Motivation Loops in Mobile Games

Game designers talk about core loops, compulsion loops, session loops, dual loops. I’m trying to sort out what that all means. I think nobody has really worked out the theory in clear terms yet.

Here’s one kind of loop. A “motivation loop” has the form:

I want A so that I can get B; I want B so that I can get A.

In Clash of Clans:

I want gold so that I can battle.

I want to battle so that I can get gold.

It’s imperative that designers think in terms of motivation loops (rather that motivation strings (or some other non-looping thing) because you never want to leave your user without “pull” to the next thing in your app. If that happens, you’ve probably lost him.

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