Loss Aversion

People are more sensitive to losses than gains of similar magnitude.

This is part of prospect theory in behavioral economics: People hate losing. We hate losing opportunities. We hate selling things we value at market price. We hate the feeling we are losing value on anything, and we hate it more than we like gains of similar sizes. Have you ever seen over-the-top reactions from gamers to bugs, or losing a save or an item? I’m sure you have. What you probably haven’t seen is a positive reaction, of equal magnitude to something really cool in a game. I mean it happens, but it’s rare. Most people say “whoa that’s cool” and move on.

From a game dev perspective this means that preventing bugs and perceived feeling of unfairness should be high on the priority list. People really hate feeling cheated. Try to design and polish your game to avoid scenarios where gamers experience a loss.

Stellaris Megacorp