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Understanding the Appeal of Online Social Games: Why People Play and What They Get Out of It


Online social games have become popular in recent years. They provide users with a platform for social connection, competition, and achievement. This article will explore the reasons why people play online social games. It will also unravel the social benefits players derive from them.


Do you ever lose track of time playing online social games and wonder why you’re so hooked? Well, you’re not alone! These virtual worlds have attracted millions of players worldwide!

And get this, in the US alone, the number of social game players skyrocketed. From 77 million to over 100 million in five years, from 2015 to 2020! That’s insane!

But don’t worry, we’re here to help you understand the appeal of these games. In this blog, we’re exploring the appeal behind online social games engaging. What makes players so addicted to them?

So buckle up and get ready to uncover the secrets behind the popularity of online social gaming. We’ll also explore the benefits that players can gain from them. Let’s get started!


Social connection on online social games

One of the key draws of online social games is their ability to give social connection. You’re able to interact with others from anywhere. More so, this allows you to form friendships within the game world. 

Multiplayer functionality is a key aspect of social games. It allows players to “team up” with others to complete tasks or battle with others. But in some instances, this function is great on its own! For example, you can explore an infinite world in Minecraft with others.  

Another one is customization. Many social games offer this, which allows players to create unique avatars. But more than that, they have their own “space” that they can play with. The catch here is that players are able to reflect their personalities through this.

The social connection that online social games give is a motivator. There are many studies that conclude a positive impact from social interaction. And online social gaming provides a sense of community for players who might lack it.

Of course, too much of the good thing is always bad. Excessive gaming and social isolation can pose dangers to one’s mental health too. So, it’s important for players to keep things balanced online and offline.


escapism on online social games

Another important aspect of the appeal of online social games is escapism. Imagine, you’re able to put yourself in a different situation. Yes, we’re talking about your favorite virtual worlds and characters. With that, you can feel yourself in a different environment. So, with that comes a different experience! 

So far, the more impossible and magical the setup is, the better for players. They tend to like those out of the world environments more than those same in real life. 

Social games also often feature great storylines. This allows players to “escape” from their real-life problems. But another thing that this aspect adds is that players are in full control. You get a sense of agency, which might not always be the case in real life.

Of course, there are several psychological benefits to this aspect. There are studies that show games that give you control lead to a better well-being. So, players are able to meet this need by playing these social games.

But it’s also important to note that too much escapism is also not good. It can lead to negative effects, like addiction and disengagement. 


achievement on online social games

Aside from social connection and escapism, what more do social games offer? Well, there’s rewards and progression. They’re able to get a variety of rewards and provide a sense of “leveling up” on these games. And usually, all they have to do is complete challenges, get new items or skills, or achieve high scores.

Of course, there are many types of rewards and achievements on these social games. You can get cosmetic items, custom avatars, new areas, and even in-game currencies! The list goes on and some social games even give real-world rewards to players.

Now, let’s go to achievement and progression in social games. From their names, they’re bound to give motivation to players. Like, players feel a sense of satisfaction knowing they leveled up. Or how about if they reach the leaderboard? This keeps them hooked to play for hours on end.

For example, in World of Warcraft, players can work towards leveling up. They can complete challenges or get rare items along the way to do so. When players do these things and level up, they feel great. But more than that, they get rewards that make their characters better.

There’s also Candy Crush, which used to be a classic social game on Facebook. Players can share their achievements online or on the leaderboard. They can also challenge other players to a game. But the aspect here of rewards is that they get new levels and challenges. 

All in all, the sense of achievement and progress that these games provide is good. 


Competition on online social games

If there’s one thing that screams interaction, it’s competition. What does it have to do with social games? Competition is another important aspect of online social games. It allows players to engage with each other within the game. But the twist is that they’re against each other, which makes it competitive. 

Social games give players many ways to be competitive. There are levels and rankings, leaderboards, and matches. These things signal to players that they’re not the only ones playing. More so, that it urges them to top other players in all aspects.

The most common competitive features in social games are rankings and leaderboards. These allow players to fight against each other by stacking up. They can work harder to climb the rankings and higher scores.

Then multiplayer matches are one of the most sought after features in social games. Players can battle with one another in real-time! What’s more? They have a goal per team and each player can receive extra rewards after the game. This type of competition can be particularly engaging. It lets players show their skills and use them against other players. 

After looking at some examples, let’s see how this benefits players. For one, it drives engagement in social games. What keeps players coming back for more is the desire to beat their rivals. More than the battle, the competition can build connections among players. That’s why there are players who became a duo, trio, or whole team.

A famous example of this is the game Clash of Clans. Players can form clans and compete against other clans. By doing so, they’re able to get more resources and territories. More than battling it out, clams form strategies and give a sense of teamwork in the competition.

There’s also the game Fortnite. Players compete against each other in real-time matches. Then there’s a ranking and leaderboard that tracks their progress. Who wouldn’t want to be first in kills and resources, right?

So, what does competition add into social games? It’s the sense of engagement of beating opponents, and also playing with others.


monetization on online social games

It’s not something talked about much, but monetization counts here, too. It can have a great impact on the motivation and engagement of players. But first, we have to define what we mean by monetizing something. In the simplest terms out there, it’s when you involve the use of money to something. For social casinos, they use different strategies to gain profit.

What are some examples? Well, there are many, like in-game purchases, virtual currencies or items, and advertising. If you play a social game, you’ve already seen how you can buy items, upgrades, or even new characters with real money. More than the experience, players who do let out money to the game can gain a huge advantage.

Then there’s advertising. The most common example of it is when you see ads often appearing between levels. Sometimes, you’ll even see it during loading screens. You can also even get rewards or level ups by playing the ad’s video. This is something that generates income to the game, because ads are sponsors, too. They give money based on how many players click on the game.

Of course, only because something is possible doesn’t always mean it’s right. It’s effective in getting profits for developers, but it can be annoying for players. Imagine having so many ads pop up after playing a game? You’d think to yourself that you’re wasting too much time on these ads than the game. So, you don’t play it again.

Now, let’s go to some ethical and legal considerations surrounding monetization. There are some countries and organizations that call for players’ protection. To an extent, they want to regulate these ways developers monetize the game. Why? Well, for one, players don’t know what’s monetized or not. And second, there’s a force to them to watch ads, it’s not an option most of the time.

For example, Candy Crush lets you buy boosters to help you get through levels faster. There’s also Pokémon Go, which lets you watch sponsored ads to earn in-game rewards.

Monetization strategies can impact player engagement in many ways, both good and bad. And in that, developers should always strike a balance with these considerations.


In conclusion, online social games have an amazing appeal to players. Social connections, escapism, rewards and progression, competition, and monetization are the main aspects. These things build social games that allow players to connect with others. But more than that, it allows them to enjoy themselves while in-game too.

If players could play with others in real time, who wouldn’t take the chance? But there are always stoppers to these aspects, because they can be bad if too much. Despite these challenges, online social games are marking a name down.

All in all, understanding the appeal of online social games will make you more aware of them. Not only will it help you enjoy social games more. More than that, you will also know where to strike that balance when playing. As technology keeps ramping up, online social games will continue to be a popular form of game.

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