7 Irrational Reasons Why Gamers Buy and Play Video Games So You Can Make a Game That Sells Itself

Why Do Gamer's Game? And How Will Knowing This Help You Sell More Copies?

Gamers play and buy games because they're fun or because they release stress. Right? Well, those are the intuitive reasons.

What you're about to learn is not intuitive. It's going to be counter intuitive. Most reasons why gamer's game is irrational, and not intuitive.

So, why learn all this? Why should you, as a game dev, know about gamer psychology?

Because by knowing the psychology why gamers buy and play gamers, you'll gain these advantages...

So, get comfortable. Throw on your favourite video game soundtrack. (right now I've been listening to Michael McCann's stuff, the guy who did soundtracks for Deus Ex and XCOM).

And let's learn some new insights that most game devs will ever know...

Irrational Reason Number #7: Gain Praise From Others

These gamers are interested in getting recognition from others for the qualities THEY think they know they have.

They want people to tell them that they're good at making judgement calls during a game. They want people to tell them that they're more intelligent at playing a certain game then most people.

They want praise as evidence of their superiority when playing a game.

Irrational Reason Number 6: Social Advancement

These gamers want to move up into better social circles.

And these gamers don't necessarily need praise from others. They don't like showing off.

They just like to mix with anybody they want. Maybe they don't get this irl.

So they use gaming as a way to mingle with right social group in the gaming community.

Irrational Reason Number 5: Express Their Personalities

A lot of games have a huge need to express their personality.

Why? They want a more attractive personality. They want to gain more popularity. This is a basic human need in attracting a mate. Again, these are all irrational, but they are real.

It's not wonder gamers pay for skins and cosmetic upgrades. A lot of game devs are taking advantage of this, but now you know why it works.

Irrational Reason Number 4: Be Good Parents

There's a big group of gamers that are growing up, having less time to play games, and are having families.

But, these gamers still NEED to play games. And as parents, they have a NEED to be good parents (well, some do).

They want to share and teach their kids what they love and enjoy in life. For example, they buy King's Quest from GOG, and play a simple point-and-click with their 18 month old.

These gamers are constantly looking for new games that they can play with their kids.

Irrational Reason Number 3: Gain Personal Prestige

These games are interested in doing things right.

They'll 100% a game, even though it's not fun, or it takes 120 hours.

These gamers have a secret fear that other people will misjudge them if they don't do things perfectly.

They will do things over and over again, through trial and error, so they learn how to do things properly. They don't want others to see them not as good as others.

They want self-respect, and they fear the risk of making a fool of themselves.

Irrational Reason Number 2: Gain Popularity

These games play games for personal accomplishment -- so they can get noticed.

It's fun for them to be known in the gamer's community. So they start Let's PLays, or they stream games.

It's no fun for them to be wallflowers, and stand in the background. These gamers have their twitter, facebook, youtube notifications turned on their mobile -- at all times. They love hearing that ding.

Their biggest fear is not getting an invitation or being asked to join. This is a huge need, and it motivates them to only play games that will get them popularity.

Irrational Reason Number 1: Gain More Money and a Better Job

These gamers are interested in what almost 99% of our population wants: more money and a bigger, better job.

But, these gamers are facing something new, no past generation had to deal with.

Where it use to be that if you worked hard in school, and graduated, you'd be guaranteed a good paying job. That's gone now.

And these gamers are feeling something no generation had to face before: they worry that no matter how hard they try... no matter how much they follow the rules... no matter what degree they get.. or how much experience they have... they will always worry about where the next dollar is coming from.

These gamers are sick of hearing how others followed the rules, worked hard, and now succeeding.

These gamers know they work hard! But they're not seeing the results they were promised. They were lied to.

Their way out?

Video games. This is their chance to find an opportunity no generation is taking advantage of. Older generations still think video games are toys. But these gamers know that video games are bigger than movies and bigger than sports and bigger than some boring insurance firm their dad wants them to get a job in.

So they have dreams of making money off esports. Or they become a youtuber or a twitcher. Or they design and make video games.

These gamers are pioneers. They are entering a new economy that no older generation understands.

And they play video games because they believe video games are their only way they can have more money, a bigger job, and a better life.

Here's How This Directly Applies To You and Making a Video Game That Sells Itself

These 7 insights are going to help you come up with NEW game designs or game play features that no other game dev has ever dreamed of doing.

And most game dev's will never think like this. Most will do the intuitive thing, and talk more about themselves, and their game.

But in success, it's usually the person that does the counter intuitive thing that NO one is doing.

By knowing why gamer's game, you'll have an advantage over game devs who focus on "me me me".


Because I believe that there's a HUGE video game dev boom happening right now. How many people do you know that are game devs? Or going to school to be a game dev? With all these new video games being made, it's going to be harder and harder to stand out and get a gamer's attention.

