Neuroscience tells us that games shape behavior by leveraging our “primal response patterns,” which are deeply embedded in our psyche, and by engaging us in “flow” – that spot where skills and challenges are somewhat in balance.
Based on that, there are 5 game dynamics that can make an interactive game more fun, compelling and addictive. They are:
- Collecting – the ability for people to collect all kinds of stuff and brag about it – be they weapons or other artifacts in worlds like WoW or Runescape, or friends in MySpace
- Points – both social points given by other players as well as ratings given by the system
- Feedback – whether visual or auditory, a way to tell a person how well they are doing
- Exchanges – especially social interactions, whether explicit or implicit
- Customization – whether customization of your persona or your environment. After you invested time personalizing your world, you are less likely to leave
If you can embed some of those game mechanics into your traditional software service or software application, then those too will become more fun, compelling and even addictive. Some of the software applications that have successfully embedded those features include Flickr, MySpace and even eBay.
Other write-ups about the points made during the session include: