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Marginal Utility

In economics, marginal utility is the quantitative benefit of using/consuming/doing something once more, such as levelling up your Strength level once. Marginal utility is relevant for understanding player decision-making, because the benefit of an action can change each time it is repeated.

Utility and Marginal Utility

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In game design, "marginal utility" refers to the additional satisfaction or enjoyment a player gains from acquiring or experiencing incremental units of a game element, such as points, resources, or upgrades. It's a concept borrowed from economics, where it describes the additional benefit derived from consuming an additional unit of a good or service.

Game designers leverage marginal utility to optimize player engagement by ensuring that each successive action or achievement contributes meaningfully to the player's experience. By carefully calibrating the value of in-game rewards or advancements, designers can maintain a balance that keeps players motivated and invested in the gaming experience.

To maintain a sense of progression and keep players motivated, game designers must consider the marginal utility of rewards. Introducing varied and increasingly valuable rewards at strategic points ensures that players consistently experience a sense of accomplishment, preventing stagnation in their engagement. This concept is integral to the design of game economies, progression systems, and reward structures, where understanding and optimizing marginal utility contribute to a more compelling and rewarding player experience.

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