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Game Dev Bungie Used Behavioral Psychology To Make Destiny Damn Addictive (Angus & Julia Stone, Dorkly, Stencil Dance) [Daily Bloggity Entry #368]

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 1:00 PM by El Héroe Oscuro

Game Dev Bungie Used Behavioral Psychology
To Make Destiny Damn Addictive

Date: 10 October 2016
Time: 1:05 PM ET
Mood: So thirsty, yuck

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Do you think it's a fair strategy made by video game developers to implore psychologists into their game design? Let me explain what a specific developer did with their popular hit game, and then you can make the decision for yourself.

Bungie, the hit developer behind the hugely popular Halo franchise, did exactly what was described above with their almost equally popular IP, Destiny. The goal for the compnay was to create a game design and game formula which would be able to hook the average player into continually playing their game, a game design which personally I feel that many developers have tried to do in the past. Thus, Bungie adopted a psychological phenomenon called "behavioral game design," which in essence is the study the connection between how gamer's respond and react to a game's tasks and rewards given to them.

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The study itself, truthfully, took place three years before the game's actual release which was in September of 2014. Using a large test study group, Bungie evaluated gamers' responses to their video game by configuring the controller - in this case a PlayStation 4 controller - to allow the user to document their immediate emotions by hitting certain commands: Triangle for feeling "Lost/Confused," Circle for feeling "Frustrated," and Cross for feeling "Awesome." Furthermore, eye-tracking technology and video recorders werer implemented which recorded the person's body language as well as any cursing that came along with it. Through these emotional documentations, Bungie would be able to see if their core gameplay and risk-reward balance was inevitably benefiting and contributing to a gamer's continued want of playing the game, as well as creating a level scheme that wouldn't overly frustrate the gamer in the end.

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As a result, Bungie was able to classify the typical Destiny gamer into one of five different categories: the short campaigner, the long campaigner, the short omnivore, the long omnivore, and the specialist. These "omnivores" were what Bungie tried and inevitably shaped their current game around, where a player would participate in a mix of different core content rather than focus on one aspect or another. In term's of Destiny, this meant playing PvE and PvP, where the rewards were actually worth going after by participating in those game modes. One could say that this kind of behavioral science was a success; in 2015, when the study was publically published, the average gamer had put in a total of 77 hours into the game.

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Personally, I'm not really surprised by the psychology and science behind the making of the game. I've always been a huge Destiny fanatic, and as a person who has personally put in over 1000 hours into the game, the background info on the addictive nature of Destiny was purposely planned. What about you guys? Can you think of any video games that may have had a similar game dseign plan behind it? What are games that you find overly addictive to play? Comment below as I'd love to hear and discuss with you what you have to say about this topic!

‡ As always, the "Daily Bloggity" is self written by myself and includes just some of my opinions on different mediums. If you have a subject that you might want me to touch on, feel free to PM me or comment below! I would love to hear some of your ideas! And remember, rate each entry so I can know what you guys like and what to improve on! Tune in tomorrow at 5PM Eastern Time for the next edition of the "Daily Bloggity!" Cheers! ‡

- El Héroe Oscuro


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