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You Are What You Game: Personality Motivates Game Choices

You Are What You Game: Personality Motivates Game Choices

I play video games because I love to take on the mantle of Batman and beat the hell out of bad guys. But while my husband also likes to be the Caped Crusader (because I wouldn’t have married a man who didn’t want to be Batman) he prefers to explore the quiet of deep space in an exploration game or ship sim. My husband and I game for different reasons. And so do you.

According to a study by Quantic Foundry (QF), headed by researcher Nick Yee, your motivations for playing video games are based on your personality.

QF wrote, “[G]amers select the games that reinforce their identities… The games we play are a reflection, not an escape, from our own identities. In this sense, people play games not to pretend to be someone they’re not, but to become more of who they really are.” Yee’s results debunk the theory that “the internet and virtual worlds… allow people to be who they are not.” As he said on a Reddit AMA, he finds it unlikely that “introverts become extraverted online, that virtual worlds allow people to reinvent themselves…” Importantly, this study may disprove “the trope that violent games turn otherwise normal people into violent shooters.”

In this study, QF surveyed a whopping 140,000 gamers and found that three of the “big five” personality traits (Extroversion, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience) align with gaming motivations.

For example, Extroverts, QF wrote, not only enjoy social interaction, but also they “crave excitement and sensory stimuli, are energetic, tend to be cheerful, and often assertive (or even domineering) with others.” As it happens, extroverts prefer games that involve a degree of competition and community.

Likewise, people who are Conscientious, that is, those come up with plans and execute them, like to play games that have aspects of achievement and power. And gamers who exhibit Openness enjoy creative, immersive gameplay. The other two personality traits–Neuroticism and Agreeableness–did not appear to map toward gaming preferences. Yee suggests one reason may be because these traits don’t correspond to gaming mechanics. These gaming motivations could very well be untapped resources.

It’s a remarkable study, one you can still participate in, here. You should take it. For science.

So what do you think of QF’s theory? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image via Pixabay

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