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  1. #21
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    Month earlier:
    http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/Ramin...ame_Dosing.php

    How is the dosing model valuable to interactive media companies? By understanding how it works, you can capture all consumer dosing levels and keep them linked to your franchise. This can multiply your revenues easily. Right now almost all companies provide products at only one dose level. This means that every time they put out a new product, they just end up stealing gamers from their last product. If a high dose company like Blizzard (the makers of World of Warcraft) wanted to increase their number of customers, they would start making low and medium dose products linked to their existing franchises. Grab those new gamers entering the space and teach them what it means to be a Blizzard customer. This makes capturing those consumers, and steering them to your higher dose products as they mature, a simple matter. Don't let companies like Zynga capture those consumers first and teach them not to play Blizzard games.The same advice applies to Zynga and other “casual” or low dose game companies. Don't wait for your customers to mature and get bored with your products. You already have their attention and they are familiar with your brands. Instead of making new low dose products that will just cannibalize your existing products, start introducing medium dose products. Your low dose customers won't stay low dose forever just because they are women. Trust me, dopamine works just as well on women as it does on men. There is no reason why a company with the resources of Zynga can't ultimately make high dose games, other than that they don't know how to yet.
    Once companies start following an approach of “cradle to grave” customer capture based on the dosing model, keeping customers and monetizing them gets a lot easier. My final cautionary note is that dopamine, like any good thing, can be bad for you if you get too much. Players get fatigued very quickly in the most intense games and need to be given rest breaks. This is part of the reason for the success of games like World of Tanks and League of Legends that can be consumed in small chunks.

    [Now in 2013 I have been using the term Dopamine Driven Design (DDD) privately for the last year to describe the use of techniques to optimize dopamine delivery in interactive media products. It is my belief that DDD is being used on a very rudimentary level in most social network and many mobile games currently. One company, Riot Games, has been deploying DDD capable scientists to optimize their product on a level that is beyond rudimentary. Most if not all major studios have been creating business intelligence units to optimize engagement, which in my opinion is tremendously inefficient without the presence of an embedded DDD capable scientist.


    It is my belief that the use of DDD is an essential next step in the evolution of interactive media, which will allow it to meet the entertainment needs of 21st Century humans. When used for entertainment, DDD can be of great benefit to society. When used to manipulate people, it can create social ill. Knowing far in advance that I would eventually be publishing Game Dosing, and that the information here could be used to manipulate people, I have published a number of papers in the last year explaining the associated risks.]
    The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks.php

    Monetizing Children

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    I have not read the article.

    But the TL;DR seems that dopamine don't make things fun, make people expect a reward. That you can learn, have fun, etc.. without dopamine. This disconnect skinner box from fun. The birds in the skinner box are not (necessarily) having fun.
    Basically the idea is that devs were claiming that their psychological manipulation was okay because they were using it to cause fun, but its possible its actually an unfun compulsion. People aren't necessarily paying all that money because they get value from the project but because they can't help it.

  3. #23
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    Yeah Ramin posts a ton of interesting stuff. His blogs are really popular on Gamasutra. I think he cuts companies too much slack though.

  4. #24
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Addicts is addicts. Lots of junkies are not exactly 'having fun'.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Synopsis:
    It is the year 2135. A lone space marine is out to close a portal straight to Hell, opened by scientists who were descendants of the developers and marketing department who gave us "Free to Play" games. He fought against the demons, but he is the demons. And then he was a zombie.

    Serious Synopsis:
    Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that people keep saying is linked to pleasurable feedback encouraging people to keep seeking that stimulus despite the fact that neuroscience is complex, but hell podcasters know everything so screw it. It goes on to talk about dopamine and gaming, notably that studies suggest dopamine itself isn't directly involved in "liking" something (e.g. a patient with Parkinson's Disease, despite having problems with dopamine, can still like things or find enjoyment in things). Then they thought maybe it has a role in learning but that seems to be wrong too. It might however have something to do with motivations and desire to gain rewards.

    Conclusions that have been abstracted to include games and may raise dopamine levels and maybe prompt "desire for reward":
    - Unpredictable loot drops (thanks Valve for the random drops)
    - Meaningful, unusual or new rewards (thanks Valve for six billion weapons, cards, hats...)
    - Progression towards a reward encourages you to continue even if it's an illusion
    - Keeping what you already have
    - Large numbers (10xp to reach 100xp vs 1000xp to reach 10000xp)
    - Basically, games need to be designed to make you want to play it rather than just being fun or liked, presumably by offering rewards for play... if you want to be evil and if the dopamine theory is correct.

    The term "Free to play" doesn't appear in the article.
    I never thought I'd see the day, but wow. That's rather a good write up from you. :) ;)

    On topic too, there is little to sway me in seeing that people can become addicted to gambling just as other addictions. People then may require help to come off such an addiction. Any commerce that tries to play such an addiction, computer games or whatever, is undesirable to me.

    "F2P" is not bad, but neither is "cola [with a small amount of sugar]". Except there is also "cola [with 10 teaspoons of sugar]". It's just we're use to the latter and not the former. Thus "Cola is bad for your teeth". ;)
    Last edited by TechnicalBen; 29-08-2013 at 05:31 PM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnicalBen View Post
    I never thought I'd see the day, but wow. That's rather a good write up from you. :) ;)
    Back handed compliment best compliment.

  7. #27
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post
    Back handed compliment best compliment.
    My preference is damning with faint praise.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    My preference is damning with faint praise.
    I like the Like buttons. You like someone's post and they get all happy and then 2 days later they see you like a gif of a puppy pooping on another puppy and realize you have low standards.

