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Understanding game based reward systems and  system design ideas for Yahoo! Answers   Plus: Case Study Pogo Online Casual ...
Rewards are fundamental to game design <ul><li>“ What if a game failed to create any goals for the player to meet? What, t...
A model for game player types.  Suggest “Managers” and “Participants” use Answers <ul><li>Type 1 : Conqueror  </li></ul><u...
Game based reward TYPES <ul><li>Source: http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2005/08/designing_rewar.html </li></ul>Cu...
Game based reward SCHEDULES are either action or time based <ul><li>Source: http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2005/...
Current Y! Answers Reward System <ul><li>Reward TYPE: Emotional & Rank </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional : Altruistic in hel...
More is better: Video games with more achievement types sell better
Summary statement about reward mechanics <ul><li>Rewards are more effective when distributed at varied intervals, opposed ...
There are 3 behavioral groups we want to motivate  (examples shown not exhaustive) <ul><li>Contribution Behaviors:  </li><...
Reward Matrix for Answers: Contribution Rewards Event based Time Based Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio Fixed Interval Variable ...
Reward Matrix for Answers: Moderation Rewards Event based Time Based Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio Fixed Interval Variable In...
Reward Matrix for Answers: Curation/ Organization Rewards Event based Time Based Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio Fixed Interval...
Badge design concepts <ul><li>See Pogo case study </li></ul><ul><li>Should be levels of badges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Possi...
Backup……
Behaviors that we want to encourage <ul><li>4 types of behaviors we want: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answering questions with h...
Behaviors we want to discourage <ul><li>Low quality answers </li></ul><ul><li>Spam </li></ul><ul><li>Chatty or inflammator...
Answers Brainstorm <ul><li>Category Contribution Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Activity within Category / sub-category (non ...
Basic model for behavior modification: rewards can be positive or negative http://thegameprodigy.com/the-game-design-canva...
Case Study: Pogo Online Casual Games
Pogo is the 3 rd  largest casual gaming site on the web <ul><li>Acquired by Electronic arts in 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>for ...
Pogo’s engagement is by far the highest in its category
Pogo’s “Badge” incentive system is the primary method of engagement, and is very effective <ul><li>5 types of Badges – eac...
Albums are used to further invite participation <ul><li>Reinforces the interest in “collecting” from there core demographi...
Club Pogo Badge Central (top of page)  <ul><li>Pogo badge system is complex, and these pages explain all the options to ke...
(bottom of page)
Gifting is available to encourage community and engagement <ul><li>Any badge can be gifted to a fellow pogo member, assumi...
Indications are that badges are extremely effective motivator <ul><li>Pogo engagement is 3x higher then nearest competitor...
Other examples of incentive systems Reward Schedule:  Fixed Ratio, Fixed Interval Reward Type:  Rank Reward Schedule:  Fix...
Other examples of incentive systems Reward Schedule:  Fixed Ratio , Fixed Interval Reward Type:  Rank
Fluther rewards:  Fixed ratio GROUP A: EASY GROUP B: MEDIUM GROUP C: HARD
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Ah game-based-incentive-systems

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Ah game-based-incentive-systems

  1. 1. Understanding game based reward systems and system design ideas for Yahoo! Answers Plus: Case Study Pogo Online Casual Gaming Incentive System Using badges to increase engagement Andrew Heymann Marketing Director, Yahoo Global Applications Jan 26, 2010
  2. 2. Rewards are fundamental to game design <ul><li>“ What if a game failed to create any goals for the player to meet? What, then, would be the point of playing? In every true game, there is some sort of goal--and endpoint one aims for and desires to achieve. After all, desire is the motivation for human behavior.” </li></ul><ul><li>- GamerNode 2/07 </li></ul>
  3. 3. A model for game player types. Suggest “Managers” and “Participants” use Answers <ul><li>Type 1 : Conqueror </li></ul><ul><li>play style is associated with challenge and the emotional payoff of Fiero - triumph over adversity. This correlates with what Nicole Lazarro has called &quot;Hard fun&quot;. We associate Type 1 play with players who aim to utterly defeat games they play - they finish games they start. </li></ul><ul><li>Type 2: Manager </li></ul><ul><li>play style is associated with mastery and systems. Victory for people preferring this play style seems to be the sign that they have acquired the necessary skills, not a goal in and of itself. They may not finish many games that they start playing. </li></ul><ul><li>Type 3: Wanderer </li></ul><ul><li>play style is associated with experience and identity. This correlates somewhat with what Nicole Lazarro has called &quot;Easy fun&quot;. Challenge is not especially desired, but may be tolerated - what they enjoy is unique and interesting experiences. Stories and mimicry are key draws. </li></ul><ul><li>Type 4: Participant </li></ul><ul><li>play style is associated with emotions and involvement. It connects with what Nicole Lazarro calls &quot;The People Factor&quot;. Participants seem happiest when they are playing with people, but they also enjoy play which is rooted in emotion. Any game which allows the player an emotional stake is a potential Type 4 game. </li></ul><ul><li>A note of caution from the author : Bottom line: DGD1 is a brave attempt at a solid audience model, but it is far from definitive. In fact, a definitive audience model may be difficult or impossible to derive - and it may not even be helpful. </li></ul><ul><li>21st Century Game Design Chris Bateman </li></ul>
