or not.
Let’s say you have a strategy to take down a boss and when you go in with that strategy. You would know whether the strategy works or not because the game would tell you. You don’t have to reflect on your thought process or your strategy yourself, because the game will provide you with that feedback.
Since gamers spend so much time coming up with strategies, but have an external source of feedback they don’t develop the capacity to reflect and objectively look at their strategies. Even though they think that they can do that, they are not actually very good at it.
How To Make A Video Game Players Will Love
Whats one important part of making a video game that will sell well? Players must not only enjoy it, but enjoy it so much that they cant wait for their next chance to play again. People who insanely love a game will keep buying the DLCs and new versions, and theyll tell all their friends how much they need to get with the times and buy everything for that game too.
This is the concept of rabid fans providing free marketing and making a game more and more popular simply by word of mouth.
So how can you best set your video game up for this kind of success? You need to understand what makes video games addictive and find a way to utilize that to your advantage in the planning process. Beginning with these kinds of results in mind will help you build your video game up successfully from the start.
But also keep ethics in mind. At what point does intentionally creating something addictive in order to increase sales become unethical?
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Why Video Games Are Addictive
Human beings throughout history have valued things that are difficult. Compare the mayor of a city with the President of the United States â there is a clear difference of value.
We value people who accomplish hard things. There is something in our brain that gets a lot of gratification from completing a hard task.
This is what we want to do for our kids, we want to encourage them to feel proud of getting an A. We encourage them to value overcoming difficulty and succeeding.
There is a fascinating paper that says that the reason that video games are addictive is not because of the reward but because they create the denial of a reward. They’re not easy, and if they’re easy they’re no fun.
Fortnite is a game where a hundred people fight against each other in the arena and there’s only one winner. That means that statistically speaking, 99% of the time you are going to lose at Fortnite. Itâs addicting because 1% of the time when you become the king of the hill, your brain does not differentiate between graduating from medical school and winning the game of Fortnite.
How Do I Get My Child To Stop Playing Video Games
When kids have trouble balancing video game play with the rest of their lives, its important to understand why they are playing. Most children play video games to simply have fungames are challenging, competitive, exploratory, and social. But sometimes a child may be playing because of other reasons, such as depression, loneliness, social anxiety, and ADHD. Understanding the feelings and experiences that drive a child to play video games is key to helping them balance or stop playing video games.
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Reward And Punishment Features
Reward and punishment features are designed to reinforce skillful play and penalize players who perform poorly.
- Provide positive reinforcement for players
- Can be delivered randomly, intermittently or on a fixed schedule can also be unlocked when a player does something particularly special within the game
- Help establish contextual worth of rewards
- Reinforce the idea that a game is based on skill
The psychology of video games remains fascinating, as these features have been found to contribute to both addiction and achievement in research subjects.
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Should Video Games Be Banned
Video games are revolutionizing the way people relax, but now they are turning towards one of the worst things to do. With the growing popularity of video games, there are lots of people who get so immersed into these games that show and plan these horrible actions and the players feel like theyre the ones doing it and doing this gives the players some kind of enjoyment. One man got so addicted he played for 3 days straight and it eventually led him to his death.Although video games can increase
Children And Video Games
About 90 percent of adolescents report playing video games of some kind, according to a 2018 survey by Pew Research Center. With the amount of time children and teens spend gaming, its natural for parents to wonder how video games affect their children, if they should implement rules around screen time, and whether they should be concerned about their childrens mental health. It can especially difficult for parents to know how to proceed because children’s entire social lives may take place through gaming. Identifying why a child plays video games is often the first step of understanding how to curb video game use and help cultivate balance in childrens lives.
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The Link Between Video Games And Achievement
While video games can certainly prove detrimental, they have their benefits as well.
In the academic article The Benefits of Playing Video Games, three authors discuss the psychology of video games by highlighting a number of benefits that may help players generate feelings of achievement or cultivate actual successes in their lives.
