The Secret to Gaming Engagement - Unveiling truth on how to increase gamer participation!
Topic: Tips on how to increase traffic and usage of your game by adding the needed elements to enhance the gaming experience.
Tips to Creating Engaging Games
As part of my research in college, while I was in grad school, we looked at how to increase engagement on interactive media and games. We looked at personality traits that were more prone to gaming and less prone to gaming activities. We also compared different console, social, educational and mobile games to understand what the gamers enjoyed and what increased their motivation to play. Here are the results of our findings.
It’s an Audio & Visual Experience!
Many games out there have great graphics and you see a huge emphasizes on the look and feel of the game itself. For the most part, the focus that I have seen is placed more on the visual elements and less on the audio components. This is a huge mistake! Audio elements are even more important than the visual graphics that you add to your games!
Lets take a look at some popular games that have a kick butt soundtrack!
Run, Stick, Run! Really? This is popular? Yup, and if you play the original one, you will see that the soundtrack used in the game is quite appealing.
A Bike Race of Slender’s Temple – So, many have asked how a friend of ours has been so successful in ranking the charts with every game that he makes. The graphics are similar to many other games in our circle of friends. You can visually see that the designs are not that complex, but the soundtrack enhances the movement of the gameplay. Every single game, there is this cinematic production that is happening when you are playing the game.
Think of a movie…you can have a slow motion person walking a street and with the right soundtrack that simple movement turns into a cinematic moment that captures your audience and impacts them emotionally with the scene. It’s the same with games. You need to create a soundtrack that appeals to your audience. It has to engage them through “multi”media elements and audio plays an essential role in this process.
So, ask yourself the question, “Is my game a cinematic moment?”
If you play the game and you are not audibly engaged, you need to tweak your soundtrack and add more to it. Give it that cinematic engagement and you will connect your audience with your games.
But wait there is more…
Add Schedules of Reinforcement!
What the heck does that mean? Well, if you are a Psych major, you have studied Operant Conditioning and a dude’s research name B.F. Skinner. He looked at the various types of reinforcement schedules that you can add to condition a person’s behavior. In gaming…well, gambling, You want to reinforce the gaming with rewards. If you look at the gambling world, the rewards are normally on a variable scale (meaning you dont know if it will be the 3rd time you play or the 50th time you play that you will be rewarded), this increases your gamer’s desire to keep playing. Most games out there are on a ratio scale with rewards, you can reach a high score or the next level (so, it’s at a ratio of 1:1). That sucks for your engagement! It means that once the person reaches that goal..their gameplay reduces dramatically, sometimes stops and they never come back to play. There is no further reward to play, so why bother?
However, take a look at how World of War Craft rewards their gamers. What do they do to increase the engagement? Simple! They introduce challenges that you do not get a ratio scale reward, these tasks can be that you have to beat levels or find items and you never know how many or for how long. You have no idea but you have to beat the level so you try everything you can to do so. At some point, you get rewarded and it increases your desire to continue to play.
So, if you are developing a game, ask yourself this question “Do I have enough schedules of reinforcement?” How are you implementing those rewards and what are you doing to ensure that your players find it challenging enough but also rewarding enough to continue to play.
Multiplayer Challenges are a Must!
Make your virtual environment a social event and add challenges that the players have to unite to defeat the tasks and levels. This is the biggest motivator that can be added to your games. Games like Call of Duty and World of WarCraft, etc. they create tasks that take more than one player to complete. They also add the element of time sensitivity to the mix, which increases engagement frequency. You may only have 3 days to gather 5 players to help you find some item or defeat some enemy in order to acquire some power or open a door to something else. Can you see the schedules of rewards and reinforcement of behavior in that? This is what increases the engagement and motivates your gamers to come back and unite and continue to play your game. So, be sure you spend time on this and incorporate the right challenges into your game.
If you are beginning your journey in gaming development and app development, the best solution for you to start is to add multiplayer into your games. One of the best solutions that I cover is in adding NextPeer and GameStream. You can do this easily and it will increase your engagement numbers.
Game Storytelling is Essential!
We have probably all hear that telling a story with your games is very important and some games have very elaborate story lines that tell an epic adventure, a saga or tale that is centuries in the making. No matter what your story is make sure you research what the audience wants. Be creative with this because there are different personalities out there and they all want to play a different story. Know your audience and know the story they prefer. Also, keep this story and audience match in mind when you are promoting and marketing your game. By this time, you will know exactly who your audience is and what motivates them. Make sure you create a great trailer and marketing material that enticing them and brings them closer to your game.
Ok, well that is enough app gaming information for now..I will add a Part II to this blog post to go over personality traits and how this affects the engaging of more or less with your games. Hopefully, this will help you on your next gaming or app development project!
Please be sure to post and let me know what other topics and gaming research information you would like discussed. I will be posting more on this topic and will answer your questions as well.