Optimism and Frequency Biases

Overestimating the frequency of something because we’ve seen it recently or memorably.

Humans have a number of cognitive biases that can lead us to distort reality and make bad decisions. One of these is called the Optimism Bias. It is the mistaken belief that we are less likely to experience a negative event than someone else. Games can emphasize this bias by overegagerating other people's loses. Because we see other people losing when we aren't, we may get the mistaken impression that we are more skilled or lucky than other people. If we feel like we are exceptionally skilled at a game, we will keep playing.

Another cognitive bias is towards more recent or memorable information. This is the mistaken belief that events that happened in your recent memory are more likely to occur again in the near future. We overestimate the frequency of something happening because it is memorable to us. When a game shows that other players just got a rare item, it gives us the impression that this could happen to us soon, even though the odds haven't changed.

The Clustering Illusion is another tendency for people to erroneously overestimate the significance of short winning streaks and see phantom patterns in random data where there aren't any. A game that proclaims to give random rewards could in fact secretly have a tendency to give rewards in streaks to emphasize this cognitive bias.


Examples

Princess Connect! Re: Dive Princess Connect! Re: Dive
"Girls are disappointed if you lose a level."

Honkai Impact 3rd Honkai Impact 3rd
"There is a frequent message in the chatroom that shows when any player has obtained a rare battlesuit, ELF, or weapon from the "Supply" (gacha)."

Infinite Lagrange Infinite Lagrange
"Every time a union takes an objective, everyone in the game sees an announcement"

Pokémon GO Pokémon GO
"Great battle League, Egg rate, all pokemon CATCH RATES"

Magic: The Gathering Arena Magic: The Gathering Arena
"The progression system rewards wins more than it punishes losses."

Dungeon Crusher: Soul Hunters Dungeon Crusher: Soul Hunters
"Shows number of Arena wins but not losses. Broadcasts certain clan member achievements in chat."

Cookie Run: OvenBreak Cookie Run: OvenBreak
"Most of the game is competing for a high score, and you can "lose" against other players in PvP modes."

Dead by Daylight Mobile Dead by Daylight Mobile
"the end screen shows if you die or not and who survivors and who does not."

Legend of the phoenix Legend of the phoenix
"Rankings below top 100 aren't even shown."

Plants vs. Zombies™ Plants vs. Zombies™
"There is a screen if you lose a level."