Invested / Endowed Value

Having already spent time and money to improve your status in the game, it's difficult to throw it away.

Game developers like to make you feel that the more you play, the more valuable your copy of the game becomes. If deleting the game and starting over from scratch sounds like a horrible idea and a waste of your investment, then the game has Endowed Value for you. The more time and money that you invest in the game, the more value it has over a fresh copy of the game.

Game developers usually accomplish this with a leveling system where you or your character get more powerful as you play. You may collect rare and valuable items or spend significant time collecting or building something that you don't want to throw away. You may have also earned or purchased cosmetic items that don't affect the gameplay, but make the game more personal to you. By customizing the game to be more personal, it feels more valuable.

Additionally, for games that require skill, the more time you play the more skilled you will become. This sense of acquired skill is important to people. It makes players feel good that they have increased their skill and it's difficult to stop an activity in which you are skilled.

The reason this works to the game developer's advantage is the "Sunk Cost Fallacy". This is often described as throwing good money after bad. The idea is that any time and money already spent on the game is attributed to the value of that game. If you spend $10 on a game, you may feel like the game is still worth $10 and it would be unwise to throw away something worth $10. And if you've already spent $10, what's another $2?

Likewise, if you invest 20 hours building a character inside a game, that 20 hours may have some value to you. You wouldn't spend 20 hours writing a book just to burn it, so why invest 20 hours into a game and then stop playing.

People have a strong aversion to loss. Most people would rather not lose $5 than to earn $5. When players feel like a game has some endowed value, it is difficult to stop playing and throw that away. It's this type of logic that keeps people playing the game even when it is no longer enjoyable.


Pikmin Bloom Pikmin Bloom
"since i have been playing since the first month the game dropped, i have several badges from specific events and many limited time pikmin that aren't available anymore"

Pokémon Café Mix Pokémon Café Mix
"Higher level pokémon mean you have an easier time with puzzles, not to mention some pokémon are limited time pokémon you can only get from events."

Shadow Fight 3 Shadow Fight 3
"progress is better then no progress"

SimCity BuildIt SimCity BuildIt
"I have a city with almost 100,000 people. Deleting world is irrevocable, so glad I’m done with this game."

RuneScape Mobile RuneScape Mobile
"Yyyyyyep. Leveling up your adventurer!"

I Love Hue Too I Love Hue Too
"Having completed a certain amount of levels, I would hate to start back at level one."

Cats&Soup Cats&Soup
"Players feel attached to their cats and their progress."

SongPop 2 - Guess The Song SongPop 2 - Guess The Song
"Badges and playlist mastery."

Kuma Sushi Bar Kuma Sushi Bar
"By nature of being a "tycoon" game where the goal is to expand."

Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game