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The processing industry and the gaming industry have a lot in common. They are both extremely secretive, and they both use the science of brain chemistry to drive the design of their products. And that leads us to salty, sugary snacks that never quite satisfy, but that we can not stop eating. And it also leads to games like Far Cry 6, which we can not stop playing.
Ubisoft has spent years perfecting a design process that will overwhelm players. In the way that food companies mix sugar, fat and salts together to create an addictive response, Ubisoft mixes progression, unlocks and maps distractions to produce a similar effect.
But getting people to play a game is inherently not a bad thing. Where Ubisoft develops into problematic design is when it seems to prioritize this bliss response on the exclusion of everything else.
It does not matter if Far Cry 6 is satisfactory – it’s just important that you keep playing
The science of addictive food is about blasting you with taste and mouthfeel at once and then letting it disappear in an instant. If a chip has a strong cheese flavor and high crunch and then appears to dissolve in the mouth, you will probably find yourself reaching more and more.
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Ubisoft games use design in the same way. Each new quest gives you an outburst of dopamine while chasing something new, but then the quest itself melts into a gray nothing that is hard to distinguish from each other.
And is that not how we talk about these games? It’s always about how the developers overloaded the card with icons. Rarely do I hear anyone talk about the details of any of these missions.
Of course, none of this Ubisoft particularly hurts. Capitalism encourages creators to exploit others to maximize return on investment. And we should expect more developers to address this under a system that lacks public funding for art as a game.
But it is also risky for Ubisoft because games as opposed to processed foods are expensive. Players do not want to think of these $ 60 or $ 70 purchases as disposable dopamine delivery equipment. If Ubisoft leaves the drug, it could find consumers ignoring its game Cheeto Puffs for companies trying to deliver something more nutritional.
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