Game Design Master of Science Course Director Robert Kennedy recently attended the 2012 Game Developers Conference, held in March in San Francisco. One of the presentations he attended was led by Jason VandenBerghe of Ubisoft (the game company behind Assasin’s Creed and Just Dance), and it was about Jason’s theory that the personality dimensions of humans can directly determine what types of video games they prefer to play.
Here’s an excerpt from Robert’s recent post on the Game Design Master of Science Faculty blog about the presentation:
VandenBerghe’s approach begins with a discussion of a well-studied personality theory called the Big 5 or OCEAN, which has its origin in research done in part by Costa and McCrae (1992), suggesting that personality varies across five dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. All people have levels of each of these dimensions, but there is a questionnaire that has been used at great length in research in order to validate these dimensions. VandenBerghe developed a model that suggests these dimensions can explain gamer preferences based on their real-life personality preferences.
He suggests that there are five domains of play that coincide with the five dimensions of personality. Novelty relates to the openness of a player, Challenge relates to the conscientiousness of the player, Stimulation relates to the extraversion of the player, Harmony relates to the agreeableness of the player, and Threat relates to the Neuroticism of the player. By realizing these connections, a decision-making process can be developed for game design. Gamer preferences can be better understood in that an explanation can be developed for what types of things interest and satisfy the players.
So basically, the type of personality you have may determine the types of video games you enjoy playing, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, as a game developer, you can use this information to better make decisions when developing preferences and features for your game.
Robert advises that the validity of a self-taken test may not be 100 percent accurate, but if you’re curious to see what type of personality and “gamer” category you fall into, take the questionnaire at test.personality-project.org. Do your results match your gaming style? Let us know in the comments below.