This area is largely inspired by How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind — from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist and we strongly recommend reading that whole article because it really helps become aware of some of the tricks modern technology providers use to "hijack your mind". Also, check out the Center for Humane Technology and become part of the movement! At narayana games, what we care most about is players becoming more aware. But we of course also need to keep our business alive; we are a for-profit company. In this section we outline the rationale behind some of the decisions we have made. If there is anything you feel is missing here, something you disagree with, or something you'd like to support - feel free to join our Official Beat the Rhythm Discord Server.
Let's get the elephant out of the room first: We feel fairly strongly about competition being a pretty severe problem in our current modern society. In fact, we find competition in games even worse than violence in games because while almost everyone easily understands that real violence which causes harm to real beings is not okay, competition is actually considered virtuous by a lot of people. And, quite a few definitions of "game" even include competition as core element of what makes a game a game.
There is one really interesting study that tried to find out more
The Effect of Video Game Competition and Violence on Aggressive Behavior: Which Characteristic Has the Greatest Influence?
This arrives at the conclusion that
It appears that competition, not violence, may be the video game characteristic that has the greatest influence on aggressive behavior.
So, when we want to encourage cooperation and collaboration and not competition, why do we even have leaderboards and competitive multiplayer features?
Because we have realized at some point that competition, if approached consciously and carefully, can actually give us benefits (moar fun) without the negative side-effects: Instead of trying to be "better" than your "competition", you can simply frame someone having a higher score in the leaderboards as an inspiration. Someone having a score above yours means it's possible to achieve that score. And that is actually quite encouraging.
Obviously, this whole concept breaks down when cheaters create scores that are not humanly possible to achieve on a specific map. So we strive to prevent cheating and have a few mechanisms in place that should make it very hard to cheat. If you still believe a specific score can't be - make sure to reach out on Discord, or via email (the domain is narayana-games.net, and the best person to talk to is jashan on that domain ;-) ).
First of all, we'll never have paid DLC that you need to play the game, or that you need to win - we consider DLC as something you can optionally add to have more content to play with. Furthermore, we have a strong focus on providing tools to collaboratively create content for the game, and everyone can use those for free. So even without buying additional content via DLC, you should always be able to get plenty of additional content for free.
Our paid DLC packages are a way for artists and producers to use our platform to participate in the creation and distribution of high quality content for our players - and hopefully profit from it. We use a 50/50 share so when you buy any of our DLC packages where third parties are involved (artists, producers, or labels), they get half of what we get after the store cut (usually 30%). For our players, this is the best way to support the artists so they can keep producing music and help us stay afloat and keep making games, and keep that possibility alive for artists, producers and labels.
Obviously, we want you to play our games, create content for our games and generally spend time with our creations. This first of all should benefit you by having a fun time. This is entertainment, after all. For some it's also a tool for fitness. But of course, if also benefits us in many ways.
The most obvious way to keep you engaged, of course, is building the best possible product. If there is anything you are having trouble with, or that you think could be improved, please let us know on Discord.
We also encourage you to keep playing or creating by always offering "something to do", showing you popular songs, unmapped songs, things like that. Obviously, the leaderboards we already talked about should be a strong motivation to keep playing, and we also have achievements. We believe these are legitimate ways that increase the fun you have playing the game.
What we carefully avoid to create are slot machines. Those are techniques usually used in gambling but also in a lot of modern free-to-play games and we believe game developers have a duty of care to avoid mechanics that encourage game addiction. If you find anything in our games or platform that you believe doesn't pass the "not a slot machine test", please let us know!