Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Game publishers tap into psychological principals to develop games that people can’t stop playing. Using positive rewards and just enough challenge to want to keep playing is one factor in making hit games.

A San Francisco based company called Playnomics wants to help game developers and publishers tap into the various mindsets and personalities of their players in order to customize the game experience and retain players.

“For literally thousands and thousands of years people have played games…today, people continue to play games on their phones, web,” he said, adding that even the popular check-in app Foursquare is a game.

The software collects data about whether players are risk takers, social players and how engaged they are with the game, then compiles that data from game environment to segment audience. Using these algorithms,

Playnomics can allow developers to communicate with players in various ways depending on that player’s likelihood of exhibiting traits from one of the eight personality types.

A valuable customer might receive virtual goods from the developer, another player might receive a one-to-one message. With Playnomics, game publishers have the flexibility to show players whatever they want whether that’s no ads or ads for certain players. Software allows them to predict what other types of games players will enjoy.

30-40% of players leave a game every month, never to be seen again, Ramachandran said. For the past three years, Playnomics has been selling this software to game makers to increase retention of players and heighten the game experience.

“What this does is allows companies to compete with game developers like Zynga,” he said. “Our job is to make the marketing as simple as possible.”