Two Types of Games

Last year I watched a TED talk by Simon Sinek on Game Theory

The primary concept of the talk that really stuck with me is that there are 2 types of games and it is important to understand which kind of game you are in.

Finite Games

A Finite Game is one that has clearly defined rules so you can determine winners and losers. It also has clearly defined players. Once the game starts, you typically do not have any players joining. And at some point the game will end and based on the rules we can determine who a winner is.

Most games that we play are designed to be Finite Games. But most companies that design games want them to be playable for as long as possible.

Infinite Games

An Infinite Game does not have clearly defined rules. Players can leave and join at any time. The point of an Infinite Game is to keep playing it as long as you can. No one ever “wins” an Infinite Game because there is no end to it. As long as you can keep playing, you are doing well.

Business is an Infinite Game, new players can join and leave at any time. There is no winner in business. The point of a business is to stay in business and to keep generating enough resources to stay in business as long as possible.

Companies may design video games to be Finite inside of the primary game play loop, but I think most of them want the games to actually be Infinite Games from a larger perspective. They want people to keep playing them as long as possible. Something to think about when you are designing your games.

Make sure you know what kind of game your are in so you know how to play.

Keep getting wiser, stronger, and better.

I Want to Be a Better Developer