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Player Characteristics and Video Game Preferences

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The Games User Research literature has advanced considerably on understanding why people play games and what different types of games or mechanics they prefer. However, what has been less studied is how models of player preferences explain their game choices. In this study, we address this question by analyzing data about the games that participants enjoy, their player trait scores, and their preferred game elements and playing styles. The results provide evidence that these scores can significantly explain participants’ preferences for different games. Additionally, we provide information about the characteristics of players who enjoy each game. This work was presented at CHI PLAY 2019.

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Player Characteristics and Video Game Preferences

  1. 1. Player Characteristics and Video Game Preferences Gustavo F. Tondello Lennart E. Nacke CHI PLAY 2019, 24 October 2019
  2. 2. Bartle’s Player Types (1996) 2Bartle, R.: Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who suit MUDs. Journal of MUD Research 1(1) (1996) Image source: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/bartle-s-player-types-for-gamification
  3. 3. Seeker Survivor Socialiser Daredevil Conqueror Mastermind Achiever BrainHex (2014) 3Nacke, L.E., Bateman, C., Mandryk, R.L.: BrainHex: A Neurobiological Gamer Typology Survey. Entertainment Computing 5(1) (2014) Image source: https://blog.brainhex.com/
  4. 4. Issues with Player Types Players do not enjoy only one type of experience Lack of validated scale or unreliable scale Solution Player Traits recognize that people's preferences are composed of a sum of different characteristics 4
  5. 5. Player Traits Model 5Image source: http://hcigames.com/player-traits/ Copyright 2019 by the HCI Games Group (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) using icons from game-icons.net (CC BY 3.0). “I don’t fit into a single type”: A Trait Model and Scale of Game Playing Preferences Gustavo F. Tondello, Karina Arrambide, Giovanni Ribeiro, Andrew Cen, Lennart E. Nacke. Prooceedings of INTERACT 2019. • Validated 25-item measurement scale • Correlations of the player traits with personality traits • Presented correlations of the player traits with game elements
  6. 6. Social Orientation Players who score high prefer to play together with others, enjoy multiplayer games and competitive gaming communities Players who score low prefer to play alone 6
  7. 7. Social Orientation 7All game logos are property of their respective owners and used for illustration only.
  8. 8. Aesthetic Orientation Players who score high enjoy aesthetic experiences in games: exploring the world, enjoying the scenery, appreciating the graphics, sound, and art style, etc. Players who score low focus more on gameplay than the aesthetics of the game 8
  9. 9. Aesthetic Orientation 9All game logos are property of their respective owners and used for illustration only.
  10. 10. Narrative Orientation Players who score high enjoy complex narratives and stories within games Players who score low prefer games with less story and might skip the story or cutscenes when those get in the way of gameplay 10
  11. 11. Narrative Orientation 11All game logos are property of their respective owners and used for illustration only.
  12. 12. Challenge Orientation Players who score high prefer difficult games and hard challenges Players who score low prefer easier or casual games 12
  13. 13. Challenge Orientation 13All game logos are property of their respective owners and used for illustration only.
  14. 14. Goal Orientation Players who score high enjoy completing game goals and like to complete games 100%, explore all the options, and complete all the collections Players who score low might leave optional quests or achievements unfinished 14
  15. 15. Goal Orientation 15All game logos are property of their respective owners and used for illustration only.
  16. 16. Age 16All game logos are property of their respective owners and used for illustration only.
  17. 17. Gender 17 WOMEN MEN All game logos are property of their respective owners and used for illustration only.
  18. 18. Takeaways We introduced a new player traits model, with a 25-item measurement scale, which solves the issues identified in previous work We showed that player traits and game element preferences are related to game preferences We showed that gender and age are related to game preferences We mapped the characteristics of players who enjoy each game in the study 18
  19. 19. Applications To select participants for game tests To better understand game tests according to participant’s gaming preferences To give designers and game studios more accurate insights about their audience To target market campaigns to the right audience 19
  20. 20. Future Work Continue validating the scale with larger samples Continue studying correlations with other models Compare participants’ self- reported preferences with their actual behaviour in games 20
  21. 21. Thank you! Player Characteristics and Video Game Preferences http://hcigames.com/player-traits CONTACT Gustavo F. Tondello gustavo@tondello.com @GustavoTondello Acknowledgments: This work was supported by the CNPq Brazil, SSHRC (IMMERSe), NSERC Discovery, NSERC CREATE SWaGUR, and CFI, and presented at CHI PLAY 2019. 21 Take the test!

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