Online games have grown immensely popular in a relatively short space of time. It was bound to happen really, especially given the fact that you can play with real players from all over the world. Humans crave human interaction because it gives us entertainment and a sense of purpose. Besides, why would language have developed to the point that it has if we weren’t going to use to communicate with other people?
However, human interaction isn’t the only form of interactivity that’s important when it comes to online games. The way we interact with the games themselves is also a huge factor, and that’s where user experience comes into play. But if games are just there for a bit of mindless entertainment to pass the time, why does user experience matter?
Below, we’ll talk about what user experience – or UX – is, as well as why it’s vital to the success of online games.
How Games Keep Players Coming Back
Online games are addictive for a number of reasons. We’ve already touched on the fact that they allow you to communicate with other players, but interactivity plays a huge role too. When it comes to games, interactivity is largely concerned with happens as a result of your actions. If you’re playing a fighting game, you need to know exactly which button will result in a punch or a kick when you press it. If the actions you take are unpredictable, you won’t enjoy playing the game.
User experience is also concerned with how easy it is to navigate menus and how appealing the whole system looks. For example, bingo is a simple game to play that’s been enjoyed for centuries, but online versions such as Sun Bingo would fail to be popular if a bad user experience meant players couldn’t even figure out how to get a game started.
What do UX Designers do?
UX designers have to constantly ask themselves questions to make sure they create a satisfactory user experience for both players and game developers. They need to bear in mind the game’s audience as well as the developer’s aims. If a developer wants players to spend cash buying credits as they progress, the UX designer needs to make sure the user experience promotes it successfully.
In basic terms, user experience is exactly what it says it is – how the user experiences the game through every step, from menus to load screens and the actual gameplay. While that seems obvious, users need to experience the game in the way the developer intended, so UX designers have an incredibly tough job on their hands.
Now that you’ve had UX explained, you can probably see why it’s so vital. After all, if the user experience isn’t near perfect, people will simply find a different game to play. That’s why you’ll find a lot of both online games and websites asking you for feedback about the experience you had while using their systems.