This piece at IGN has an intriguing look at the world of Achievements from a sales perspective. It seems that games emphasizing various levels of accomplishment (and containing a higher number of varied accomplishments) tend to sell better at retail, are better reviewed by whoever it is that does that sort of thing, and generally are better liked by peers, classmates and that cute blonde girl who lives down the block. To hear the article tell it:
“Consumers want their games to include both variety and abundance of Accomplishments,” said Geoffrey Zatkin, COO of [Electronic Entertainment Design And Research]. “Our research shows that incentives such as Accomplishments impact sales choices such as which game title to buy and which platform to buy it on; they also extend the replayability of a title.
So why is this? While the article doesn’t attempt to conjecture, it has long been known that — even in the world of gaming — completing “fun” objectives releases a burst of dopamine into the brain. It shouldn’t at all be shocking to see the sales numbers reflect customers gravitating towards the greatest source of this “high”.
I’m sure Microsoft isn’t about to start sending off Press Releases proclaiming their games get you “higher” than those found on the Wii, but it’s quite obvious that their calculated move into the world of Achievements landed them directly in the land of addictive MMO titles, along with their insane profitability.
How long will it be before Chinese post-teens start dying in front of Madden 08, and the media decrys the entire industry as the new meth epidemic? Maybe if we turn off all the lights, they’ll think we’re asleep and leave us alone!