How to make your user’s everyday healthy online gameplay habit.

If you are seeking for making a daily healthy online gameplay habit for your user on a game platform then this article might be helpful for you and here you will learn some psychology behind gameplay and some tricks to build a healthy habit.

Happy reading… :)

If you play any types of games and I ask you why do you like playing games, what would be your short answer?

  • Because it’s fun! most of you agree with this answer right? but what makes it fun? do you have any idea what happens in your brain when playing any of your favorite games? Then, Let’s understand it at first.

So, a hormone called “Dopamine is responsible for all sorts of behavior. This is the hormone that gives you joy and makes you happy as example when you are playing the favorite game on your mobile that time the brain releases some amount of dopamine that makes you engage and at the same time you are getting happy too.

Let’s take an example:

Imagine you and your friend preparing to play FIFA 20 on Saturday evening, each and every time you score a goal you feel joyful and more engaged and another side if your friend(new games) who does not play well, he seems to lose interest and if you ask him to play the same game again, most of the times he will tell you to play another game or do some other activity

But why it’s like that?

  • When you accomplish something(here each and every time you score a goal), your brain releases dopamine, and the dopamine reward circuit gets activated, which makes you feel satisfied and you are kind of addicted to this hormone, so you want to replicate the same action.
  • But on the other side, your friend doesn’t enjoy it because his dopamine level is much less compared to yours, so he doesn’t want to continue this game.

Now let’s understand the different psychological phases of a new gamer:

We have identified the various psychological phases of the gamer so far and we have observed that too much dopamine release could lead to addiction and the uninstallation of the app could result.

So now the question is how to make your user’s everyday healthy online gameplay habit?

If you see in the above diagram, Phase 1 is where a gamer begins playing here, so he would enjoy a lot due to the high level of dopamine sensitivity and Phase 2 where a gamer plays regularly as a consequence of his/her dopamine sensitivity becomes stable but does not enjoy Phase 1 and this is the state where a gamer makes a healthy habit, but keep in mind does not let your user cross Phase 2, it causes an addiction and that is not only bad for the user, it could also affect the business.

Below I will be sharing some tips on how to make your user’s everyday healthy online gameplay habit:

What is a habit?

“A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously” (Wikipedia). In other words, it is a pattern of behaviors we repeat almost without even thinking about it.

How does habit build?

There are three key ingredients to a good habit.

  1. Cue: It is a signal to a person to do something.
  2. Routine: Performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason(automatic response).
  3. Rewards: Give something to (someone) in recognition of their services, efforts, or achievements.

Now let’s understand how we can build habits in Gaming, We have seen that habits are made up of a cue and a routine. We want to establish a connection between multiple habits in an effort to enhance their creativity. We want habits to be new cues. Let me make that clear with an example:

  • You see that you have notifications on your smartphone. That’s a cue.
  • You check your notifications and read through them. That’s a routine. But that’s also a cue!
  • You click on your Clash Royale notification and play a quick game. That’s a new routine based on your habit of checking notifications.

As they extend established mechanisms, those types of habits quickly form.

If you want your users to get used to the feeling of your game, you have to see whether or not the links between relevant hints and routines are linked to your design favorites. This corresponds to the concept of the feedback loop in terms of game design.

The feedback loop

A feedback loop functions as such in video games:

A. The player has a mental image of the structure of your game and of their short-term goal.

B. He acts as a result (pressing a button…).

C. Based on its ruleset, the game’s system treats the input.

D. It sends the player some feedback (animation, ai answer, score bonus…).

E. This feedback is interpreted by the player and the player updates their mental image of the structure of your game and once again, the loop continues!

Healthy habit

We have to think about another side of the game also like long-term retention does not only rely on habit formation rather It relies on healthy habit formation. We want our users to keep coming back to the game in a positive way. We want our users to have a pleasant experience hence we have to keep in mind below two points:

1. Control over user’s triumph circuit: You might be wondering what is Triumph Circuit? We have a circuit in our brain that correlates the amount of challenge we face with the amount of triumph we feel that is called the triumph circuit.

In this instance, when you beat the score of your friends or maybe you cross the level of the game after playing five times and win a new trophy as a result of enabling your trium circuit and giving you the joy of victory, you begin to feel that something big is accomplished by your brain.

Clash Royale game does a clever and smooth job here, after playing 20 games (daily game limit) in a day they will display this message saying that you can still play the game, but you will not earn any new rewards as a result of the next time your triumph circuit will not activate and you will stop playing slowly for that day.

2. Implement a daily reward system: Lately so many gaming apps as well as some other apps also started approaching daily reward systems to bring their customer daily into their app as a result it creates a daily habit for a user.

It is a strategy called an everyday reward because when a player unlocks rewards at the same time the dopamine release makes the moment memorable, and as a result, that player loves to come in this app just to redeem his rewards every day.

Summery

When we designers play with our users’ psychology, we need to be careful about the ethics of our design choices. There is a fine line between encouraging lifelong behaviors to be formed and encouraging addiction. Let us face it: games are, by nature, addictive. They satisfy our need for constructive feedback quickly. Games are very good at creating and reinforcing habits, and that is the reason why gamification is so popular for a few years and it uses almost every field: education, business, life coaching, apps, and more. It rewards you with points every few seconds, whenever you successfully completed a task. In other words, it gives you continuous feedback and breaks your learning path into tiny chunks.

Please applaud if you like it.

Thank you :)

UX design and researcher