How to Brief Players on Return To the Game (Acagamic Tip Tuesday #12)

the acagamic tip tuesday May 03, 2022
Screenshot of clash of clans villager viking with red hair and viking helmet stating

Welcome back to The Acagamic Tip Tuesday.

Each Tuesday, I will send you a tip from the world of UX Research & Design for games. At my website The Acagamic, I focus on training people to become better researchers and designers for games and beyond.

Each tip will only take a few minutes to read.

Game UX Tip of the Week

Brief on return: If a player stops playing your game for a while and then returns to it, brief your returning players so they can remember how to play, learn new gameplay elements, and can easily continue.

This recap strategy is essential for games that require prolonged playing time or have players take longer breaks from the game occasionally. Short briefings can be provided to your players either every time they start the game or after a long time of absence.

You can recap the narrative, remind the player of controls, or provide more information about game systems to help players understand how to use them effectively.

Recap will always improve the UX of your game, but don’t forget to include a skip function to give the player agency over the information you are presenting.

Clash of Clans reminds you of gameplay when you have not played in a while.
Dragon Quest XI reminds players of the events that have happened.

Three Game UX Tweets

Two Links

Sea Hero Quest – Alzheimer's Research UK

OSF | Prevalence and Salience of Problematic Microtransactions in Top Grossing Games

UX Games Research Tip of the Week

These authors conducted a content analysis of 801 negative player reviews of the 50 highest-grossing games on the Google Play store (mobile games) and Steam store (PC games) to find the most problematic microtransactions. They found 88% of those mobile games were disliked because their dynamics were designed to drive spending and the UX was degraded without spend. In contrast, only 28% of those PC games featured content locked behind a paywall, or dynamics designed to drive spending, and suffered from overpricing.

The authors interpret this as mobile games being tied to the freemium model and having the pressure to monetize through microtransactions. However, players perceive this as intruding on their play experience.

A game that is noticeably designed with monetization in mind was most problematic for all players in the study.

Read the full study

Elena Petrovskaya, Sebastian Deterding, and David I Zendle. 2022. Prevalence and Salience of Problematic Microtransactions in Top-Grossing Mobile and PC Games: A Content Analysis of User Reviews. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 560, 1–12.

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