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01 October 2015

The 5 Key Video Game Elements for Maximum User-Sink Time

What gamers have to say

The ultimate goal of just about all game developers is to create a game with maximum “user- sink time”, which means gamers will pick up their devices, begin playing, and not bother coming up for air again until a few weeks later.

Much has been said on this topic by game researchers, but we decided to seek out answers from the gamers themselves

It’s all in the feeling

When questioned about the feelings that arose from their favorite ‘sink’ games, gamers across the board agreed they like to sink into “fun core games,” “a game that is worth my time,” “more of what I already like,”and in instances of games with in-app purchases, games that provide “a good return on my money”.

But what are the elements that contribute to those feelings leading up to the sink?

Breaking it down

Here are the top 5:

  1. Rewards – most gamers mentioned the aspect of rewards. Some preferred frequent short-term rewards, constantly reinforcing a sense of accomplishment and moving the game along. Others preferred working toward the “rewarding feeling” they cited receiving when achieving a long term goal. Regardless of whether the gamer’s preference was for a short-term or long-term incentive, the element of positive reinforcement repeatedly arose as an integral part of what makes for a good gaming experience with increased user-sink time.
  2. Replayability– this term was often used by gamers to describe games that “with a few minor tweaks (to the game) it’s a completely different experience.” Meaning, the game didn’t become boring, even when replayed over and over again, due to the gamer’s ability to personalize or change a variety of in-game features. Examples of customizable features users mentioned include: changing story bits, unique content, a changing flow and room for player creativity.
  3. Progression – players stressed the importance of feeling like they are progressing in a game and that the gaming experience isn’t a static one. Integrated features that contribute to the feeling include the ability to explore new areas, achieve new things, and most importantly, that “it is their own skills that contributed to the sense of progression.”
  4. Bite sized segments–many players explained that complicated games with drawn out learning

curves were hard to sink into. But games that could be “broken down into reasonably sized chunks” were great for sinking into. The structure of such games allows for varied levels of intensity with the occasional break from time to time. They also go a bit easier on the gamer by not demanding constant concentration at every given moment.

  1. Good basic game play mechanics – Some users cited that they did not in fact mind repetition, so long as there were “good basic game play mechanics.” These mechanics were typically described as features that were really able to connect players to the challenges they are presented with, and the ability to solve them.

 

Interesting, ha?

Understanding the needs and desires of your target audience, as well as their current mindset, makes it ten times easier to deliver a product that will sell. We did some of the initial digging and research work for you, so that you can now focus on creating a killer game for users of all ages.