Targeting personalities for games - The psychology of gaming

As I sit here today enjoying my muffin and coffee, I drifted into a set of ponderings as I often do (I mean come on…my blog is named work avoidance strategies). Some relevant, some not. As I sat there and random ideas, questions, and general day-dreams went through my head, I started wondering…is gaming to the point of BIG BUSINESS. I don’t mean to compare it to say Big Oil or anything of that matter, but has gaming got to the point where they use the psychological traits of person to MAKE them want to play?

I guess my line of thinking was this. Coca Cola, Mc Donalds, Car Manufacturers and other such companies have, for years, used things in their commercials and in their marketing to “suck in” people with certain personality traits. They use psychology to pre-determine the type of person most likely to make that “impulse buy” or go for that one extra. My question is “Are gaming companies doing something similar.” Especially in the MMO genre, you hear again and again of “getting hooked” or comparing gaming to addiction. People give the games nicknames of “World of Warcrack” and “Evercrack”; comparing the game to an addictive drug. You hear of marriages being broken up and friendships being lost over a game. There is the whole other line of discussion concerning self-control but lets pass over that for now and touch on it later. The root of my discussion here is “are these companies using psychological and personality traits to get people ‘hooked’?”

I go back to several articles I have read (I will link them shortly if I can find them again) of game companies using psychologists to best determine what will hook that “hardcore” player. What will keep bringing the back again and again? Whether it is MMO’s, console games, or even hand-held games, there will always be the person who goes overboard; the person who takes it to extremes, but are these companies intentionally targeting these type of people? Are they purposely bringing them to get hooked and keep coming back for more?

What do you think?



Dav said... May 31, 2007 at 5:11 AM  

Yeah I agree with you on that one, I'll give an example, my paladin mount, took me ages to get hold of, but personality-wise, I hate leaving a task uncompleted, and so my personality wouldn't let me be until that particular task (namely getting the epic pala mount) was done. It took an age to get hold of, with the quests being very dragged out and all over the map, yet I wouldnt leave it be because it would mean leaving a task unfinished, and so I played for ages until it was completed, then the next task came along, and so forth...

So from that, yeah, I do agree with you on that one, I think that the mmo industry structures their games to play on the personality traits of their players to keep them playing just that *little bit* longer...

Interesting post though, well done!


Abel said... May 31, 2007 at 5:30 PM  

I think with TBC we are learning a whole new lesson about psychology of game design. In the past it was about hooking a small fraction of the 8.5 million that made WoW peak subscriptions.

The philosophy that brought people back to obsess over Diablo II or Warcraft III for years seems very different to this. There indeed you'd try to hook a core base. But really, how many of the 8.5 million fit that personality profile and why should we expect to be retainable by a model that was never fitted for them?

Sean said... June 3, 2007 at 4:47 PM  

I agree that every major company in the world with hopes of making it big and having faithful and returning customers do hire expensive psychologists to help market their products. I mean it only makes sense to me. If I were a CEO of a billion-dollar company and thousands of employees relied upon decisions I made I would try my hardest to use every known resource I could to push my product out there onto the masses via commercials or whatever. Games are no different, just another form of media, which by the looks of it have become the focus of major attention by "Big Business". The youth today spend their parents money on what they like, and what they like are things are fun to find out what is fun, then you got the golden key...just my opinion of course...take it for what it's worth.

John said... January 18, 2009 at 4:49 AM  

I think what leads players to addiction to MMOs are general issues with their outside life. Much like fast food or alcohol, the addiction is just a symptom and a mask of another issue. I personally can't stand playing MMOs but I get a weird kick botting them.

Fast food companies definitely go into psychology when doing their marketing and designing their food. I doubt MMO companies go that far. They don't need to, other than providing never ending content.

Anonymous said... March 20, 2009 at 2:03 AM  

hi,guy this site it is about online game's web,we offer the news and important cheats,The main we sell lotro gold,if u want to buy lotro gold,u need lotro gold from this site,it is cheapest,right,u want buy lord of the rings online gold,cheap lotro gold,plz click here:lotro gold,it is cool,isn't it?everyone who play lotro and want buy lord of the rings online gold can get some help from our.we We have mass available stock of lord of the rings online gold on most of the servers,so that we can do a really instant cheap lotro gold delivery.We know what our buyers need so we offer an instant way of cheap cheap lotro gold, the cheapest wow gold…

Anonymous said... March 29, 2009 at 9:12 AM  

Hey guys,it is From

we are selling multiple cd keys and time cards.
Prices are as follows

New wow CD key - 2000-3000 G
BC CD key - 2000-3000 G
60 day Gamecard - 3500-4500 G
WLK CDKEY - 5000-6000 G

we also bought wow gold by real money.
5-8$/K On US And 4-7$/K On Eu

AIM: gold2us2009


yahoo ID:

ICQ: 478066993

Verified Paypal 4000+ Reputation and 10K $ On Paypal Waiting For U is an exchange site designed specifically for game virtual currencies and items trading.if you want to Sell WoW Gold, Sell World Of Warcraft Gold, Sell FFxi Gil, you can choose us. We will give you a suitable price. We buy the gold both on us and eu server. u can also Sell WoW Gold US,Sell WoW Gold EU to us

Anonymous said... December 22, 2009 at 6:18 AM  

Today,we are proud to announce the launch of the new wedding support service sell ffxi gil,packed with features sure to sell ffxi gils delight adventurers across Vana'diel looking to exchange eternal vows with their beloved!Responding to player demands for greater customization,the new service will grant brides and grooms freedom in choosing location,timing,dialogue,and sell Final Fantasy XI Gil more for their ceremony,allowing them to create a truly memorable event all their own.Information on all the features,including in-game sell ffxi gil item vendors and wedding certificates,can be found on the new wedding support site,so head on over sell ffxi gils and get started planning the wedding of your dreams sell Final Fantasy XIGil!

Anonymous said... February 8, 2010 at 3:20 AM  

My friend and I were recently talking about technology, and how integrated it has become to our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as memory becomes less expensive, the possibility of transferring our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could see in my lifetime.

(Posted by R4Submit for R4i Nintendo DS.)

贝贝 said... November 18, 2010 at 12:46 AM  

The Tax Return Crack-Up<3>
Granted, there are usuallyMicrosoft Office 2010write-ups when presidential contenders make their tax returns available, but the coverage falls far short of the Office 2010
full court press (pardon the pun) that the Clintons have received. What's Microsoft Office 2007different now?Office 2007One possibility is that most upper middle class Democrats, and therefore most Microsoft OfficeOffice 2007 keyeditors and reporters of our nation's big papers as well as Office 2007 downloadtelevision producers, are Obama supporters who think that Hillary should hurry up Office 2007 Professionaland drop out of the race already.Microsoft outlook
Microsoft outlook 2010Whom elite liberals are pulling for really does shape political coverage in ways

Post a Comment