Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Psychological effects of marketing

I will admit, I've been sucked into the never-ending Candy Crush vortex and get amazingly frustrated when I lose when if I just had one more move I could have beaten the level! Yesterday I finally got around to downloading the latest update (1.26.0 from March 13) and after looking at some of the new graphics, I realized there was one major change in the screen that appears when you lose the game. See if you can spot the change below:


On one hand, it's refreshing that the new version shows that if you decide to play on, you're going to have to pay for that option instead of waiting for you to click on the button before realizing that in order to play on, you have to pay real money. 

On the other hand, there's a big difference between "End Game" and "Give up" - if I "End Game" I'm acknowledging that I wasn't able to complete the puzzle in the allotted amount of time / moves / etc. but if I "Give up" that means I've stopped trying. The implication in the second is that there is something more I could have done to win the game and I chose not to - I gave up! 

It's definitely an interesting marketing tactic from the creators of Candy Crush. In July 2013, a Huffington Post article stated that Candy Crush brings in $633,000 per day and as of today, Think Gaming estimates the daily revenue at $817,955. I'm curious to see how the revenue figure changes as more people are forced to "Give up" day after day. 

Psychologists continue to study consumer behavior to try to identify the why behind what we buy - why it's hard to say no to a sales person who gives you a free sample and then tries to sell you the item you sampled (but you took something for free!) or why it's easier to say yes to adding on the shoes that would go great with the new dress you're buying (you've already got one piece, why not add a second while you're there) - and I can see the next wave of research looking at how these subtle text changes in "free" games can impact the likelihood of someone making an in-game purchase.

Do you think changes in the text of a game would influence whether or not you decided to spend money to play that game? 

Note: Since I didn't know that screen would be changing, I had to search for a picture of the old level failed screen. I found the old version pictured above at Christian Kienle's blog from July 2013.

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