BONUS: A (Non-) Scientific Experiment in Player Personalities
Do gamers' personalities affect their playstyles?
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You may or may not have noticed a line towards the end of Issue 3.9 about player personalities not affecting their choice of digital avatar, but possibly influencing their playstyle. The key word is “possibly,” because like so much video game psychology, we can’t say for sure because there’s still so much research to do. But researchers have discerned enough similarities in how gamers play to group them into different “player profiles.”
Now, we don’t know much about the nature of the dialogue between a player’s base personality and her player profile. But intuitively, it makes sense that there’d be some sort of causal relationship, right? So in order to test this, I will donate my psyche to science and conduct an anecdotal and decidedly unscientific study to see if my personality and player profile are in any way correlated.
You’re welcome, science.
To test my hypothesis, I will take four different assessments of my personality and compare them to Quantic Foundry’s famous Gamer Motivation Profile. I’ll be looking for all the different ways in which they jive.
The assessments I’ll be using are my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), my Enneagram personality type, and both my Western and Chinese Zodiac signs.
(Hey, I told you this was an unscientific study!)
I’ll note similarities and differences, then tally everything up in the end and present my armchair analysis to you afterward.
Ready? Let’s go!
Gamer Motivation Profile (GMP)
The Gamer Motivation Profile (GMP) is a psychological profile and motivation model created by Quantic Foundry, a market research company that specifically focuses on gamers. The GMP is an insanely valuable tool for understanding why people play certain games over others, and why they play those games the way they do.
The GMP groups players based on 12 different motivation factors, which are then grouped into six primary motivations (with two secondary motivation factors each). I’ve listed the motivations below and their definitions (“air quotes” denote verbatim definitions from Quantic Foundry):
Immersion: High Immersion players seek out games with fleshed-out stories and settings, whereas Low Immersion players care more about game mechanics and are indifferent to (or even annoyed by) a game’s narrative elements.
Fantasy: “The desire to become someone else, somewhere else.”
Story: “The importance of an elaborate storyline and interesting characters.”
Creativity: High Creativity players love to tinker with the game. This can take the form of customizing avatars/vehicles, building structures from scratch, trying out things like shooting fire arrows into a haystack just to see if it burns, and testing ways to “glitch out” the game. Low Creativity players generally prefer to just play the game at face value.
Design: “The appeal of expression and deep customization.”
Discovery: “The desire to explore, tinker, and experiment with the game world.”
Action: High Action players enjoy fast-paced and intense experiences like games in the FPS, bullet hell, rhythm, and racing genres. Low Action players, on the other hand, seek out slow-paced, calmer, and more “chill” games like graphic adventures, visual novels, or turn-based strategy/4X games.
Destruction: “The enjoyment of chaos, mayhem, guns, and explosives.”
Excitement: “The enjoyment of games that are fast-paced, intense, and provide an adrenaline rush.”
Social: Somewhat self-explanatory. High Social players enjoy multiplayer games, regardless of whether they’re competitive or cooperative (co-op) experiences. Low Social players prefer single-player experiences (freedom/agency is often an operative desire in these players).
Competition: “The enjoyment of competition with other players (duels or matches).”
Community: “The enjoyment of interacting and collaborating with other players.”
Mastery: High Mastery players greatly enjoy the satisfaction of completing highly challenging experiences, and/or the mental exercise of playing deeply strategic games. Low Mastery players prefer games with more forgiving difficulty levels.
Challenge: “The preference for games of skill and enjoyment of overcoming difficult challenges.”
Strategy: “The enjoyment of games that require careful decision-making and strategic thinking.”
Achievement: High Achievement players seek to gain all the best loot, complete all the rarest achievements, and earn all the highest scores in the games they play. Loot hoarders, completionists, and trophy hunters are all recognizable archetypes of High Achievement players. Low Achievement players, by contrast, don’t pay much attention to scores or progression—they’re completely fine with not completing 100% of a game.
Completion: “The desire to complete every mission, get every collectible, and discover hidden things.”
Power: “The importance of becoming powerful within the context of the game world.”
Got all that? Ok, good. This means I can finally show you my full GMP: