As usual, Deconstructor of Fun delivers a fine teardown of Candy Crush Saga, a game I'm currently playing a lot myself.
The breakdown of meaningful virality into "shareworthy" and "clickworthy" conditions is particularly interesting:
· Instrumental: The feed is a result of rewards, or, it is incentivized i.e. it signals a prospect of rewards in case another player responds – asking help for progress unlocks in CCS is a great example
· Hedonistic: The feed allows to show off personal achievements and/or creativity
· Socially obligating: The feed seeks others’ commitment via the promise of mutual benefits, or via a social gesture, e.g. a partnership or investment
· Altruistic: The feed provides an increased feeling of self- worth while giving something out for free or helping (‘Jack helped Timur to build in Millionaire City!’)
· Rewarding: Responding to the feed is incentivized; promises instant rewards or progression
· Provocative: The feed provokes to return back to the game through competition (‘Have revenge’), empathy (‘save the panda’), or curiosity (‘Jack just earned a million dollars’)
· Socially obligating: The feed is persuasive through a reciprocal gesture (e.g. gifting, cry for help), or a social tie/ gesture that it represents (‘Linda made an investment on You’; ‘Jim has new buildings in his/her city. Thanks to those who helped!’)
I try not to get too wrapped up in guidelines like the above on the creative side - a good game design comes from the heart first, and is then refined by principles like these. In fact, this is the dynamic that has emerged between game designers and product managers. Get that right, and you have a powerful team-up that can build a business on fun.
The full post is visible here: http://deconstructoroffun.blogspot.com/2013/05/beating-candy-crush-saga.html