In a lot of games or gamification mechanics the point given to user are in multiples of 5, 10 or 100 and your score is always divisible by this number. Why?

  • It's just more fun that way :) – Jonny Sep 18 '16 at 10:18
  • 1
    As to the reason it's 5 or 10 and not some other multiple, I'd say it's probably because we have 5 fingers per hand and so those numbers are pleasing to us. – sethmlarson Sep 18 '16 at 16:19
  • There are actually two questions here: 1 - Why use decimal ? 2 - Why use bigger numbers rather than smaller numbers ? – PhillipW Sep 18 '16 at 18:51
  • I used to love playing pinball where the scores went up in thousands and tens of thousands. The resulting scores (in the millions) were meant to make you feel like you'd achieved something fantastic - Although I'm not sure how true that was. – Andrew Martin Sep 23 '16 at 7:55

Having worked on this kind of thing before, I can say that I chose multiples of 5 because it's super easy for people to get a gist of how the value of one achievement (for example) compares to another. If I'm looking at a list of achievements and I see:

  • Achievement A - 10 points
  • Achievement B - 20 points
  • Achievement C - 5 points
  • Achievement D - 100 points

It requires almost no thought to see that A is worth half as much as B and D is worth 10 times as much as A. If I'm looking at:

  • Achievement A - 2 points
  • Achievement B - 4 points
  • Achievement C - 1 point
  • Achievement D - 20 points

It's not so obvious. The reason this matters is because people tend to use these scores as an informal guide to how difficult the achievement is going to be. They can assume that an achievement that offers twice as many points as another will be roughly twice as hard.

  • 1
    Could you elaborate on this a bit? Why do you think it requires less effort to determine that 20 is two times 10 than to determine 4 is two times 2? Comparing A to D involves a change of order in magnitude in both cases. Why should the first set of achievement values be easier than the second, then? – Schmuddi Sep 19 '16 at 10:24
  • 1
    Because one is a change in order of magnitude by the power of 10, the other is a change in order of magnitude by the power of 2. Since the decimal numbering system is base 10, we're very accustomed to calculating in powers of 10, not so much powers of 2. Contrast this to a programmer who may very well have no problem calculating in powers of 2. For example, how quickly could you work out that 128 is a base 2 order higher than 64, versus working out that 1000 is a base 10 order higher than 100? – Nick Coad Sep 20 '16 at 6:30
  • I should also mention that the four examples I gave were just that: examples. My point was that a fine grained points system ends up with a lot more complicated comparisons than a "multiple of 5" points system. – Nick Coad Sep 20 '16 at 6:32

My initial thoughts are that larger multiples give a greater sense of progression and success (would you rather have 100 points or 10?), while I imagine it's easier to count in fives and tens than it is in sevens or nineteens (therefore easier for adults who want to relax, and children).

I can't speak to the actual reasons used in the design of all games of course.

  • 2
    To expand on your easier to count comment; our numbering system is base ten, thus we think in tens. Reducing mental calculation, especially in games, is a plus, so when representing scores it's easier to use ten and an easier fraction of that number, five. I think why you see fives and tens and not ones is because of exactly what you wrote in your answer; a greater sense of progression. – Tory Sep 19 '16 at 14:38

We've been using decimal system(base 10) for quite a while now. Everything from currency to measurementa is in decimal system. Remember Roman numeral systems?

Also evolutionarily, decimal system is easy because we have 10 fingers. Easy to count. And hence gone with easy


I think you'll find that games where such steps are used are pretty much oriented to demographic groups (e.g. teenagers) where really big numbers are more satisfying than small numbers, even though they represent the same continuum.


I saw this habit mostly in kids game, because kids can be attracted to bigger earned values in comparison to lower values. also i saw that kids compares the earned points in a game with other played game! for example he earned 20 points in a game with 5minutes playing and earned 2points after 15minutes playing other game.so i think kid will be attracted to first game

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.