  4. 4. Game based reward TYPES <ul><li>Source: http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2005/08/designing_rewar.html </li></ul>Currency rewards: the acquisition of a game resource that can be spent represents a fairly universal reward system... giving the player shops to spend currency rewards can be effective, provided there is plenty in the shops to choose from. (Note that the shop can be a 'meta-shop' - it need not be a literal shop in the game world). Example: get $$ that can be traded for Flickr premium account Rank Rewards: like currency rewards, but ratcheted - the player gains benefits from acquiring points towards an eventual step up in rank. The classic example is level in a class and level RPG, although in video games, A draw for Type 1 Conqueror and Type 2 Manager players if expressed in verbal terms, but if the 'Rank up' is accompanied by sufficient fanfare its appeal can be more universal. Mechanical Rewards: such as increases in stats that the player can feel the effect of. Highly motivating for many players - but the mechanical increases must maintain relevance to the play. Effective for Type 2 Manager and Type 1 Conqueror players in particular. Narrative rewards: a little narrative exposition i s effective for certain players as a reward. A cut scene can be a bigger reward than dialogue - when used well. But overlong or irrelevant cut scenes quickly become devalued. Effective for Type 3 Wanderer and Type 4 Participant players in particular. Example: get different email with special message when reach new levels , points, best answer Emotional rewards: related to the above, but applicable when the player feels they have done something for someone in the game. Animal Crossing's present giving, for instance. A draw for Type 4 Participant players. New Toys: anything new that can be experimented with is a 'new toy'. Although primarily a mimicry reward, there may be mechanical benefits of well - a new weapon in an FPS is a new toy with mechanical rewards, for instance. Especially of value to Type 3 Wanderer players. Example: ability to curate spam or add to articles once you reach level 4 New Places : like new toys, new places are a mimicry reward for players driven to explore (a common drive!). Especially of value to Type 3 Wanderer and Type 1 Conqueror players. Completeness: perhaps only a drive for the Type 1 Conqueror player (or the Rational player), achieving completeness (chasing 100% for instance) can be a reward in itself. Victory : defeating a challenging foe (or a boss) is purely agonistic reward, especially appealing to Type 1 Conqueror players.
  5. 5. Game based reward SCHEDULES are either action or time based <ul><li>Source: http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2005/08/designing_rewar.html </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed Ratio Schedules: these provide rewards after a fixed number of actions . They produce a high level of activity and are easy to understand, but after the reward is achieved, there is a pause. XP in CRPGs is an example - although the gearing of XP systems is exponential, the intent is that the player is constantly moving up to tougher foes, thus keeping a constant ratio of kills to level. Hugely addictive to Type 1 Conqueror players, they can work for any play style - if the rewards are right. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real-world example: Used car dealer gets a $1000 bonus for each 10 cars sold on the lot. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Variable Ratio Schedules: these provide rewards after a random number of actions - like a slot machine. You keep putting in coins, because at some point it will pay out. These also produce a high rate of activity and interest, but they tend to block exploration - as the player will stick with the reward schedule until it is exhausted, or until they burn out on it. Effective with all play styles - but burnout is always a risk. They are inherently aleatory, and may appeal less to Type 1 Conqueror and Type 4 Participant players. </li></ul><ul><li>Real world example: a roulette player betting on specific numbers will win on average once every 38 tries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed Interval Schedule: that is, a reward is provided after a set amount of time . This provides better control over the rate of reward, and comes with the same post-reward pause as a fixed ratio schedule. Indeed, pauses are inherent to fixed schedules of all kinds. An example is the new items in the shop each day in Animal Crossing - the player comes back on future days to see what's new. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real world example: Calling a radio station is reinforced with a chance to win a prize, but the person can only sign up once per day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variable Interval Schedule: these provide a reward after a random amount of time . like the variable ratio schedule, this produces a steady rate of activity with no pauses - but its not as intense as the variable ratio schedule, because players quickly learn that their actions are independent of the reward. Good for encouraging a player to come back to certain places in a game, however, if a reward appears in certain places 'at random'. Again, they are aleatory and hence may not appeal to all Type 1 or Type 4 players. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real world example: a predator can expect to come across a prey on a variable interval schedule </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In general, ratio schedules produce high rates of activity - &quot;the more you do, the more you get&quot;. Variable schedules produce constant activity - &quot;everything has a chance of reward&quot;. When these combine, (variable ratio schedule), the player will eventually burn out. Conversely, fixed schedules create a pause - which needn't be a negative matter. To keep a player's interest in a CRPG, the 'pause' after gaining a level frees the player up from the treadmill of leveling up to go and carry out other housekeeping activities in the game. (If the player levelled up with a variable ratio schedule, they could rapidly get burned out). </li></ul>------- ACTION BASED -------- ------- TIME BASED --------
