For those who have not heard of the new, popular mobile phone game, Candy Crush, allow me enlighten you.
Under its heartwarming exterior lies a scene of dark psychological persuasion. It is both a game and an addiction. Though I have never personally played Candy Crush, I have seen it take hold of those near and dear to me. The land of Candy Crush is the place where social interactions go to die. People become so involved in the game to the point that I feel as though I’ve befriended zombies.
I understand that people become rather addicted to video games, but what leads people to spend real money for in game power-ups such as lollipops and who knows what other kind of odd sugary paraphernalia. This abnormal rational has even led to blogs being dedicated to confessing how much one has spent on in-game purchases (See Below).
This question of what leads people to spend absurd amounts of real money on in-game purchases draws parallels to why brides spend so much on a wedding dress when they will only wear it once. It is merely a matter of emotional investment into the situation. The bride is so emotionally invested into her ideal storybook wedding dress that she may not be making rational purchasing decisions. The same goes for Candy Crushers (Yes, this is now a term for those who partake in the game). They let emotions of anger and frustration towards certain levels overwhelm their economic rationale. Though a lot has been said about the consumer end of this game, I will also quickly examine the video game makers economic rationale.
King, the company that makes Candy Crush, is nothing short of brilliant. They entice people to play this fun new game and its 100% free to download. The first levels are supposedly quite easy and hook the player. Once a certain level of commitment and traction has been hit by the player, the levels become more and more difficult until they no longer enjoy the game and begin to experience frustration. By having people get addicted to beating these levels and imposing a negative conditioning stimulus, people are inclined to pay for these in-game purchases to progress in the game. Thus, by offering a free game and playing with emotions, King has built a revenue powerhouse of a game. This makes total economic sense for them and this brilliant scheme explains why consumers act irrationally.
[Note: I realize this may have been a heavy analysis on baffling behavior as opposed to a tangible object]