2. The psychologists dont agree. Despite the seeming objectivity of this technique, these meta-analytic reviews reached markedly different conclusions. http://www.behavior.org/education/bhan-24-1-1.pdf
3. There are no direct studies. http:// video.nytimes.com/video/2008/11/21/magazine/1194833565213/immersion.html
Double Header Analysis: Xbox Live Achievement Data and Intellectual Property Trends in Video Games Geoffrey Zatkin and Jesse Divnich, EEDAR Geoffrey Zatkin and Jesse Divnich, EEDAR Friday 4:30pm 5:30pm Friday 4:30pm 5:30pm Room 130, North Hall Room 130, North Hall
Disclaimer: This lecture is not about how to sell more games.
Confession: I ignore achievements while Im playing games.
numbingly repetitive filled with anecdotes blatantly biased agendas
ten·den·tious also ten·den·cious (tn-dnshs) (tn-dnshs) adj. adj. Marked by a strong implicit point of view; partisan: a tendentious account of the recent elections. Marked by a strong implicit point of view; partisan: a tendentious account of the recent elections.
What they can agree on: 1.Tangible, Expected, Contingent Rewards Reduce Free-Choice IM 2.Verbal, Unexpected, Informational Feedback Increases Free-Choice & Self-Reported IM For interesting tasks,
Even just these two results are huge. How do they extend to games?
Gameification & Pop Behaviorism We dont have any issues with rewards that are even more tangible, like giving your kid money for a straight-A report card… as long as we are comfortable with who is setting up the reward and what criteria. – Raph Koster Jesse Schells DICE 2010 Talk
It would be brilliant if you got, say, money credited to your PSN account for finishing games - you know, a real-life reward. That'd get you playing. - Mike Jackson, CVG UK Gameification & Pop Behaviorism
Im not saying these people are wrong. I dont know. Im saying there is a lot of data out there that implies they might be very wrong, and we need to study this to keep our art form healthy.
Games are the only art and entertainment form where the opportunity and mechanism for feedback is built into the form itself.
Note: These results are for interesting tasks. I was going to present the data for dull tasks…
Why are you making games? If youre intentionally making dull games with variable ratio extrinsic motivators to separate people from their money, you have my pity. If youre making intrinsically interesting games and want to make them even better, be very careful with extrinsic motivators.
The Nightmare Self-Fulfilling Scenario 1. make an intrinsically interesting game, congratulations! 2. use extrinsic motivators to make your game better 3. destroy intrinsic motivation to play your game 4. metrics fetishism pushes you towards designs where EM works 5. BONUS: women lose even more IM than men do given EM!
Common Buts Players like them! Our data shows they work! We make lots of money! Just ignore them if you dont like them! They show players different way of playing!
But if all this research applies, players who arent ignoring them are (unwittingly) being affected by this IM reduction, which changes everything about the play environment. But, Just Ignore Them!
I used to play Gears of War on-line. That game had a restriction where you couldn't get achievement points for on-line play unless you played ranked matches. I don't give a fuck about achievements, but I had to play ranked matches all the time anyways, because no good players would ever play unranked. But of course, ranked matches don't allow you to play with your friends, because that might aid you in cheating, so, you'd have to do ridiculous machinations to actually play a decent game with your friends (like trying to narrow the possible servers, then joining and unjoining games before they started until you saw your friend pop up on the board). Casey Muratori
But, They Show Different Playstyles! There is nothing that says pointing out a potential alternate playstyle needs to be tied to a reward, and it wasnt, historically.
SpyParty (prototype) So, whats my plan? 1.Hope somebody publishes a study. 2.Hope they become optional. 3.Follow some guidelines…
Minimizing the Damage Dont make a big fuss about them. Use unexpected rewards. Use absolute, not relative measures. Use endogenous rewards. Make them informational, not controlling. Kohn, p. 92
Call to Action! The industry needs to start studying the long term impact of achievements on players. Developers need to be better versed in the literature and more thoughtful about the consequences of extrinsic motivators.