Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Online Addictions – or “When is it bad to retain players?”

Wolfshead posted an interesting article bemoaning the state of the MMO industry, and in the comments, Psychochild raised a very interesting question: “At what point do designers go from building a fun and compelling game to ‘[p]urposely crafting an addiction so you can squeeze bags of money out of your players'”?

That’s a fascinating and serious question, and one I think deserves a lot more consideration.

On the one hand, the better designed a game is, the more fun it is, the more we want to play it.  For many players, it’s clearly quite possible to cross a line between enjoying a hobby in a healthy and responsible way, and succumbing to an addiction.  MMOs can inarguably become black holes into which we pour our time, energy, and money.  So there’s a point beyond which it’s unhealthy for a given player to play, or perhaps a manner in which it’s unhealthy for a given player to play.

So if you’re designing an MMO, how should you take this into account?  If you’re playing an MMO, what should you look for? Continue reading