- Social features in video games may enable gamers to attain social successes that would be otherwise difficult, such as overcoming social phobia or physical immobility.
- Narratives help humans to conceptually frame the world around them. Narratives in video games, therefore, may offer the same opportunities to generate empathy and learn problem solving that any other storytelling medium might.
- Because adaption to circumstances is rewarded within game play, playing video games may help promote players ability to effectively handle their own emotions.
- Score systems can offer tangible tools for self-assessment and comparison.
- Feedback messages and reward systems can provide players with encouragement and gratification, inspiring them to improve and learn continuously.
- Success in certain areas of life can help trigger players desires for achievement in the real world as well.
Ultimately, whether video games are beneficial or detrimental seems to depend more on the context of their use than on the games themselves.
Video Games Even In Their Infancy Of Simple Platformers Or Puzzles Still Possessed The Ability To Hook Players In For Hours At A Time As We Are In A Golden Age Of Gaming Thanks To The Billions Of Dollars And Technological Advancements The Addictive Qualities Are Becoming Much More Clear To Leading Healthcare Organizations
This is not an attempt to vilify video game designers as their job is to create an immersive experience that keeps players wanting more. However, their video games ability to play on the human psyche makes it, in some cases, too effective.In this article, we are going to run down some of the main reasons why video games are so addictive to help you understand whats happening when you cant seem to put down the controller.
Human beings by nature love to see measurable growth and most of the reasons why we have come so far as a society can be attributed to this. Studying, working, training and practising are all a means to an end. But a key part of the satisfaction is improving at what we are doing. Many of you might have seen progression videos of people learning an instrument or practising a skill, and the reason it is so impressive is because we are resonating with the idea of measurable growth.
Gaming these days is seldomly done alone. Even when playing single-player games there are numerous communities on discord, forums and such. Again video games incorporate a core part of human lives and that is socialising with others. Be it team-based competitive games, one on one fighting or cooperative survival. The concept of working together with your friends to beat a raid boss, gain experience and new gear is just one example of how millions of gamers spend their time.
Should Video Games Be Addictive
There is such a large variety to choose from, making it a truly diverse and engaging world. The question of whether video games can be addictive is left unanswered because many articles and studies provide evidence that supports both sides of the debate.The article, Online Gaming Addiction? Motives Predict Addictive Play Behavior in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games by Kuss et al, primarily covers Massively Multiplayer Online
Video Game Addiction And You
Like anything else, games CAN become a problem for some. However, that doesn’t mean they’re inherently bad. Just because games have the potential to addict some people doesn’t mean that everyone who plays them has an issue. But it’s wise to know what can make games so addicting and stop if you see yourself going too far.
If you think you’re addicted to games or other technology, our guide to overcoming your tech addiction should be able to help.
Image Credit: Voyagerix/Depositphotos
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Prevention For Gaming Addiction
As with any addiction, behavioural or otherwise, the only way anyone can be absolutely certain of not developing a gaming addiction is never to play video games at all. However, such complete abstinence in those who have not developed an addiction may be overcautious: as mentioned earlier, as part of a balanced life gaming can be a harmless recreation providing a great deal of enjoyment and a good way of relaxing. Indeed, some studies show that some games enjoyed in moderation can actually be beneficial in terms of their impact upon problem-solving
skills, coordination and even general knowledge.For those who would like to participate in video gaming, but wish to take some steps to prevent the possibility of addiction developing, some safeguards can be put in place:
What Factors Might Contribute To Video Game Addiction
A number of risk factors have been linked to video game addiction. Male adolescents seem especially prone to problematic gaming. Researchers have linked excessive gaming to traits such as impulsiveness, higher acceptance of violence, and lower social skills. Related mental health diagnoses include ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Motivation also matters people who game for fun or to be social seem less likely to become hooked than people who game for status or to escape from their problems.
