Podcast 42: Tracking Our Mobile Game Affinities

This episode’s guest expert, Ishai Smadja from King

It’s that time of year where there are some holiday get-togethers and travel may be coming up, so maybe I should make sure I’ve got a decent mobile game on my phone to pass the time. Looking at my phone I’ve got Threes, Lara Croft Go, Desert Golfing, Candy Crush Saga, Hoplite, and something called Solitarica. All good games, but all kind of old. Maybe it’s time to download something new… But what, out of the billions of choices out there, should I play? How do I know what I might like?

Psychology pretty consistently tells us that when we have too many choices we look for strategies and heuristics for making those decisions easier. And what’s more, much of this happens with little to no conscious thought. Our brains have evolved to become really good at applying these kinds of decision-making rules and we tend to apply them automatically or let them be guided by gut instinct and emotion. In short, we develop an affinity for certain types of mobile games, and then we let that affinity drive our decision about what to play next.

But how does this process work, and what are the different aspects of games that we develop an affinity for? Can game designers measure these kinds of stated or internal preferences and use that information to market games to us or even decide what kinds of games to make? What are the potential costs and benefits of this kind of approach to the industry and to players? These are the kinds of questions that I will discuss with Ishai Smadja, a Product Manager with the Experimentation Group at mobile game developer, King.

Show Notes

Audio Credits

  • Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.
  • “Bit Quest” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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