And the best way to get a gamer's attention is to talk about THEM.

So, how do you incorporate what you just learned? That's next...

How Can You Use This New Knowledge So You Can Make a Game That Sells Itself?

Let me give you 3 simple steps to help you incorporate these 7 irrational reasons gamer's game. If use what I'm about to teach you, you'll increase the chances of a gamer finding out about your game. And you'll save money on spending on advertising, PR, banner ads, etc.

Step 1: Match Your Video Game Genre With A Gamer Need(s)

Here's the thing with video video genres: they fulfill a gamers selfish need. Sure, a gamer may play 2 or 3 different genres. But they gravitate to one genre they love.


Because, like I said, a video game genre fulfills a need. A selfish need. What kind of selfish need?

You see how all this is coming together? A gamer plays a certain type of genre because it fulfills one of his or her needs.

Of course, a gamer has a mix of all those needs. It's not only one that they are after. But depending on a gamer's personality, they will gravitate to one of those 7 irrational reasons.

So, how do you make sure your video game matches a gamer need? That's next...

Step 2: Make Sure Your Video Game Specializes In a Sub-Genre

It's ok that your game has elements of different genres. But if a game dev doesn't put a focus on a certain sub-genre, they're going to miss an opportunity.

What I mean is, we are never satisfied when we meet one of our needs. For example, a gamer will find a new game that fulfills her need to express her personality. But that "high" is soon over. That gamer will constantly keep looking for other games that will give her the high when a game lets her express her personality.

If a game dev isn't clear of what type of game they are, then that gamer is going to pass them by.

But, if you make it clear what sub-genre your game is, then you'll grab that gamers attention. You won't miss that opportunity when a gamer is window shopping, and looking for new games that will give them a new high.

So, how do you communicate to a gamer what genre your game is in? That's next...

Step 3: Use This One Magic Word To Get Instant Attention

So, what's this magic work?



Whenever you're describing your video game, the word "YOU" is the most important word to use. Talk about THEM and not about yourself.

It sounds simple, but it's very hard to pull off.

It's intuitive to talk about yourself and your needs. It's counter intuitive to talk about somebody else's needs.

It's intuitive talk about your game and it's features. It's counter intuitive to talk about what your gamer will GAIN from your features.

If you do this, you'll be doing exactly what Apple does when marketing their products.

Just look at the language they use...

iMac / iPod / iPad

Apple's products focus on customer and not about them. Apple talks about YOU and not about themselves.

Look how they marketed their iPod.

When Apple does marketing, they focus on the customer, not themselves
When Apple does marketing, they focus on the customer, and what the customer will get for using their product -- they don't put the spotlight on themselves

They had people dancing, using their product. They never talked about boring features. They made mp3's sexy. Their competitors talked about their features like how many gb and boring terms like mp3. But iPod never talked about themselves. They talked about the customer, and what they'll gain.

Apple knows that people want to express their personalities, so they showed people dancing using their product.

Apple knows people need to gain popularity, so they made sure their little white headphones were very distinct. It showed the world that the person wearing them is part of a popular group.

You see how Apple communicates "YOU"? They rarely ever talk about themselves. They are always putting the spotlight on their customer.


Talking about THEM is the best way to get a person to notice you, and notice what you're offering.

People are self interested. They are always looking for ways to fulfill their selfish needs. By talking about THEM, and how you can fulfill their needs, you're going to grab their attention.

How To Put The Spotlight On Your Gamer So They Discover Your Game and Buy Your Game: A Simple Exercise

You've learned a lot right now. And the best way for your brain to remember what you've learned is to put into action, and do something irl.

So, if you want your gamer to think to themselves...

"This is exactly the game I've been waiting to play... why hasn't anybody done this?"

And if you want to build a game that sells itself, then let's start with this simple exercise.

Open a word doc, or get a pen and paper. On the top, I want you to write this down...

What Result Is My Gamer Going To Get After Playing My Game?

The reason I want you to answer this is important. I want you to get out of your head, and start thinking like a gamer does.


Because most game dev's are shouting "look at me". And "look at me" marketing works when there's not a lot of competition. But when you have so many game devs making video games, then the best way to get a gamer's attention is to talk about THEM.

To help you, remember the 7 irrational reasons why gamers buy and play games. It's because games fulfill a selfish need. And here are 7 of them:

Now, use this knowledge to answer this question:

What Result Is My Gamer Going To Get After Playing My Game?

If you take the next 20 to 30 minutes to really answer this, I promise you'll discover a new insight about your game that you never thought of before. It will help you market your game so it sells itself. You'll be doing the type of marketing Apple does to get people's attention. And you'll be ahead of the game devs that focus on themselves.