Over a third (37%) of mobile gamers in the UK spend more than ten hours per week gaming on their mobile devices. These games can be highly addicting, causing some users to spend too many hours playing and causing issues in other areas of their lives.
But what is it about them that makes them so addictive? The team at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere say mobile games are often purposefully designed by app developers to keep you playing and coming back for more through a number of tactics.
We’ve asked the addiction specialists to share insight into what aspects of mobile video games are the most addictive and tips on how you can combat gaming addiction.
5 Reasons Why Mobile Games Are so Addictive
1. Escalating Difficulty
To get users hooked, mobile games usually start out really easy so that they move through the first few levels quickly. As this happens the player’s dopamine levels are stimulated giving them a quick burst of the pleasure hormone when they are rewarded for completing tasks.
As the levels in mobile games get harder, these dopamine chemicals get higher as the player feels a sense of accomplishment for achieving some of the hardest levels in the game which keeps them coming back for more.
2. Bright Colours and Hypnotic Colours
Have you ever noticed that mobile games are filled with bubblegum colours and graphics that are pleasing to the eye? This is not by accident. In fact, app and game creators will purposefully include colours and images that stimulate our senses.
Our brains are innately wired to be attracted to bright colours and images and creators are very aware of this. So when you add it into the mix of a game that is already enjoyable, it’s easy to see why people find it hard to put mobile games down.
3. Push Notifications
Mobile games are often designed with what is called appointment mechanics, that are added into games by designers. What this means is that, mobile games send push notifications to your phones at certain times of the day that reinforces the habit of playing them.
Other examples of how game creators use appointment mechanics are by incorporating daily rewards that users receive when they log in at certain times each day.
4. Freemium Qualities
Another aspect of mobile games in particular that makes them so addictive is that a lot of them are free or advertised for free by creators. What this means is that users do not have to pay any money to get access to their favourite games.
Freemium games differ slightly whereby, users have access to games for free for a certain amount of time or levels, after this period users will then have to start paying to progress further in the game and level up.
5. Ease of Access
Mobile games are some of the most easily accessible games out there meaning that it’s very easy for users to become addicted to them.
A lot of gaming can often require players to have additional consoles or equipment in order to be able to play them but with mobile games, we have access to them anytime anywhere and we don’t need to make any extra effort to reach them.
Tips to combat mobile gaming addiction
1. Create Time Limits
One of the easiest ways to combat addiction to mobile video games is to set time limits and alarms when you play them. Say if you have a spare 30 minutes after work before you go out with friends.
Make sure to set a timer for 30 minutes and switch it off when it goes off. This means that no matter where you are in the game or if you have an extra 15 minutes spare the game still goes off.
2. Switch off Push Notifications
As mentioned above getting notifications to remind you to play games can be one of the biggest reasons why people get addicted to mobile video games.
Therefore, if you find yourself tempted to go on your game when you are trying to cut back the amount of time/hours that you spend on it, make sure to turn off any push notifications that you receive from the app so that you don’t end up back on games when you aren’t meant to be.
3. Deleting or Lock Certain Apps
If you’re trying to cut back on the number of hours that you spend gaming on your mobile phone, you can always try deleting the apps altogether or putting a lock on them for certain times of the day.
To do this iPhone users can navigate to screen time, go on app limits and lock apps they find tempting for however long they want to.
4. Track Your Screen Time
If you are worried about how much time you are spending on your phone playing mobile games, make sure to track how long each day you are spending playing them.
Having a look at your screen time each day or week can be a good eye-opener for those who spend too much time playing games on their phone and may even shock them into reality.
5.Seek Professional Help or Therapy
If you’re worried that your mobile gaming addiction is getting out of hand one of the best ways to combat the addiction is to seek professional help or therapy. Specialists can help someone who is addicted realise how their ideas about mobile games are distorted and what problems their addiction may be creating in their own or others’ lives.