  6. 6. Current Y! Answers Reward System <ul><li>Reward TYPE: Emotional & Rank </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional : Altruistic in helping others. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Achieve this reward regardless of rank. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>However there is no feedback loop from the asker to increase the emotional reward </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best answer may help feed this somewhat with the congratulations email from Answers, but its impersonal (idea: offer chance for asker to “thank” the answerer when chose best answer) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rank : Get points for actions, but points don’t mean anything (no “mechanical” benefit) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants don’t know about curation (toys) rewards that higher level players get </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reward SCHEDUE: Fixed Ratio </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieve a new level after getting specific number of points that are at regular intervals </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. More is better: Video games with more achievement types sell better
  8. 8. Summary statement about reward mechanics <ul><li>Rewards are more effective when distributed at varied intervals, opposed to fixed intervals </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, rewards are more effective when distributed based on number of interactions since the last reward, opposed to amount of time since the last reward. </li></ul><ul><li>Real-time reward notification is a necessary component of this reward structure. By alerting the player instantly when he is rewarded, the system becomes more transparent. This helps users feel like they know how to optimize their experience. If a player wants to get rewarded, they have all the tools and information to start on their path towards that reward. </li></ul><ul><li>We should increase the number of rewards types (more is better within reasn) and add some variable schedules to increase involvement </li></ul>
  9. 9. There are 3 behavioral groups we want to motivate (examples shown not exhaustive) <ul><li>Contribution Behaviors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asking (do we want to limit asking?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Moderation Behaviors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spam fighters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vote Tiebreakers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group Moderators (when Answers Groups launches) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Category Moderators (Q4) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Curation based behaviors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding photos / videos (“Guru”?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-editor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articles Admin </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Reward Matrix for Answers: Contribution Rewards Event based Time Based Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio Fixed Interval Variable Interval Currency <ul><li>Free upgrade to Flickr premium if…. </li></ul><ul><li>Printed hardbound copy of “best of” </li></ul><ul><li>Points to trade in for Answers “schwag” </li></ul>Rank <ul><li>Award for specific individual contributions </li></ul><ul><li>contributing to the “surprise” category of the day </li></ul><ul><li>Award for contributing several days in a row </li></ul><ul><li>Award for contributing at least once per month </li></ul><ul><li>Holiday awards – awarded for contributing on misc. holidays </li></ul>Mechanical <ul><li>Get special curation or moderation capabilities after ## contributions </li></ul><ul><li>Get special curation or moderation capabilities after being judged as “good enough” by community advocates </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to “do something” special after being an active member for 3 months </li></ul>Narative <ul><li>See a special “did you know” narration when asking a question in a surprise category </li></ul>Emotional <ul><li>Standard thank you message </li></ul><ul><li>Special “thank you”s from asker, yahoos, or moderators </li></ul><ul><li>Special thank you message from Michelle Obama for contributing to the “healthy eating” category” </li></ul>Toys
  11. 11. Reward Matrix for Answers: Moderation Rewards Event based Time Based Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio Fixed Interval Variable Interval Currency Rank <ul><li>Receive badges for specific actions (category, moderation, curation) </li></ul>Mechanical <ul><li>Ability to remove spam after XXX answers </li></ul>Narative Emotional Toys
  12. 12. Reward Matrix for Answers: Curation/ Organization Rewards Event based Time Based Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio Fixed Interval Variable Interval Currency Rank <ul><li>Rewards for adding photos or videos </li></ul>Mechanical <ul><li>Earn ability to add photos or videos </li></ul>Narative Emotional Toys
  13. 13. Badge design concepts <ul><li>See Pogo case study </li></ul><ul><li>Should be levels of badges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Possible sub badges that need to be completed in order to get a “Master” badge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At design quality can vary to add more value to certain types </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow certain badges to be shown on the users profile that all others will see </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Backup……
  15. 15. Behaviors that we want to encourage <ul><li>4 types of behaviors we want: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answering questions with high quality content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Could per personally or inviting friends </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Answer quickly </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asking questions of certain types (specifically, those that have not been asked) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moderation / organization(ex: fighting spam, grading) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curation (articles admin, adding photos, sub editing) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Notes from team brainstorm here: </li></ul><ul><li>http://twiki.corp.yahoo.com/view/Answers/NewIncentiveSystem </li></ul>
  16. 16. Behaviors we want to discourage <ul><li>Low quality answers </li></ul><ul><li>Spam </li></ul><ul><li>Chatty or inflammatory comments rather than answers </li></ul><ul><li>Asking questions that have already been asked </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a new account after a previous account has been flagged </li></ul>
