Games developers have some of the most enviable jobs in the world – but also some of the most difficult. It’s a tough job keeping audiences as excited as they need to be in order to not just buy and enjoy the latest games, but to act as an amplifier for the brand and the franchise to extol the virtues to their audience. There are many ways in which those who develop and host the games attempt to get the gaming population on board – from marketing tricks and ploys to investments in the game itself. So how exactly do games developers keep us coming back for more? Two easy ways: one, they make us think we’re saving money, the other by making us want to spend more money.
Taking a page from the book of every other successful industry is the special offer. Consumers are hard-wired to be more inclined to make a purchase if they feel as though they are getting something for a discounted price and that there is a limited amount of time in order to do this. For instance, Steam often offer certain games at a discounted price if they are bought at a certain time, while Xbox Live has special offers for certain members at certain times. Indeed, online gaming also has a similar way of hooking in players as the bingo offers at LuckyPantsBingo.com attest to. These offers are in the form of welcome bonuses, which could incentivize players to choose one site over another, especially if they are getting something extra for what they would have been buying anyway. Special offers could be the deciding factor between opting for a game or not.
Another way in which players are encouraged to become invested in a game and therefore become its biggest fan is the opposite to special offers: the games developers make you buy something. Whether this is a special currency in Fortnite that allows for in-game purchases to make your gaming experience more competitive or the map packs in Call of Duty – that have also been a seasonal subscription service. In-game purchases mean that as a player has invested in the game, they will be more likely to continue playing it, overlooking any downsides, and acting as an ambassador for people they know – if for no reason than to justify spending money on the game. Even Pokemon Go has in-app purchases that increase the likelihood of catching a rarer Pokemon, while the mobile version of The Sims allows players to splash their cash to benefit the life of their avatar. It simply works through cognitive dissonance – I paid for this game, therefore I must really like it.
Games developers may not have reinvented the wheel with each new game, but they do a good job of keeping players excited and happy to play. Whether this is through a special offer that entices new and old players to join the franchise or an in-game purchase that makes a player more likely to become loyal to the brand.