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Gaming Addiction And Depression
Depression and similar disorders have been identified as both a potential cause of and the potential consequence of, gaming addiction. Depression can leave an individual feeling apathetic and hopeless about the future, thus reducing the apparent importance of any long-term work or academic aspirations and increasing the appeal of effectively inconsequential but immediately gratifying activities such as computer gaming.
The often solitary and effectively meaningless nature of computer gaming makes it even more dangerous in this regard, and various vicious cycles can develop as an affected individuals self-worth can become ever more diminished by loneliness, fatigue, obesity, poor hygiene, an inability to communicate successfully with others, lessened employment or career prospects, guilt and shame, and even a poor performance within a game or games.
Video Game Addiction Symptoms Causes And Effects
Although it is not yet recognized by the American Medical Association as a diagnosable disorder, video game addiction is a very real problem for many people. According to the University of New Mexico, recent studies suggest that 6 to 15 percent of all gamers exhibit signs that could be characterized as addiction. Though this disorder can have significant consequences to those suffering from it, its signs and symptoms can sometimes be very difficult to recognize.
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When Gaming Becomes An Addiction
Not all researchers agree that video gaming is a harmful or addictive activity. Many people, including parents, believe that video games expand the imagination, give children the opportunity to work collaboratively, and sharpen cognitive skills. Yet when young people spend most of their time playing video games at the expense of schoolwork, physical exercise, family events, or social activities, the benefits of gaming seem less certain.
There is some controversy over whether video gaming is an addiction comparable to gambling, drug abuse, or alcoholism.
Psychology Today states that the comparison between video gaming and gambling is flawed, because there are no financial stakes or material losses involved with video games. Winning a video game requires cognitive skills and sharp reflexes, while winning at gambling is a matter of luck.
However, according to WebMD, video game addiction can be considered a type of impulse control disorder.
The source of the addictive quality of gaming is still unknown, but researchers propose that the process of playing and winning these games may trigger a release of dopamine, a brain chemical that elevates mood and provides a rush of energy. Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter involved in other addictive activities, such as alcohol or drug abuse.
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Seeking Help And Treatment
Video games have had a tremendous impact both positive and negative on the cultural attitudes, psychological development, and lifestyle choices of both children and adults. While these games can be viewed as a risk to players physical or emotional health, they have also been promoted as effective educational tools and have even been used for physical or cognitive rehabilitation in clinical settings. Yet for individuals who have become caught in a cycle of compulsive gaming, video games can become destructive.The growing popularity of video games has created a new awareness of the problem of compulsive gaming, which in turn has led to the development of treatment programs for this addictive process. Treatment for video game addiction focuses on behavioral modification therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , that guide the client away from the obsessive thought patterns and obsessive habits of addiction. Group therapy is a valuable source of motivation and moral support, especially for individuals who have lost contact with friends or peers as a result of their game addiction. Family or marriage counseling can help educate loved ones about the disorder and create a more stable home environment.
What Types Of Behavior Does Our Brain Encourage And Discourage
A good way to classify these needs and the complex behaviors we build on their basis is through Maslows pyramid. It suggests a hierarchical order in which we fulfill our needs and also assumes that until we fulfill the lowest needs, we dont care much about those above. It also divides these needs into two groups: deficiency needs which are directly connected to our survival and growth needs which have to do more with our psychology and strategies for living our lives to the fullest.
Each of these needs prescribes tons of activities that our brain would eventually classify as contributing to or impeding our survival, either in the short or in the long term. But while the deficiency needs suggest a clear-cut good behavior as a response e.g. youre hungry so you should eat the good behavior driven by the growth needs is much harder to define.
Say, youre hungry and instead of eating at McDonalds you go to a Michelin star restaurant. While both options cover the lowest physiological needs, for some of us, such behavior would also address the esteem needs and make us feel twice as good. However, that depends on our cultural background and values: some might consider that as an inappropriate indulgence or simply something not contributing to their social status. In this case, the esteem needs wont be met.
But how does our brain ensure that we do the good thing whatever that thing is and steer clear of destructive behaviors?
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