本文总结了Jon Jordan关于游戏行业主流公司应该考虑聘请一名首席心理官的观点。他根据自己与同事体验免费游戏《CSR Racing》的心得，提出了这一理念。这一观点也许并非常理，但却不乏价值，尤其是涉及人类行为研究的心理层面。
与所有伟大的理念一样，Jordan也是在想到成百上千万个其他的理念之后，才得到了最终结果。据他所称，这一想法始于自己与一名同事谈论关于《CSR Racing》的开发体验。他称，“有趣的是，在我所玩过的40多款游戏中，唯一让你在头5分钟经常失败的游戏却是《CSR Racing》”。
他的同事对boss战斗则持有截然相反的态度。他对Jordan说，“你的问题在于，你将《CSR Racing》视为一款免费游戏。”但这个命题的讽刺性就在于——《CSR Racing》是一款免费游戏，但它只是让大家认识到每款游戏，无论是否免费，都应该植入已被50美元的主机游戏所采用的留存技巧。
Opinion: Why Game Developers Need a Chief Psychology Officer
Game Developers Need to Know What Motivates Gamers
The Psychology of GamingThis article summarizes Jon Jordan’s opinion that major players in the gaming industry should consider hiring a Chief Psychology Officer. He toys with the idea, after having a discussion with his colleagues regarding his personal experiences with CSR Racing, a free-to-play game. The idea may be unusual, but there is merit to what he has to say, especially since psychology, after all, is the study of human behavior.
How CSR Racing Got the Psychology Wrong
Like all great ideas, the idea came to Jordan after he was thinking about a million other ideas. From what he can remember, it started off with him telling a colleague about his experience with CSR Racing. He said, “What’s interesting is that of the 40 or so games I’ve played, the only one to actively fail you within the first five minutes was CSR Racing.”
He felt that the game was programmed to let any player win the first two races in the game, then lose the next. Then the player has to go to the garage and buy a car using the in-game currency. He goes on to say, “Most tutorials are all about winning and making the player feel happy, but CSR Racing does the opposite and immediately gets you into the process of upgrading your car.”
The Psychology of In-App Purchases
The discussion gained even more momentum when a colleague started to share his opinion about another related game, Fast & Furious 6.
Fast & Furious 6 Game monetization
He counters, “It’s not as bad as Fast & Furious 6 where you’re immediately given a time-dependent offer to spend real cash on a car you can easily buy with soft currency a couple of hours later.”
Note that this discussion puts to a light a new business model in the gaming industry – in-app monetization. What these new games attempt to do is provide a real-life sense of monetization options, such as dealing with limited fuel slots and having to wait for part upgrades to arrive, as if they were being imported and shipped. This is a new trend in app monetization that we have not seen before.
Different Interpretations of CSR Racing
However, the discussion did not stop there. They started to talk about another aspect of CSR Racing – the boss battles.
For Jordan, he felt negatively about the fact that when he beat the first boss, his opponent immediately told him that he’s upgrading his car so that they can battle again, also just so he could win convincingly. At this point, he felt that the game created a natural breaking point, where it inevitably turns players off because the opponents become “unreliable.”
CSR Racing Game Psychology
His colleague had a completely opposite reaction to boss battles. He said to Jordan, “Your problem is that you’ve approached it [CSR Racing] like a free-to-play game.” While there is irony in the statement – as CSR Racing is a free-to-play game – it only leads to the realization that every game, whether free-to-play or otherwise, should always employ the retention techniques employed by all the $50 console classics.
Monetization and Retention in Mobile Gaming
In short, game developers are very good at making games, and over the past couple of years, mobile game developers have toyed with new terms like distribution, marketing, user acquisition and monetization – especially monetization. The big gap, however, is tailoring the user experience so it bridges gameplay and retention.
It is a hasty generalization to conclude that all companies fail to recognize that there is an obvious dissonance between gameplay and retention. In fact, some companies have developed expertise in this area, as evidenced in their five-minute pre-game tutorials.
What Jordan is simply driving at is the fact that games must be patterned on actual human behavior. In fact, he believes that game developers should actively hire psychologists, so that there would be a team of professionals who could study the behavior of players and actively change small elements of the game to improve retention, engagement, and monetization.
How Psychologists Can Help Game Developers
At the very least, psychologists should conduct user research, which largely entails testing whether players experience games the way companies intended. Basically, user researchers work with the production team to understand their goals for a game, then they can translate those goals into testable questions.
Game Development and Psychology
The team might want to make sure a certain level of a game gives players a sense of excitement or anxiety, for example. As such, the psychologist will design a study that might bring people from the target audience into a controlled environment, get them playing and then administer surveys or observe them through a one-way mirror.
This represents a new way of doing things, as currently, the industry is doing the entire process backwards. Instead of addressing all inconsistencies and gaps during the game development stage, they look at analytics post-launch to find obvious pinch points in the data. Similarly, techniques such as A/B testing give good results, but only provide a black box solution to pre-set problems.
Developers need to have expertise on-hand before the launching of every game so that subtle cues into plot and gameplay can be patterned by actual human behavior in order to guarantee retention and ultimately, monetization.
The Future of Psychology in Gaming
While the application of psychological principles to game design is still in its infancy, this should be seen as an opportunity in the industry rather than a weakness. This presents a forefront of a new discipline – one which will have significant value, especially in this time and age.
As the gaming industry becomes more and more fragmented, there is a need for game developers to truly understand how humans play. It is no different than how marketing companies design products for consumers. As long as there is a good understanding of actual consumer behavior, developers are more equipped to design games that will make their target audience tick. This can be applied to strategic decisions like the storyline execution as well as to executional decisions like the color of the buttons.
Such studies offer a fascinating means for psychologists to apply their understanding of human behavior. After all, games are all about engagement, motivation, reinforcement, attention and other topics dear to psychologists. That’s why game developers and psychologists should start working together in the future.（source：bluecloudsolutions）