Proven Steps to Forming a Facebook Game HabitPresentation Transcript
Proven Steps to making a Facebook Game a Habit Example game: Ocean Party Rosemary Ehlers habits.stanford.edu
Phase One: The Trigger
Gets the user to visit the site – may come in the form of a friend inviting them to the site, an advertisement, etc.
It is generally agreed that in order to form a habit of using a game, the user must first be convinced to take a look at it.
Greet Dot, Discovery Phase
Phase Two: The Hook
The user explores and familiarizes self with the game. The user is generally encouraged by easy targets and simple aspects of the game that are frequently repeatable .
Ocean Party in particular only allows the beginning user the option of a fish they can feed every 7 minutes or a fish they can feed every 60 minutes –encouraging the user to come back many times during the day. Ocean Party also incorporates a simple point-and-click game users can repeat every 30 minutes.
There have been many informal analysis of why games are so ‘addictive’. A few that apply here are:
- Beating the game : a user’s desire to ‘beat the game’ is fed if there is a way of tracking how much progress they’ve made, regardless of whether there is actually an end to the game or not
- Role-playing and personalization : being able to personalize an environment immediately creates an emotional investment in the environment
Green Span, Superficial Involvement Phase
Phase Three: Commitment
The user transitions from spending a lot of time on the game to less time per day , but coming back day after day. The user is also encouraged to participate in the game’s community instead of playing solo. Ocean Party in particular is designed to give the user a reason to return –your fish die after 24 hours of being hungry- but also a reason to go away: the fish that become available to you at higher levels can make you wait up to 2 days before they are hungry again. On the other hand, if you add friends to your tank, you can play one of the daily mini-games in each friend’s tank, as well as being able to keep more fish.
One of the strengths of online games is that players can build relationships with other players , making it much more difficult to leave the game –because it means they will also be leaving behind a friend. Also, very few online games have an actual end ; they are instead focused on accumulating high scores or exploring and creating a fantasy world where the user can escape reality.
Blue path, Commitment Phase
Ocean Party follows a Green Dot -> Green Span -> Blue Span path in accumulating dedicated users. In particular, the Superficial Involvement Phase of the path encompasses a period of heavy, but solo use of the game, often tied to easy targets or ‘leveling’ and repetitive mini-games that would bore an older user.
It exploits the social nature of Facebook and the internet to discourage users from leaving, as well as encouraging users to return regularly or be punished with dead fish.