How obscuring players’ understanding of what’s going on might actually help them enjoy it more.
I talk to veteran game designer Jason Vandenberghe, who has turned to psychology and personality theory to understand and empathize with what kinds of experiences gamers want.
Why universities and other institutions offering degrees in the gaming industry are having students take Psychology 101.
Three lessons about the psychology of in-game purchases, illustrated by Destiny 2’s Tess Everis.
Today’s special guest contributor tells us how to use psychology to make loot boxes truly evil.
In which we apply some lessons from the psychology behind combining losses and gains to leveling up in video games.
Horizon: Zero Dawn’s hunting challenges make good use of goal setting psychology, but here’s how they could do a little better.
How a few seconds with one trick from social psychology may help players get along better.
Why do people play games that simulate jobs, even their own jobs that they spend hours doing every day?
Here’s little psychological trick Heroes of the Storm uses to make us feel better about our performance after a match…
How one bit of negative information in a game review or forum post can color our entire perception of a game.
A cognitive bias helps explain why some people insist that they carry the whole team in online competitive games.
How being good at games can make you more open to improving other parts of your self.
What we can learn from Blizzard’s changes to Overwatch about creating a sense of procedural fairness.
How one simple trick from the psychology of persuasion could lead to better gaming experiences.
How checklists and quest logs get us to keep playing.
How a certain kind of deliberate practice might help gamers get good.
How rewarding Overwatch players with bonus loot boxes may push them back towards Quick Play.
Can the presence of NPCs affect our performance the same as having real people watching us?
How achievements, trophies, and badges in games can lower player motivation under the wrong circumstances.
How failure can feel like success and motivate you to keep playing under the right circumstances.
Twitch has added microtransactions as a way to support streamers. Cool. But what are some psychological quirks at play?
Do achievements, badges, and trophies in video games work? If so, why?
How Dark Souls 3 taught me to be a better parent by encouraging me to embrace failure.
Wait. Don’t identify that loot yet. You’ll enjoy it more.
Video: How a small tweak to Blizzard’s new game might nudge people towards sportsmanship.
Four free talks from the Game’s Developer Conference about psychology and video games.
Why some games and some experiences make us feel more helpless than others –and what designers can do about it.
Why are some games better than others at getting us to just keep playing without taking a break?
The 2015 Steam Winter Sale has ditched the daily and flash deals. Here’s why I think that may be a bad idea.
How a simple choice of words can bias your choices in video games, such as what NPC factions to support.
In celebration of Halloween, let’s look at some of the psychology behind why people like scary video games.
“Wii U” sounds silly, but Nintendo’s consoles might be benefiting a little from what’s known as the fluency effect.
An old technique from film making has psychological roots that reach into the world of video games.
How do gaming Kickstarters that rely on nostalgia make use of our irrational decision-making?
How do players react and what social comparisons do they make when others pay real money for in-game advantages?
How the irrational way we treat “free” as a price in games can lead us astray …or keep us on track.
What do the ending of the Mass Effect series and a painful medical procedure have in common? They both illustrate how memory and evaluation of experiences interact.
Some recent research suggests how to predict whether motion controls and other weird peripherals will lead to frustration or enjoyment.
3 psychological phenomena that can help determine the success (or failure) of a Kickstarter video game pitch.
All it may take to get people to spend money in free to play games is one well placed countdown timer.
Has anyone ever done research on whether playing on the red team or the blue gives one a mental edge in games? Yep.
How can information about players’ scores and other accomplishments be framed so as to motivate them to compete and try to do better than other players? Let’s explore 3 psychological phenomena that can help.
Destiny’s loot system leaves out one very important component that could make playing the game more compulsive and habit forming. But it adds in another that might be prolonging player enjoyment after getting a sweet loot drop.
Sony just launched its PlayStation Now service that lets you rent access to streaming games. The pricing seems a bit odd to some, but it actually uses some well established psychological tricks to nudge you towards the option that Sony wants you to take. Allow me to explain…
Does violent content in video games cause violence in real-life? Or might something more mundane like frustration over controls and difficulty offer an alternative explanation?
Products frequently try to appeal to group membership when marketing to gamers, but a new study shows when this “you’re not a real gamer if you don’t buy this” approach is likely to backfire.
What do Dark Souls and Thomas Was Alone have in common with a cartoon from 1944? They all illustrate how we’re biased to fill in story gaps based on our own experiences and beliefs.
Why do we feel like we have a real relationship and feelings for characters like Ellie in The Last of Us? The psychology behind parasocial relationships explains why video games are better at this than any other medium.
My wife was once highly offended by a cartoon mole, and the story highlights how a simple attack on self-concept can reduce the frequency and severity of cheating in video games.