Psychology of High Scores, Leaderboards, & Competition

Psychology of High Scores, Leaderboards, & Competition

In October of 2014 I was invited to speak at the Mobile Games Forum in Seattle. The conference draws business people and game developers working in the mobile games space, so there’s talk about mobile game design, monetization strategies, player engagement, metrics, acquisition, and all that kind of stuff. The organizers asked me to be kind of a weirdo and talk about some semi-relevant topic about psychology and video games.

Given the social nature of most mobile games, I decided to talk about social comparisons, competition, and related topics. Specifically I cover three psychological phenomena related to social comparisons and framing of performance information that may motivate players to keep playing and get better. I don’t have a recording of the actual presentation, but I made a quick and dirty narration of my presentation and embedded it as a YouTube video below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

And yeah, that’s what I sound like. I was going to hire Nolan North, but he didn’t return my e-mails.

The MGF convention was great, by the way. I had three game developers walk up to me and say something like “You’re Jamie Madigan? I love your website!” Which is equal parts awesome and weird to me and I enjoyed talking to them.


- Jamie Madigan, author of The Engagement Game

August 10, 2020
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