I was reading the Atlantic's Derek Thompson's book Hitmakers this week. Thompson explores a lot when it comes to marketing, business and human psychology and I found it kind of interesting.
One section of the book is devoted to why some games catch on and some don't, where he introduced a concept called "MAYA".
To illustrate his point, he talked about Tetris, the best selling video game of all time, created in the 1980's by a Russian programmer, and Minecraft, the second biggest seller ever. Both games, the author contends, are pure puzzles not unlike lego or other childhood games and they have a few common themes.
"The level of play must be simple enough to execute, and the point of these games is neither to make players tear out their hair nor give away the secret too easily," he writes. "... these [most successful] games are designed with what neurologist Judy Willis called an achievable challenge. People will take up a challenge if they think they can solve it - Most Advanced Yet Achievable : MAYA."
In terms of gambling games, this is pretty obvious isn't it?
Poker is a tough game to learn, but it's not overly daunting. And, with low juice you have a chance to win - MAYA.
Black Jack rose to prominence in the 1960's with the classic book, Beat the Dealer. You can beat blackjack, if you try, and someone is showing you how - MAYA.
Sports Betting has been around forever at about 5% juice. It's a tough game to beat, but it feels achievable to millions of people because the house edge is not usurious. MAYA.
When the misanthropes on twitter talk about grinding out in horse racing, jackpot bets kill the game, there are no low takeout bets to allow people to churn, and all the rest of those mean, nasty things, they aren't being misanthropic. They're just telling you that betting horse racing is not MAYA; succeeding at it is not achievable to the masses like those other games. And if the business would do more to make solving the puzzles (at potential profit) more achievable, the sport would be better off.
Have a great long weekend folks. And best wishes for a safe weekend to our friends in Florida and area.
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