Yes, one can ask oneself, especially the older generation, being improperly curious about the affairs of others, wondering how people manage to sit up late night, several hours, and even days, playing video games. There are experts out there who claim video game addiction is a thing, and god damn they are right. There must be some kind of explanation, an explanation to why people just sit there compulsively playing video games all day. Even when you’re admittedly not enjoying it! It all comes down to the big question: Are some of the video games on the market specifically designed to keep you playing?
Yes. And their modus operandi is imperiously scary. Think of a cage, a trapped animal is locked. There is a lever inside which can be pressed to acquire food pellets. A researcher working for Microsoft found out that it is possible to control behavior with test subjects, in this case, rats. By giving the rat some kind of motivation for stimulation, and being rewarded for it thereafter. This is a theory which has actually been proved, and can be used as an illustration for people playing video games. The history of video games has changed from what it was back in the late 80-90’s.
A single video game would around those times, would be estimated to cost around 300 kroners. So how did the developers make their paychecks of selling single units of games? They did not care for how long we played, as long as we bought the game. Instead the concept was to make the customers convinced to buy the next game. The industry have progressed a long way since back then. Today it is all about subscription based games, which means that with each month/year that goes, you pay a certain amount of money, to be allowed to play it.
So why is it that people spend hundreds, even thousands of kroners just to be allowed into a fictional world? Surely, they cannot create enough material to make you play this game for several hours. So what they had to do is change the way of doing things. As previously stated, the cage, the lever, the pellets, is the idea what most successful video games is based on today. Majority of the video games today have common fact: For every item and good in a virtual game, your brain would treat them as if they are actually real. Because they are. Actually, it comes as no surprise.
People pay thousands, even millions for small gadgets, such as necklaces, diamonds even buttons for their suits. This is where the connection between virtual and real goods occurs. Let us take an example for how much effort it takes to obtain a virtual good: Literally you would be spending the next ten hours striving for a shiny shield, which in fact, does not even exist! The thing is, which yields for almost anything, even in the real world is that; if it takes effort, is time-consuming and requires skill to collect an object, the item immediately gain some form for value.
This in the end resembles all the hard work you put into obtaining that one item, regardless of how it is made. This comes down to how the game developers intentionally integrate this form for mechanism into the game, to make it appealing to the consumer. Because the players sees virtual items in game as real and valuable as it is in real life. This comes down to one thing, making you pull down the lever. You can compare it to the way the mechanism of a slot machine works. You cannot quit, because every pull you take can heavily reward you, until you’ve grown beard and gained wrinkles.
Therefore, the video game companies have several methods and techniques to stop you from quitting. By handing out small benefits, to compensate for all the hard work you’ve done. Step by step, until you’ve reached the goal you’ve set yourself in the beginning. Eventually, you will reach the point where you’re doing the same task over and over, sitting still for several days, heck, even weeks. Then you can ask yourself the question, “is this supposed to be a game? ” It is more like biting your nail.
I think we can safely conclude that people play games to obtain some form for satisfaction, the enjoyment of being good at something. It can be pointless, as it doesn’t help you in the real world, not a single bit. I think people who are addicted to video games are people who find it boring and harder to accomplish something in the real world. Playing video games today has replaced the achievement you get from f. ex finishing school or getting promoted. It is become like the drug heroin, the need to achieve and accomplish will always be there, always ready to inject the next shot.