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15. Reward Structures



  • What can be rewarded? What kinds of behavior does the designer want to incentivize and what are the different options. Goal is to give Players a set of meaningful choices and a set of options that make the game feel more engaging
  • Categories of rewards

Cognitive Evaluation Theory (Wikipedia)

Cognitive Evaluation Theory is a theory in Psychology that is designed to explain the effects of external consequences on internal motivation. Specifically, CET is a sub-theory of Self-Determination Theory that focus on competence and autonomy while examining how intrinsic motivation is affected by external forces

  • Tangible/intangible – physical things vs. things that are not real in any physical sense (e.g. money or physical badges vs. status or verbal reward)
  • Expected/unexpected – e.g. performing a certain number of tasks for a reward vs. a reward occurring randomly (surprise)
  • Contingency
    • Task non-contingent – You get the reward no matter what; you do not need to do anything for the reward
    • Engagement-contingent – You get the reward when you start a task
    • Completion-contingent – You get the reward when you finish the task
    • Performance-contingent – You get the reward if you do the task well

Example: Samsung Nation. 

  • Cruise Badge – reward for hanging out on the site for a certain amount of time.
    • Intangible
    • Unexpected
    • Engagement-contingent
  • Quest Badge – reward for completing a quest
    • Intangible
    • Expected
    • Completion- contingent

Example: WOW

  • Master Angler title for Fishing
    • Intangible
    • Expected
    • Performance-contingent
  • Catch 1000 Fish title for Fishing
    • Intangible
    • Expected
    • Completion-contingent

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