Thursday, September 12, 2013

Casual Connect 2013: The Four Most Important Emotions for Free-to-Play Casual Games

by Nicole Lazzaro, Founder & President, XEODesign
·         Summary: The four key emotions are fiero, curiosity, amusement, and desire. You can tap into these emotions by making the store fun to explore, allowing for social play, making items feel special, and making purchasing a part of the play experience.
·         You can increase purchasing with emotions from play. Nicole has a degree in psychology from Stanford and deals with play experience consulting.
·         What’s working now is to have engagement loops that drive purchasing. Multiple loops increase the number of engagement points.
·         Emotions help us focus, remember, decide, perform, and learn. The four key emotions are fiero, curiosity, amusement, and desire. They map to the four main actions… compete, explore, socialize, and collect.
·         Curiosity (easy fun) – encourage exploration of the store, tell story with descriptions, make sure you get the player to click on the items to read the descriptions
·         Fiero (hard fun) – have goals and obstacles that require strategy to overcome, give opportunity to compete and win, give challenge and mystery, make players earn the right to buy something from the store, gamify the store so that you buy items to unlock other items for purchasing, have missions that require shopping to get people in the habit, Tiny Tower’s shop for currency exchange is a tiny game itself and players feel smart for understanding the conversion rate strategy
·         Amusement (people fun) – include communication, have cooperation or competition, encourage friendship and social bonds, employ silliness to build trust (ie. Tiny Tower’s costume shop), have social comparison with friends using leaderboards or map progression, have funny things because people will share amusing things
·         Desire (serious fun) – increase the perception of value, give tactile impressions of worth (by giving items good graphics and satisfying audio)
·         Takeaways – make the store fun using amusing stories, allow players to play to progress (as well as pay), allow customization, show players that you care by being generous, make purchasing part of the play experience.
My takeaways – Her breakdown of the four emotions map directly to Richard Bartle’s test of gamer psychology. There are killers (hard fun and fiero), achievers (serious fun and desire), explorers (easy fun and curiosity), and socializers (people fun and amusement). 

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