How do modern video games reward progress and keep players engaged?

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  • Gaming, in general, has blossomed over recent years and has become a mainstream form of entertainment. eSports, for example, showed a revenue figure of around $1 billion in 2020, which is predicted to grow to over $1.5 billion by 2024. Online casino play is another reason why gaming is so massive now. It is a niche worth around $44 billion in 2019 and is pegged to reach a market size of $66.99 billion by 2025.

    The bonuses online casinos offer to new players are a significant factor in this growth. The NetEnt no deposit bonus offered at some iGaming sites is an excellent illustration of this and gives you free money to game with. For a more in-depth explanation of how this bonus works, the NetEnt Casino website makes it easy to grasp and shows which casinos online offer it.

    Of course, we cannot talk about gaming as a whole without bringing video games into the picture. They are still hugely popular and modern developments such as online video gaming and cutting-edge consoles (like the PS5) have helped. Another reason why modern video games are so widely loved is the rewards they give players for progression and how they work to keep users engaged.

    But how do they do it?

    Randomly generated rewards

    Randomly generated rewards are prizes players get for completing a particular action or for progressing in a game. It is one of the most widely seen reward types because it is a simple way to keep players engaged and adds an element of mystery to the game. Everyone likes a surprise, and this means players will stay interested if they know one is waiting for them.

    This type of reward can also be acquired with real money as a micro-transaction – loot boxes are perhaps the best-known example of this. Although players know what they are paying, random loot boxes mean they do not always know what they get. Some modern titles will also unlock certain parts of the game at random when players get to a certain point. That might see in-game casinos unlocked to enjoy as part of the video game itself. Fortnite and GTA 5 are good examples of games that use these sorts of rewards for players.

    Game events to encourage regular play

    Another design trick modern games use to reward progression and keep players engaged is regular daily or weekly events. They can be anything from new skins to game currency, XP boosts and achievements when you log in. This reward aims to keep players interested, give them something extra for progressing in the game and keep them coming back for more. While the first few batches of rewards might not be too hot, they can build up after a few months to be decent. Many free-to-play titles use this sort of reward – such as Angry Birds (which was among the top games back in 2010).

    Sudden rewards

    Many video games are starting to include this sort of reward for players, but you might know it as an ‘Easter Egg’! It works in broadly the same way as a randomly generated reward but with a few neat twists. Firstly, many Easter eggs contain a set prize and one that does not change. Secondly, they are not given to players for successfully completing a specific action or solving a set puzzle. They cannot usually be purchased as a micro-transaction in-game either.

    Instead, this reward is merely a pleasant extra surprise that players stumble across to pick up as they progress. It not only makes continued play of the game worthwhile but also keeps interest levels up. Open-world titles like Minecraft are known for containing Easter egg rewards.

    Modern video games work hard to reward players

    The above typical design touches in modern video games shows how much effort developers put into keeping players interested and rewarding them for game progression. When you also add in things like competitive rewards and difficulty-based rewards, it gets even better. All of this is excellent news for players. It allows us to get more from playing games that have a lot more included to entertain players for longer. As the industry evolves in the future, it seems likely that the prizes given for progression and the ways in which players are kept engaged will also be developed further by the designers.