Master's Thesis

Reward System Design of Multiplayer Games in View of Social Phenomena


Julia Winkler

Processing Period:

18.12.2015 - 18.06.2016



Bad designed reward systems may negatively influence the experience in collaborative multiplayer games, if they allow that some players choose to put much effort into achieving the games' goal, while others do the smallest amount of work and still maintain to get the same reward or at least parts of it. This might lead to the phenomenon of social loafing.
This thesis will evaluate how reward systems in collaborative multiplayer games affect social loafing as well as the player experience.
Additionally, how does loafing affect designing possibly new reward systems and does the player-type may have an influence?
An explorative study on this will be done with groups of four persons each, who will play a newly designed game in a 4-player-coop as well as in teams of 2 versus 2. The players will be asked about their own experience ingame as well as evaluating the performance of their teammates in addition to the question of how balanced they think the game and rewards are.
A more complex and possibly fair reward system will be implemented and tested in a second playthrough, evaluating the new system and occurrence of social loafing.