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This article talks about how game social interactions can better enhance players' experience and how to potentially improve players' social experience in-game.

Yongcheng Liu, Blogger

June 6, 2022

8 Min Read

1. In-game social interactions in-game become crucial

In-game social interactions refer to that players can establish interactions between people in the game. Compared with the simple gaming experience, some players are more willing to play games with different people, and through playing, chatting, emoticons, icons, and other ways to achieve sharing opinions, information, and emotional communication, to meet the needs for social interactions.

And some game has natural social attributes, creating many topics for interactions, and topics are the best medium for strangers to build connection, to understand each other, and maintain the frequency of communication. These games and social interactions complement each other, so that players can better experience the game.

2. What are the types of in-game social interactions

Social interactions play an increasingly important role in the game, and the degree of its focus varies in different games, which can be broadly divided into two major parts: online game social interactions and offline game social interactions.

Social interactions in online games

  • Short-term scenarized social interactions

For short-term scenarized social interactions, most of them are found in PVP games, where the social experience is dependent on the short-term game scenario and will fade after it. For example, players are randomly matched with teammates in FPS/TPS games, and the social experience starts only after the game starts. Players can communicate by voice chat, emoji, etc., and can also communicate by different actions in the game, and the content of the communication is basically for that scenario.

  • Long-term deep social interactions

Long-term deep social experiences are generally generated in MMORPG games. Unlike short-term scenarized social interactions, social interactions in this game do not depend on specific game scenarios, but most players will form long-term social relationships in the game, and their connection in the game is not only limited to the game but will involve the players' own hobbies, work, life, etc. Since players need to form a closer link with community organizations to carry out various activities in such games, a long-term deep social relationship is formed driven by the sense of community and their own preferences, which also allows players to maintain a long period of social connections.

  • Simple interactions

In many mobile games, simple interaction is the most common way. To get game coins, items or growth points, people will add friends in the game as it requires, but after getting the rewards there is no more social interaction. In the design of this kind of social interaction, players may be willing to follow the guidance to interact with others, but the experience of social interaction is not so good.

Social interactions in offline games

  • For party

The popular It Takes Two has made people discover the fun of playing together offline. In a game based on cooperation, whether it is two or more people, whether it is competitive or cooperational, allowing everyone to participate in the same game and interact in it, this new way of socializing has also become a very important social experience today.

3. Why social interactions in games are necessary?

First of all, for players, we have to understand that the users of the game are players, and players are essentially "human", according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, "human" have social needs, whether in reality or in the virtual game, people are all willing to meet new friends and socialize. Secondly, as a game party, the design of game social can effectively improve the engagement of users.

Social needs of players

On the one hand, as a new way of social interaction, unlike real social interaction, players are more comfortable with their social performance in the game. In such a unique scene as the game, players can voluntarily reveal information about themselves and adjust their social distance independently, which gives players a great sense of security. On the other hand, after the players have a sense of satisfaction and achievement in the game, they need to interact with others to get others' affirmation of themselves and further strengthen the sense of satisfaction and achievement, which is a reflection of the players' high-level needs.

Social interactions improve player retention

This requires us to understand that "human" has needs, when "human" needs are satisfied, they will implement the behavior to satisfy their needs again; when the player's needs in the game are satisfied, he will stay in the game for a long time. If the gameplay does not attract players for a long time, players will leave after a while; while the social interaction in-game can effectively fill the defect, meet the social needs of players, strengthen the connection between players and the game, so as to become a motivation for player retention.

4. How to improve players social experience in-game

In terms of in-game social interactions, the interaction system in traditional MMORPG games is already very mature and allows many players to maintain a fairly long relationship with the game, which we don't need to explain. For today's new less social games such as competitive, card games, and adventure games, how to meet the social needs of players and how to enhance the social experience of the game, we can find out.

Virtual identity and interactive experience

  • Build a virtual identity

In the game, players can create their own virtual identity to start social activities with a new identity and ideal personality. The creation of virtual identity allows players to get rid of many constraints of real-life and gain more free and diverse social experiences.

  • Improve interactive experience

In designing, we should always pay attention to the user and restore the player's sensory experience; the age, personality, behavior, sound presentation, and language performance of the player's virtual identity should be completely and perfectly taken into consideration. For example, in the creation of virtual identity in Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, players can independently choose whether to create their own characters under the guidance of the sorting hat after entering the game. Players can create their own virtual image according to the movie, or complete the character creation according to their own will or by random generation, and the interaction in the checkroom and different accessory choices all allow players to immerse themselves in the game and let them In the game to achieve the ideal incarnation.

In the game world, the new way of "lighter" social interactions can reduce the social burden of players. In Sky: Children of Light, players are free to choose whether to share and collaborate in the game through companionship, rather than through teaming, which effectively reduces the social burden of players. The interface design in the game is also relatively simple, without text or icons, only retaining the graphical information. With a variety of interactive actions and ways of experience, in the game two people deepen their communication, you can hold hands and chat with each other, which makes the social experience also become simple and rich.

  • Weaken "heavy" social interaction

The social experience should be weakened by "heavy" social interactions, eliminating useless interactions and forced social behavior to obtain rewards in-game. For example, in MMORPG games, although a clear social relationship is built, the real social interaction behavior may not happen, which leads to useless social way, the game social should be to guide the exact interaction experience between players, rather than forced social behaviour, forced to team up to fight monsters, forced to join the community, etc., which makes players from controlling the game into the state of being controlled by the game, greatly reducing the sense of freedom of players. Therefore, the game social experience should weaken the "heavy" social, and consider the players' social will.

  • Simplfy the design of interface

1)Make a reasonable layout of interactive information and arrange the order of priority of information.

2)Simplfy textual information, replace a large amount of text through graphical representation, and use emotionally infectious symbols to enhance emotional expression.

3)Pay attention to the application of visual principles, always pay attention to the presentation of color, typography, and information when presenting interactive information in the interface, establish the relevance of similar information, and strengthen the hierarchical relationship between primary and secondary information.

4)Animation guidance can also be used in the interface to weaken the existence of UI, save the visual space of the interface, and produce a sense of immersion.

When in-game social interactions have become a must, this requires a more novel and unique way to attract players. In Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, the novel social experience is reflected in every aspect: when you first enter the game, you will enter different colleges through the sorting cap, and players will be assigned to different dormitories, which will allow players to invite their friends freely, making the dormitory atmosphere like campus life and strengthening the feelings between roommates; the PVP has also become a part of the interaction in magic life; the game is also based on the plot of the original novel, such as dancing party, Quidditch, magic courses and a variety of wonderful magic college life. The game has both the type of cooperation and ranking system to promote healthy competition, and the diversified social ways all strengthen the players' social experience to a certain extent, stimulate the enthusiasm of players and meet their needs.

Social interactions in games have become a new way of life entertainment and interpersonal interaction for players, and players are increasingly experiencing the fun of games and social interactions. Excellent game social experience design can let players get a good interpersonal interaction experience outside the game so that it can meet the emotional and social needs of players, which can not only meet the needs of players but also ensure the user retention of the game. Especially in non-MMO games, we should start by creating virtual character creation, building a "lighter" social interactive system, designing an interface, and providing diversified social ways to effectively improve the social experience of the game!

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