Quantic Foundry researcher and long-time MMO academic Nick Yee has an intriguing blog post out this week titled Dispelling Myths about Female Gamers in which he purports to do just that. Yee has been shuffling the data from over 300,000 submissions to the Gamer Motivation Model project to see what they reveal about female gamers. “Over and over again, we have noticed that cursory examinations of the data often support a gender-normative narrative,” he writes, “but diving deeper into the data reveals far more surprising (and interesting) relationships between gender and gameplay.”
For example, consider the lazy stereotype that women are innately averse to violence or competition in online games, a claim often used to dismiss female-dominated games as casual or not “real” games.
“At first glance, gaming motivations among men and women seem to align with gender stereotypes: Men are primarily motivated by competition and destruction, while women’s primary motivations are completion and fantasy. But this is only part of the story. For example, consider competition—the motivation that varies the most between male and female gamers – for which, it turns out, age accounts for twice the statistical variance than gender does. Or, to put it another way, the delta in the appeal of competition between younger men and older men is much bigger than the delta between men and women.”
Quantic Foundry, the gaming analytics consulting firm we’ve been following since late 2015 thanks to its Gamer Motivation Model, has a new blog post out this week that purports to break down participation rate in various gaming genres, including MMOs, by gender.
Parsed from 270,000 self-submitted surveys gamers have submitted to date — 18.5% of which are from women — Quantic’s data appear to reinforce some of the basic stereotypes in gaming: two-thirds of match 3 gamers are women, almost all tactical shooter fans are dudebros, women play more high-fantasy MMOs than sci-fi MMOs, that sort of thing. But there are some interesting surprises. For example, a smaller percentage of World of Warcraft players are women than the genre numbers on the whole.
“23% of World of Warcraft gamers are women. This is substantially lower than the group average (36%). A lot of game researchers (Nic and I included) focused on studying WoW as an exemplar of online gaming, but it looks like WoW was not only an outlier in terms of market success, but also in terms of its demographics relative to other games in the genre.”
I was curious recently about what specific personality traits or personal qualities lead to my enjoyment of MMOs in general and Guild Wars 2
in particular, especially after reading that Quantic Foundry has just conducted new research
into any potential correlation between gender, age, and playstyle. The research referenced in the Daily Grind post was taken from a relatively small set of responses, but I was nevertheless prompted to consider my own playstyle and revisit my Quantic Foundry gaming profile
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to examine my gaming profile and explain how it might relate to the type of GW2 content I choose to play, giving examples as I go to help other gamers with similar motivations consider whether GW2 might be the perfect MMO choice for them as well.
Gaming research firm Quantic Foundry posted a new blog last week revealing the results of its surveys cross-referencing gender, age, and playstyle in video games. Among the 1266 gamers polled, the data are clear: The most popular playstyle is “cautious long-range.” Men and women responded more or less the same except on the “rushing in” playstyle category, which was embraced significantly more by men (as well as by younger players).
For me, which playstyle I follow depends a ton on the game. I prefer stealthy ranged pew-pew in The Elder Scrolls Online, for example, but I dislike casters so much in Guild Wars 2 that I’m a rusher-inner there for sure (give me a charge/leap in button and I’m good to go). I also think I’ve become slightly more impatient and more rushy as I’ve grown up — I was so much more timid when I first got into MMORPGs as a kid. Maybe I’m just now approaching equilibrium.
Do Quantic’s data match your own personal gaming experiences? Does your MMO playstyle track with your age and gender in line with these stats?
Quantic Foundry’s series of blog posts in support of its Gamer Motivation Model continue with its most recent piece on open world games, which finds that when presented with an open-world, open-ended game, players tend to balance their urge to complete a campaign with their desire to randomly explore. Author Kaleb Embaugh argues that while men and women approach such gameplay equally, younger gamers on the whole tend to favor a more single-minded campaign over rudderless exploration. Unsurprisingly, players who leaned more heavily on exploration tend to score high on discovery and fantasy when taking the GMM quiz.
Embaugh bases his conclusions on data revolving around Fallout 4, however, which isn’t an MMORPG. But I wonder whether they couldn’t apply to our genre as well. We have certainly seen massively multiplayer online games that pull in elements from both ends of game design, such as post-NGE’s Star Wars Galaxies, which combined open-world sandbox mechanics with a starkly themeparkish legacy questline.
