• Self-control in casual games: The relationship between Candy Crush Saga players in-app purchases and self-control

    M. Soroush, M. Hancock, and V. Bohns, “Self-control in casual games: The relationship between Candy Crush Saga players in-app purchases and self-control,” in Proc. GEM, 2014.

    @InProceedings{soroush:2014:candycrush,
    author= {Milad Soroush and Mark Hancock and Vanessa Bohns},
    title = {Self-control in casual games: The relationship between {C}andy {C}rush {S}aga players in-app purchases and self-control},
    abstract = {Casual Games and free-to-play games have recently
    rapidly increased in popularity, perhaps in part because of the
    success of in-app purchases and micro-transactions as an economic
    model. While these games are often touted for their success
    in the gaming market, the effect on players when faced with
    such frequent purchasing decisions in-game is not well-studied.
    Theories of self-control suggest that people have limited resource
    pools of self-control, and facing frequent frustration and purchasing
    decisions may deplete this resource. In this paper, we
    present the results of a Mechanical Turk study on a popular casual
    game, Candy Crush Saga, to investigate various factors
    impacting player behaviour, with a specific focus on self-control.
    Our study reveals that the amount players spend on in-app purchases
    is correlated with lower levels of self-control. On the other
    hand, purchases and self-control levels were not significantly
    correlated with the amount of time people play, game addiction,
    or problem video game playing. We present design recommendations
    which can be applied to existing or new game designs in
    terms of both the economics of games and the psychology of
    games, including mechanics to account for low self-control and to
    avoid negative effects on self-control.},
    booktitle = {Proc. GEM},
    year = {2014},
    numpages = {6},
    publisher = {IEEE},
    pdf = {ieee-gem2014_submission_56.pdf},
    subtype = {conference}
    }


    Abstract

    Casual Games and free-to-play games have recently rapidly increased in popularity, perhaps in part because of the success of in-app purchases and micro-transactions as an economic model. While these games are often touted for their success in the gaming market, the effect on players when faced with such frequent purchasing decisions in-game is not well-studied. Theories of self-control suggest that people have limited resource pools of self-control, and facing frequent frustration and purchasing decisions may deplete this resource. In this paper, we present the results of a Mechanical Turk study on a popular casual game, Candy Crush Saga, to investigate various factors impacting player behaviour, with a specific focus on self-control. Our study reveals that the amount players spend on in-app purchases is correlated with lower levels of self-control. On the other hand, purchases and self-control levels were not significantly correlated with the amount of time people play, game addiction, or problem video game playing. We present design recommendations which can be applied to existing or new game designs in terms of both the economics of games and the psychology of games, including mechanics to account for low self-control and to avoid negative effects on self-control.