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.


The Walking Dead: Survivors The Walking Dead: Survivors
"Winners get great rewards, need to be powerful to win, need to spend money to be powerful"

Last Fortress Last Fortress
"There are patterns that the “random” rewards aren’t so random. A lucky purchase with a % chance to get a reward. Some days all the same. Some days better. It does not seem random"

Slay the Spire Slay the Spire
"total losses are hidden - total wins are shown"

Dice Dreams - Roll the Dice, Become the Dice King Dice Dreams - Roll the Dice, Become the Dice King
"The dice roll again faster when you win nothing on a roll. When you win, the game often uses a fountain of coins animation. The animated characters celebrate 'pvp' wins."

War and Order War and Order
"Battle and troops wins and losses are tied to accounts"

Love Live!School idol festival Love Live!School idol festival
"There is a friend activity log that shows new UR (ultra rare) cards your friends got, and full combos achieved on songs. There's also a friend leaderboard for events."

Mighty DOOM Mighty DOOM
"You don't have any stats screen, so you can't see numbers of wins/losses."

Coin Dozer Coin Dozer
"An "aw" sound plays if a prize goes off the side of the board."

Hero Wars - Men’s Choice Epic Fantasy RPG Hero Wars - Men’s Choice Epic Fantasy RPG
"jackpot loot boxes are shared via ingame chat"

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
"Their newly added "together" event was failed by the players, which was never mentioned and just hidden away."