“Freemium” games can end up gaming gamers.

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The “freemium” business model allows us to use an app for free with the option to purchase additional features. In the case of games, that model can fundamentally alter the user experience, from gaming to getting gamed.

By collecting troves of data on how users play their games, developers have mastered the science of applied addiction. And with the rise of “freemium” games that rely on micro-transactions, they have good reason to deploy the tools of behavioral psychology to inspire purchases.

In the video above, I spoke to Jamie Madigan, author of a blog, podcast, and book about the psychology of video games. We take a look at some of the mind tricks that some of these games use to convert players into payers.

You can find more of his work here:

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35 COMMENTS

  1. Real gamers buy the game at the start
    They don't like pay2play stuff
    But sadly real gamers are like 3% of the gamers.

  2. I never play free games, they just money pits and the more money you put in the less you're willing to stop and some become impossible to play after a while. They're just there to make the developers as much money as possible.

    It would be like paying to watch a portion of a film.

  3. just play free games that only cost money (one way or another) when you buy aesthetics that do absolutely nothing other than look cool. (like dota2 or something)

  4. 1:46– “how much real money does incense cost? Yeah, I don’t know either.”
    But, it’s easy: the answer is 73 cents.

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