Most web and software designers think about designing to people’s expectations — make the software easy to use: put a menu where it will be easy to find, make a button’s function clear and obvious. But really good software, the software that just seems fun to use, is designed to reward the user.
Video game developers have become so good at rewarding their users they have made their games literally addictive. For many people, this bodes ill for our species — video games are just another drug enslaving the human mind, lowering economic productivity, and diminishing the human spirit.
I disagree. Sort of. I think the first step in overcoming the addiction is admitting we are addicted and most gamers will readily fess up to their obsession. After that, we might use the understanding about what makes video games addictive to create reward systems for projects that actually benefit humanity and the planet.
Tom Chatfield does a great job explaining how video games reward our brains and how we can apply reward systems to business, environmental conservation and more.