  17. 17. Answers Brainstorm <ul><li>Category Contribution Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Activity within Category / sub-category (non quality focused behavior) </li></ul><ul><li>BA% over timescale within a category (e.g. most # of BA’s in category this week) </li></ul><ul><li>Category top contributors (BA% / Activity over long term – similar to category leaderboard today) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Topic Contribution Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Same as above but linked to specific topics or tags, once we roll out this system </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Moderation / Organization behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Spam fighters </li></ul><ul><li>Vote Tiebreakers </li></ul><ul><li>Group Moderators (when Answers Groups launches) </li></ul><ul><li>Category Moderators (Q4) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Curation based behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Photo guru </li></ul><ul><li>Sub-editor </li></ul><ul><li>Articles Admin </li></ul>
  18. 18. Basic model for behavior modification: rewards can be positive or negative http://thegameprodigy.com/the-game-design-canvas-punishment-and-reward-systems/ Desired Outcome of Conditioning   Increase in Behavior Decrease in Behavior Positive Stimulus Options Add Stimulus (positive reinforcement) Remove Stimulus (punishment) Negative Stimulus Options Remove Stimulus (negative reinforcement) Add Stimulus (punishment)
  19. 19. Case Study: Pogo Online Casual Games
  20. 20. Pogo is the 3 rd largest casual gaming site on the web <ul><li>Acquired by Electronic arts in 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>for ~$140MM (1) with 17k members. </li></ul><ul><li>Approx 14MM UU/month </li></ul><ul><li>2009 annual revenue: </li></ul><ul><li>Site has 2 components: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free, with 2 game classifications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unlimited use: Limited number of games </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limited game levels: Must convert to pay to continue game </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pay “Club” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>$4.99 / month </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>$49.99 annual </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>(1) exact amount not disclosed but estimated at $140-$150 million </li></ul>
  21. 21. Pogo’s engagement is by far the highest in its category
  22. 22. Pogo’s “Badge” incentive system is the primary method of engagement, and is very effective <ul><li>5 types of Badges – each is earned by completeing a “challenge” of </li></ul><ul><li>some type that is related to game play </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekly challenge badge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Custom for that week. Not repeated </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Announced on Wednesday at noon </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal challenge badge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Challenges are essentially weekly challenges, but they become </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>available after the weekly challenge is over. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These are always available for players to earn. But can only earned once. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal challenges are organized by year, and completing all 52 (there are 52 in a year) yields a special badge. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Super challenge badge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are made available at irregular times and typically require completion of multiple individual challenges. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special edition challenge badge (Fixed interval schedule) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will be offered for 1 week and then retired. Will not be made available as personal challenge later </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Premium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Must be purchased with real $ (using Gems – Pogo cash purchased in bulk with real $$) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Price varies. Approx $0.50 / badge challenge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gives player the change to earn the badge of complete challenge </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Albums are used to further invite participation <ul><li>Reinforces the interest in “collecting” from there core demographic </li></ul><ul><li>Albums are a optional place to hold your badges </li></ul><ul><li>Like a Stamp album, it shows the badges you are missing and encourages you to complete them. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Special” Albums also must be purchased and cost $4-$6 each </li></ul>
  24. 24. Club Pogo Badge Central (top of page) <ul><li>Pogo badge system is complex, and these pages explain all the options to keep people playing with various badge options </li></ul>
  25. 25. (bottom of page)
  26. 26. Gifting is available to encourage community and engagement <ul><li>Any badge can be gifted to a fellow pogo member, assuming that member is either: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is a Club Pogo (paying) member </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not already have that badge </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Indications are that badges are extremely effective motivator <ul><li>Pogo engagement is 3x higher then nearest competitor. Unlikely that games alone is the reason. </li></ul><ul><li>Comscore ranking for Pogo jumps significantly on Wednesdays </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is when the new weekly challenge is announced </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Other examples of incentive systems Reward Schedule: Fixed Ratio, Fixed Interval Reward Type: Rank Reward Schedule: Fixed Ratio & Variable Ratio Reward Type: Rank, Emotional, Currency, Toys, Victory
  29. 29. Other examples of incentive systems Reward Schedule: Fixed Ratio , Fixed Interval Reward Type: Rank
  30. 30. Fluther rewards: Fixed ratio GROUP A: EASY GROUP B: MEDIUM GROUP C: HARD

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