Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

The fine line between marketing and addiction in games

I don’t normally blog just to link to someone else’s writing, because that kind of bugs me, but allow me this rare indulgence. This is worth a read:

It’s a bit one-sided. I don’t like the moaning that virtual items ‘never existed’. Just because something is encoded digitally does not mean it has no value, even if the scarcity is artificial. (I own a ‘limited-edition’ print of a painting of a native american dancer, on the wall of my office. That’s artificial scarcity, and nobody minds that…).

But given my beef with that specific complaint, it’s still an interesting read. I’d hate to think people spent too much money, money they didn’t have, especially if they got into debt… on my games. I need to earn a living, but I don’t need money enough to risk getting people addicted to something just to line my pockets.

There is a fine line between clever marketing and design, and exploiting psychological tricks to wring every last penny from addicts. Modern companies of all types need to pay attention to that line, and not cross it.