PHILOSOPHY OF SOULS GAMES
CHAPTER 4
Media that introduces goal setting have stronger pulls

The secret behind engaging games.

4 Media that introduces goal setting have stronger pulls

Have you ever wondered why FarmVille is so addictive? Or why is stamp collection very engaging for some people (though it looks boring if you are not actually the one doing it)?

This process of setting a target that you want to achieve is called Goal Setting. We do it every day: from the moment we wake up and even just before we sleep. Everything we want to do in a day typically enters our mind through some form of goal setting, whether we are aware of it or not.

However, do you know that media can also trigger goal setting in the consumer? Just a simple example, when you buy a novel, you automatically gain these two implicit goals:

  1. To begin reading the novel
  2. To complete the novel

Some people love to buy books but never get to actually read them, not to say to complete them. They just want to own it, to add it to their collection. And for such people, the goal setting above didn't really have an impact since the goals didn't materialize.

However, media that can create a strong goal setting on the consumer can succeed more in getting consumed by the reader. Let's take two concrete examples.

Imagine: Let's say you bought two films from Amazon: Black Panther and Ready Player One. Both of these two films are amazing and are deserving of the success they made. However, one of them is a prerequisite to another bigger film, the Avengers: Infinity War. You are aware of this relationship between the two movies. Now, in terms of goal setting, which one do you think you will watch first? And an even better question, which one do you think you will re-watch in the future, just before Avengers: Infinity War gets released?

This simple form of goal setting (completing a prerequisite) is also effectively used by manga and anime series. The moment you enjoy the first and the next few episodes, it is almost guaranteed that you will consume everything in the series. Such is the foundation of the success behind One Piece, Naruto, and Attack on Titan.

Now, let us try to relate goal setting to the three forms of pull. Remember, the first initiator of consumption is the Pull to Begin. This kind of pull is more of an immediate desire and momentary intention. It is driven by interest, a whim, a fascination, and a curiosity to try something. But, with goal setting, it suddenly becomes a lot more; it becomes more deliberate, decisive, determined, and acquires conscious intention. It gains a will.

Suddenly, a person gains a committed thought, emotion, and behavior towards attaining a goal. In doing so, the goal setter has established a desired future state which differs from his current state, thus creating a mismatch that, in turn, will spur and drive his future actions.

This is the main reason we find addiction and strong engagement in games that have mastered how to trigger goal setting, as it strongly impacts the Pull to Begin, Continue, and Return.