Angry birds works because of “near misses”


“I have to admit that the demand was a little bit beyond our expectations,” Laurs says. “It does literally appeal to everybody, no exception.”

It was designed to. Mark Griffiths is a professor of psychology who also heads the International Gaming Research unit at Nottingham Trent University. “It’s very similar to the research I do on gambling,” he says. “When you can pinpoint where you went wrong, this is called a near miss. It’s used all the time in terms of how scratch cards and slot machines are designed. When we fail to win, we create a reason in our mind why we didn’t. The losses effectively become near-wins and feel ‘cognitively frustrating’. And the only way you can get rid of that frustration is to go back to the start and play again.” A 2008 study, conducted by Carmen Rusiello, director of the East Carolina University psychophysiology department, and funded by games developer Popcap, found that the “cognitive distraction” provided by casual mobile games such as Bejeweled significantly improved players’ moods and stress levels among the 134 tested.

“It’s also incredibly simple,” says Griffiths. “If it were too complicated, people wouldn’t persist. Addictions in the true sense are about constant rewards. I’ve never met anyone addicted to a bi-weekly national lottery, because there’s only two chances a week. On a slot machine, when you can gamble 30 times a minute, that’s very rewarding. On a game like Angry Birds, it’s every few seconds.”

Amplify’d from

Angry Birds is the first waste of 75 millions people’s
time that can be accurately quantified. Every day, users spend 200
million minutes — 16 years every hour — playing the mobile game.
Three trillion pigs have been popped. It has filled billions of
those interstitial moments spent riding the bus, on a plane or in
important work meetings, and it is or has been the number-one paid
app on iTunes in 68 countries, as well as the best-selling paid app
of all time. It went straight to the top of
the new Mac App Store in January
, selling 150,000 copies in its
first week. Sixty thousand Angry
soft toys
have been sold. In January, the trailer
for the new Angry Birds
racked up 500,000 YouTube views in a weekend; on
official videos alone, Angry Birds has had 27 million
total views. In total, the “brand” has taken more than €50 million:
not bad for a game that cost €100,000 to make. On the first
anniversary of its release, 2,405 people in 756 cities worldwide
wasted even more of their time holding events in celebration of
Angry Birds Day”.
David Cameron
Justin Bieber
say they are fans. So do Paul Gascoigne and
Salman Rushdie.