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Achievements Considered Harmful?

Mar 27, 2015




  • Slide 1

Achievements Considered Harmful? Slide 2 Slide 3 Slide 4 Slide 5 Achievements Considered Harmful ? ? Slide 6 1. I am not a psychologist. Slide 7 2. The psychologists dont agree. Despite the seeming objectivity of this technique, these meta-analytic reviews reached markedly different conclusions. Slide 8 3. There are no direct studies. http:// Slide 9 Double Header Analysis: Xbox Live Achievement Data and Intellectual Property Trends in Video Games Geoffrey Zatkin and Jesse Divnich, EEDAR Geoffrey Zatkin and Jesse Divnich, EEDAR Friday 4:30pm 5:30pm Friday 4:30pm 5:30pm Room 130, North Hall Room 130, North Hall Slide 10 Disclaimer: This lecture is not about how to sell more games. Slide 11 Confession: I ignore achievements while Im playing games. Slide 12 Slide 13 Alfie Kohn Slide 14 Slide 15 Burrhus Frederic Skinner Slide 16 Pop Behaviorism Slide 17 Daniel Pink @ TED Slide 18 Slide 19 numbingly repetitive filled with anecdotes blatantly biased agendas Slide 20 tendentious also tendencious (tn-dnshs) (tn-dnshs) adj. adj. Marked by a strong implicit point of view; partisan: a tendentious account of the recent elections. Marked by a strong implicit point of view; partisan: a tendentious account of the recent elections. Slide 21 But, they reference a lot of research. Slide 22 On the other hand, physicists like to say physics is to math as sex is to masturbation. However, its psychology research. Slide 23 fMRI Slide 24 Slide 25 Lets talk about the research The research shows that in most cases, extrinsic motivators are ineffective and actually decrease intrinsic motivation on interesting tasks. Slide 26 Studies covering drawingpuzzles IQ tests wearing seat belts trying new foods commissions & bonuses reading books etc. Even thinking about rewards before task appears to do harm. Slide 27 Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation Intrinsic Motivation appears to be superior: creativity problem solving qualityspeed Slide 28 Categories tangibleverbalsymbolic free-choiceself-reported expectedunexpected informationalcontrolling task-contingencynon-engagement- completion- performance- dullinteresting transitorylong-lasting endogenousexogenous Slide 29 Deci, Koestner, Ryan 1999 Slide 30 Slide 31 Cameron, Banko, Pierce 2001 Slide 32 Skinner, 1953 - Deci, 1971 - 100s of Others Rummel and Feinberg, 1988 Wiersma, 1992 Cameron and Pierce, 1994 Tang and Hall, 1995 Eisenberger and Cameron, 1996 Deci, Koestner, Ryan, 1999 Cameron, Banko, Pierce, 2001 Slide 33 Slide 34 Hecker 1999 Slide 35 What they can agree on: 1.Tangible, Expected, Contingent Rewards Reduce Free-Choice IM 2.Verbal, Unexpected, Informational Feedback Increases Free-Choice & Self-Reported IM For interesting tasks, Slide 36 Even just these two results are huge. How do they extend to games? Slide 37 Gameification & Pop Behaviorism We dont have any issues with rewards that are even more tangible, like giving your kid money for a straight-A report card as long as we are comfortable with who is setting up the reward and what criteria. Raph Koster Jesse Schells DICE 2010 Talk Slide 38 Gameification Jane McGonigal Slide 39 It would be brilliant if you got, say, money credited to your PSN account for finishing games - you know, a real-life reward. That'd get you playing. - Mike Jackson, CVG UK Gameification & Pop Behaviorism Slide 40 Slide 41 Im not saying these people are wrong. I dont know. Im saying there is a lot of data out there that implies they might be very wrong, and we need to study this to keep our art form healthy. Slide 42 Games are the only art and entertainment form where the opportunity and mechanism for feedback is built into the form itself. Slide 43 Note: These results are for interesting tasks. I was going to present the data for dull tasks Slide 44 Why are you making games? If youre intentionally making dull games with variable ratio extrinsic motivators to separate people from their money, you have my pity. If youre making intrinsically interesting games and want to make them even better, be very careful with extrinsic motivators. Slide 45 Rousseau Aristotle Csikszentmihalyi autotelic virtueergon amour-de-soiamour-propre Slide 46 The Nightmare Self-Fulfilling Scenario 1. make an intrinsically interesting game, congratulations! 2. use extrinsic motivators to make your game better 3. destroy intrinsic motivation to play your game 4. metrics fetishism pushes you towards designs where EM works 5. BONUS: women lose even more IM than men do given EM! Slide 47 Common Buts Players like them! Our data shows they work! We make lots of money! Just ignore them if you dont like them! They show players different way of playing! Slide 48 Slide 49 But if all this research applies, players who arent ignoring them are (unwittingly) being affected by this IM reduction, which changes everything about the play environment. But, Just Ignore Them! Slide 50 I used to play Gears of War on-line. That game had a restriction where you couldn't get achievement points for on-line play unless you played ranked matches. I don't give a fuck about achievements, but I had to play ranked matches all the time anyways, because no good players would ever play unranked. But of course, ranked matches don't allow you to play with your friends, because that might aid you in cheating, so, you'd have to do ridiculous machinations to actually play a decent game with your friends (like trying to narrow the possible servers, then joining and unjoining games before they started until you saw your friend pop up on the board). Casey Muratori Slide 51 But, They Show Different Playstyles! There is nothing that says pointing out a potential alternate playstyle needs to be tied to a reward, and it wasnt, historically. Slide 52 SpyParty (prototype) So, whats my plan? 1.Hope somebody publishes a study. 2.Hope they become optional. 3.Follow some guidelines Slide 53 Minimizing the Damage Dont make a big fuss about them. Use unexpected rewards. Use absolute, not relative measures. Use endogenous rewards. Make them informational, not controlling. Kohn, p. 92 Slide 54 Call to Action! The industry needs to start studying the long term impact of achievements on players. Developers need to be better versed in the literature and more thoughtful about the consequences of extrinsic motivators. Slide 55 Thank you.