Good video games are a little like meth – highly addictive. Just ask my son (about games, not drugs!). In my house we have a term “video game anger” which is the rabid haze kids (and their Dads) can go into when forced to quit playing. Just one more level, pleeease!
This is no accident. Video game developers know exactly what they’re doing and have it down to a science. Still, around 70% of players will quit a game within the first 30 days. If you’re a video game developer or a meth dealer (I’ve been watching too much Breaking Bad) this means you need to figure out how to make your product even more addictive.
That’s where data scientists at Playnomics come in. They want to be the “Walter White’s” of the video game business, with algorithms to predict when users will quit. By figuring out who’s likely to quit, why, and what can make them stay (and spend money), Playnomics helps developers intervene and tweak their products. Apparently, players who stay hooked during the first two days play 334% more overall.
Imagine you’re about to solve a level you’ve spent all day on. You haven’t taken a shower. You’ve been drinking Mountain Dew all day and eating Captain Crunch. Then you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think “dude, I look awful. I’d better stop playing and mow the lawn like I promised my wife.” It takes a lot of willpower, but you finally convince yourself to break away. Then, out of the blue, a window pops up on your screen that says:
“It looks like you’re about to take a break. That’s too bad because you’re almost to the finish line. If you stay and finish the level we’ll give you 350 free bonus points and two extra upgrades.”
Will power… broken. Lawn… not mowed. Video game anger… inevitable. Breaking bad indeed.
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