Dark Design Patterns in Coin Master : An In-Depth Game Analysis
Abstract: In this study we will investigate the evolution of manipulative and experientially devaluative business practices in the mobile game industry from the perspective of game designers. The focus will be placed on the use of Dark Design Patterns defined in previous research by Zagal et al. (2013), significant changes since their cataloguing in said study, and the emergence of new ones. To do this, we isolate the different Game Modes of Coin Master and use Formal Analysis to break down various systems and interactions. In order to identify Dark Patterns, we use Zagal et al. (2013) study, supplemented by a list of potentially exploitable cognitive biases found in the work of Mathur et al (2019) as our theoretical framework. We discovered that many of the previously defined Dark Patterns can still be found in Coin master, along with hitherto new and undefined ones, chiefly related to company or developer interests as opposed to the players’. Dark Patterns of monetary and temporal nature appeared to have a close connection as they often manifested together, also commonly underpinned by exploitation of cognitive biases. Our findings are indicative of an increased intensity of predation on players, primarily motivated by monetary gain and to the detriment of player experience.
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