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Session Name:

Spellbound: Asking Questions About Habit Forming Game Design


Once upon a time, we aspired to develop games with that elusive "addictive" quality that delighted players. Now the term addiction has become an accusation labeled at apparently unscrupulous free-to-play designers who are leveraging the psychology of operant conditioning to allegedly extort money from players. Games that delight us often become habit-forming, but how as designers can we judge the balance between a game as a social good and the manipulation of an audience. There are huge opportunities if we can build a loyal fanbase of regular, invested players -- and huge (potentially legal) risks if we are considered to have overstepped the line into manipulation. In this session, Oscar explores the *available psychological evidence to understand the differences between habit and addiction, and to uncover the real risks of using manipulation in game design, and how we can use an understanding of habit-forming behavior responsibly. *With help from Berni Good,

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  • GDC 2015
  • Oscar Clark
  • Unity Technologies
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