“What’s your name?”
When I was a kid, I loved prompts like that in video games. Just knowing that I could name my character increased my enjoyment of the game. As game developers, we can use this to increase our player retention and fondness of our game. Now, you might wonder how this tiny prompt is in any way helpful. Well, let me explain the two major points: control and personal investment.
Control is an important thing for people. When people don’t feel like they are in control of their lives, they tend to not be as happy as they could be. This aspect of human needs tends to come up often as autonomy for many people in the working world. No one likes to be micromanaged or told how to do things; gamers are the same way.
By adding prompts or other ways to customize a character, the experience, or interesting game mechanics, the player feels more control of what happens within the game. This is crucial because they are more likely to remember your game. Have you ever played a roleplaying game and name all the characters after your friends? You already know how fun that can be. If you want to learn more and take this information further, You can find similar claims in the book below.
Now that we talked about control, let’s twist that into investment.
More control means more investment. By allowing our users to have more control, they start to feel like they’re taking ownership of the game.
Ownership of the game is why players will play a game for longer than those who don’t. For example, if you have a game like Animal Crossing and you sink hours into your village, you’re more likely to continue to play as long as you have an objective. You are the one shaping the village, not the game itself. That makes all the difference and will prompt players to once again remember and stay with your game longer.
Now, I hope this information is useful. Take it to heart and if your game has support, let them customize their experience in some way.