So how do you plot your gameplay in an open-world sandbox? Do you focus on exploring your own way, or do you buckle down and follow whatever leveling or achievement system the developers have implemented? And does your pattern change when you’re playing a themepark?
We’ve been following gaming research firm Quantic Foundry the past few months as it’s been hammering out its Gamer Motivation Model. This week, it released an article calling all of you old.
Just kidding. Actually, the blog post by Dr. Nick Yee says that the first generation of gamers who really truly grew up on games isn’t stopping, which has pushed the average gamer age up to 35 over the last 15 or so years, and it’s a demographic he says is worth exploring.
“Among the 12 motivations we measure in our model, the interest in Competition changes the most with age,” he argues. “In our framework, Competition is the appeal of competing with other players in duels, matches, or team-vs-team scenarios. The gender difference in Competition is large at first among younger gamers, but then disappears with age. As gamers get older, the appeal of Competition declines, but this happens more rapidly for men than for women. Thus, by the time we’re past 45, the difference between men and women largely disappears.”
We’ve been covering Nick Yee-founded Quantic Foundry’s game analytics research as it’s fleshing out the Gamer Motivation Model, which seeks to create a modernized personality chart for gamers. This week, Quantic wrote that in its recent survey of over a thousand gamers, it could conclude that at least in first-person shooters,
“A higher proportion of male gamers preferred aggressive, close range tactics when compared with female gamers. Stealthy, long-range encounters on the other hand are preferred by a larger proportion of women compared to men. Interestingly, both groups were consistent in having the stealthy approach as the most popular answer, followed by close range tactics. An ‘in-between’ approach was the least popular answer with both men and women.”
(There’s much more to the post, including charts and responses by age, so have a look.)
I wondered whether those data might apply to MMORPG players as well. After all, some MMOs can also be played first-person or at the very least in chase-cam mode. As someone who’s played tanks, healers, and ranged in probably equal measures by now, I certainly don’t fit the profile. How about you? Do you think your gender influences your chosen MMO roles and classes?
This winter, we’ve been chronicling the escapades of Nick Yee-founded game analytics consulting firm Quantic Foundry, which published what it’s calling the Gamer Motivation Model. Researchers compiled user-submitted profiles from thousands of gamers to develop a sort of modern Bartle quotient that groups gamer types into three “clusters of motivations” rather than the standard socializer, achiever, killer, explorer archetypes. Earlier this month, we invited our readers to take the test along with us to see how we fit into the greater gamer curve and understand how the model ranks us.
Yee’s most recent post on the project shows how the aggregate data might be used from a game development perspective rather than just to amuse curious gamers.
“[I]n the survey, we also ask gamers to list their favorite game titles. This allows us to pivot between gamers and games – we can use the aggregated game audience profiles to compare games. For example, is Civilization more strategically complex than SimCity? Well, we can compare their audience Strategy scores to find out. In this sense, the Gamer Motivation Profile isn’t just a benchmarking tool for gamers, it’s also a benchmarking tool for game titles.”
Over the winter holidays, we wrote about game analytics consulting firm Quantic Foundry, which has published what it calls its “Gamer Motivation Model” — essentially, it’s an updated Bartle test for modern gamers that groups gamer types into three “clusters of motivations.” More recently, co-founder Dr. Nick Yee — yes, that Nick Yee — has discussed how gamer motivations align with personality traits.
In light of the fun we had taking the Bartle test a few months ago and the news that Bartle himself is publishing new books offering insight into our genre, we thought we’d take the Gamer Motivation test ourselves, share our results and our thoughts on the test, and provoke you to do the same.
If you’ve ever thought that the Bartle test was a bit outdated, game analytics consulting firm Quantic Foundry has a new gamer psych chart for you. This past week, it released its Gamer Motivation Model, which groups gamer types into three “clusters of motivations” joined by “discovery” and “power” bridges.
In the bottom-right orange cluster, there’s an Action-Social cluster that combines the interest in fast-paced gameplay with player interaction.
In the left yellow cluster, there’s an Immersion-Creativity cluster that combines the interest in narrative, expression, and world exploration.
In the top blue clusters, there’s a Mastery-Achievement cluster that combines the appeal of strategic gameplay, taking on challenges, and becoming powerful.
The company is planning to release more data in the coming months, so stay tuned if the science of why we game the way we do interests you, and go take the test yourself if you’re so inclined.