How do you feel about your phone? 


How do you feel about your phone?

I love some things in my phone, and I feel stressed and manipulated by other things in my phone. I find some screen time heartening, and some screen time anxiety-inducing, depending on what I’m doing.

As a former game designer, I think mobile games can tell us something about our relationships with our phones. There are 5bn mobile users, but only 2.2bn mobile gamers. Many people, including me, find mobile games uninspiring or even stressful.

Gamification is based on an adrenaline/dopamine response to stress. Game designers aim to stress the player, and then give the player opportunities to win a challenge. 

New research identifies a second, very prevalent human stress response: oxytocin. People with this response don't want to fight. We instinctively seek to take care and connect. This provides a physiological explanation for why gamified apps feel boring or stressful for many people.

The oxytocin response implies a paradigm shift for interaction design. Instead of seeing our phones as either tools to be commanded, or bossy devices to track us and notify us, what if we could feel a sense of mutual care and connection with our devices?

Companions are a new form: not personal assistants, not games. At TRU LUV, we’re combining psychological frameworks with game AI to create experiences inspired by oxytocin, not adrenaline.

In this framework, I don’t tell my phone what I need, and my phone doesn’t tell me what I need. Instead, we work together towards shared goals.  

Now, when I feel a spike of anxiety and unconsciously reach for my phone, if I end up in #SelfCare instead of a game, I calm myself, and put down the phone a moment later feeling better instead of worse. When we can achieve this for you also, we’ve succeeded. <3

Let us know how you want to feel about your phone.


With love, 
Brie Code
CEO, Creative Director

TRU LUV : Companions made with luv.

TRU LUV: Companions made with luv.