  9. #29
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    If it weren't for Soldant, there'd be nothing worth reading in this thread.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Synopsis:
    Basically, games need to be designed to make you want to play it rather than just being fun or liked, presumably by offering rewards for play... if you want to be evil and if the dopamine theory is correct.
    The claims about dopamine's role - indeed pretty much of any neurological claims - are entirely orthogonal to the (largely uncontroversial) claims that:
    1) Desire is different to compulsion.
    2) Sometimes we play games more out of compulsion than desire.
    3) Some people try to design games around compulsion rather than desire.

    (I don't think 1 or 2 are at all controversial, are they?)
    Last edited by Zetetic; 29-08-2013 at 08:52 PM.

  11. #31
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    Yeah, I tend to think of it as compulsive versus compelling. Still, it's as subjective as anything. I happen to quite like Candy Crush, for example. I think it's a well designed match 3. I don't mind trying the tougher levels a bunch of times, not least because I feel like good judgement gets me through them faster. For me, it's as compelling as it is compulsive.

    I imagine lots of people find it otherwise. I've never given them a cent, or even linked up with my Facebook account- for me, it's as compelling as it is compulsive.

  12. #32
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    Yeah. When people say "I just paid £5 to protect my castle while I'm on holiday. See, I'm not addicted to this F2P, they don't have me over a barrel, and there is no 'con' going on in the gameplay" followed by "It's the same as buying a game, or getting a powerup in Mario." I can only feel they are justifying compulsion, not desire.

    If it was desire it would be the same as "I like the look of these shoes" or "I prefer to play with the expensive set of irons". Instead of "I can buy this pretty thing in the game" or "I can buy this well crafted thing" it's "I can buy my way out of this arbitrarily set limit to keep me compettitive [by paying to win] in a game".

  13. #33
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnicalBen View Post
    Yeah. When people say "I just paid £5 to protect my castle while I'm on holiday. See, I'm not addicted to this F2P
    Thats not addiction, its a sense of responsibility and investment.


    At least addiction can be exciting.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  14. #34
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    I was thinking as much as anything that I've read a few game reviews where the writer finds themselves continuing to play a game but gradually becoming aware that they weren't really enjoying it. I've certainly had those moments of reflection where I've found myself almost miserably progressing a game of Civ onwards for the sake of doing so.

  15. #35
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    So.. what we sould do with this information? start getting our friends away from RPG games ?

  16. #36
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    So.. what we sould do with this information? start getting our friends away from RPG games ?
    Since 1996
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  17. #37
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    So.. what we sould do with this information? start getting our friends away from RPG games ?
    My main reaction is to reflect on tediousness and padding in games I've played. Things I went through with only because I wanted to get to the other side. I know that's not the core issue being discussed, but I think it's related. It is acceptable design practice to throw up immense quantities of stuff that is uninteresting, unchallenging and repetitive as long as it is compulsion-inducing or as long as it doesn't stop players from enjoying the rest of the game. ARPGs and MMOs are notorious for this, but they aren't alone.

    I remember the boring scanning mini-game in Mass Effect 2 and how the Mass Effect 3 solution was not to eliminate scanning but to remove everything about it that made it even remotely game-like to produce a less wearying but ultimately even more pointless mechanic. What bothers me most is how a designer comes to make these decisions. What seems compelling about giving gamers a choice that amounts to a 1% difference in damage output? Or forcing gamers to complete a task that requires no skill, attention or investment just for the sake of token obstruction? Is the player any worse off if they never have to make that choice? A rule of thumb I use as a tabletop game-master is that you don't call for a roll unless failure is interesting; you don't offer an explicit, sign-posted choice unless there's something interesting about all available paths. It seems there are entire video game genres dedicated to violating this rule.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 29-08-2013 at 11:17 PM.
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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnicalBen View Post
    I never thought I'd see the day, but wow. That's rather a good write up from you. :) ;)
    I'll take whatever complements I can get ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    If it weren't for Soldant, there'd be nothing worth reading in this thread.
    Sometimes (only very rarely) I contribute positively.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    So.. what we sould do with this information?
    Nothing, it's a load of referenced conjecture regarding neurotransmitters and what it might mean for entertainment. A bunch of wanna-be mindhacker-marketeers will probably try to make something of it but the only thing the industry cares about is whether it makes money, not theories on neurotransmitter activity in rats.
    Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.
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  19. #39
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    The neuroscience is almost a distraction from the psychology - it's surely worthwhile having a greater awareness of the various approaches that game companies certainly believe will help they make money of you, regardless of the witterings about underlying neurochemistry.

    Better to be able to recognise more easily when someone has built a game - intentionally or otherwise - that encourages continued rather compulsive engagement rather than (perhaps, because I certainly wouldn't consider them exclusive) something you enjoy returning to. Better also to more easily recognise your own behaviour and reflect more easily on whether you really want to keep playing this or at least why you want to.
    Last edited by Zetetic; 30-08-2013 at 01:49 AM.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    My main reaction is to reflect on tediousness and padding in games I've played. Things I went through with only because I wanted to get to the other side. I know that's not the core issue being discussed, but I think it's related. It is acceptable design practice to throw up immense quantities of stuff that is uninteresting, unchallenging and repetitive as long as it is compulsion-inducing or as long as it doesn't stop players from enjoying the rest of the game. ARPGs and MMOs are notorious for this, but they aren't alone.

    I remember the boring scanning mini-game in Mass Effect 2...
    I haven't played ME3, so I can't comment, but I can't even envisage the design process that led to the scanning. How do you go from design to implementation to testing and still keep that in there? "Yes, this is clearly a worthy and interesting thing that adds to our game!"

    They wanted to gate some content, and the only thing they could come up with was time, and made an activity that made me resent that time in an otherwise excellent game. So odd.

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