People are social creatures that love to interact with other people. Even within a video game this still applies. By having social features in a game, you also can increase player rentention and could get people to play with just a little bit of envy.
We are not talking about envy in the normal sense; there are other types of envy. Benign envy makes you want to raise your level of skill so that you’re on that person’s level. Malicious envy is the envy you know of; this envy compels you to want to bring the other person down to your level. Being able to leverage these two types of envy can potentially make your game a better experience for your players. Here’s an example of a feature that can do that for you.
LeaderBoards And Ranking Systems
Leaderboards and ranking systems a clever way to get players to play longer. Why you might ask? If a player has someone they can look up to and consider that they can also get to that level, they are more likely to invest time into the game.
For example, if you have a leaderboard in your game that shows all the players’ scores. When a player takes a look at those scores and notices that their ranking going up, they are more likely to play the game longer if the ranking is attainable. Who doesn’t want to feel like the best player among those in the world, or even just among their friends? This is why many of the games you play with any multiplayer features tend to send you information about what other players are doing as well.
For example, showing the highest level of play to someone in the lowest leagues isn’t very relevant. Showing them someone slightly better can allow them to more effectively get to the next level and enjoy their play experience further. This is more likely to trigger benign envy.
Malicious envy could also be used if you want the other players to bring a player down to their level. But, this should only happen if the player believes that the player does not deserve what they’ve gotten. Think about pay to win in game communities or being able to shortcut the hard work required to recieve a reward in game.
However, I think we’re better off trying to leverage bening envy to inspire others and bring a more positive community. The most important is to allow the player who is experience envy, a way to level the playing field with the other player.
You as a developer could take this and create a game that continues to inspire others well after they stop playing the game.
As you can see, a little bit of envy can go a long way for both you and your players. The important thing is to use this kind of information for good.
Good luck game making!!