Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Game Flow Concept Applicable to Fantasy Sports Contests?

Jeff Jordan in a May 2011 article in Casino Enterprise Management discussed a concept he called "game flow" to highlight a new way of evaluating slot machine performance. In a nutshell, game flow is a zone of optimal balance between challenge and skill. Now skill in a slot machine context is more akin to figuring out all the bells, whistles, spinny things, bonus games and payouts as opposed to really figuring out how to improve your performance playing a game. Slot machines by their nature really don't have a link that correlates to a player's skill, unless you think putting a $20 bill in a money acceptor is a skill.

What is a good zone or flow for one person will deviate between people. Jordan states, "Flow is designed for purposes of this framework as the mental state in which a player is absorbed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and sensation in the play characteristics of the game." [1] So it is a bit like Goldilocks - it's just right. But each person has their own Goldilocks standard.

Taking Jordan's flow concept, can it apply to fantasy sports contests? To an extent. Typically fantasy sports contests take much longer than a particular pull of a slot machine handle (nowadays a press of a button), or even a slot machine gaming session. But the breakdown of the consumer's behavior is applicable. Jordan teaches four basic elements:
  1. Game appeal
  2. Trial wagers
  3. Game flow
  4. Game loyalty
These elements can be mapped into a fantasy sports skill game context. Game appeal could be the published rules, entry fee and prize schedule. Trial wagers of course would be the entry fee (or lack thereof). Game flow would be the management of the player's fantasy team during the tenure of the contest. Finally, game loyalty would be the player's post contest assessment of his/her experience and desire to play the same contest next time.

As fantasy sports games branch out into more frequent games, even daily in some cases, the concept of game flow will become more important to consider.

The online version of Jeff Jordan's article can be found here.


[1] Jordan, J. (2011, May), Leveraging a Game Flow Framework to Evaluate Game Performance, Part 1, Casino Enterprise Management, 61.


Jordan, J. (2011, May), Leveraging a Game Flow Framework to Evaluate Game Performance, Part 1, Casino Enterprise Management, 60-61.

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