One of the most damaging stereotypes about gamers from the 1980s and 90s was that they were loners. Pop culture treated gamers like outcasts, hinting that many chose to stay inside and play video games because it was their only option for entertainment. Even then, gamers knew the truth: gaming is a hobby on par with watching films, reading books, or playing card games.
However, these early perceptions of a gamer’s personality are still felt today. Many believe that gamers are likely to have a high IQ in lieu of social skills. They may also falsely believe that gamers have Type A personalities, focused on attention to detail and facts to the point that the rest of the world fades away.
But these generalizations don’t apply to the increasingly diverse demographic of gamers around the globe. For example, one of the most prevalent forms of gaming worldwide is poker. A player who frequents PokerStars online platform is interested in Texas Hold’em and bluffing in table games and tournaments—way more than they’re interested in a MOBA game like Valorant.
In this case, does this poker player have anything in common with a Valorant player? Do gamers actually share character traits, even if they prefer titles as different as poker and Valorant? Let’s dive into the topic below, exploring medical journals, personality quizzes, and more to find an answer.
According to Research Journals
Researchers have been fascinated with gaming personality type for decades. One recent study from Kharazami University in Tehran and South Bank University in London studied over 25,000 self-identified gamers to see which Big Five personality traits applied most to them.
These personality traits include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Each has a sliding scale, indicating which end of a two-part spectrum a person falls. For conscientiousness, for example, a person is either more efficient and organized or extravagant and careless.
So, how did professional psychologists from both universities conclude their study? They agreed that the only takeaway was that gamers leaned toward efficient and organized conscientiousness traits. The study’s second-to-last line reads, “As a result of our observations, the underlying mechanisms of individual differences in online gaming remain unclear.”
According to Myers-Briggs Personality Types
Similar to the Big Five personality traits, the Myers-Briggs test is another psychological tool designed to identify key characteristics of a person. The Myers-Briggs test includes four personality categories for a total of 16 different potential personality types.
One company dedicated to exploring Myers-Briggs, called 16Personalities, did a study involving 2,500 gamer participants. These gamers took the test to see which type they fit. The most common types were Analysts, Diplomats, Sentinels, and Explorers. From there, the study breaks down which personality types gravitate toward which games.
Depending on a gamer’s personality, they may prefer solo games like Elder Scrolls, which allow them to make impactful single-player decisions. Others might instead prefer the thrill and teamwork involved in an FPS like Counter-Strike.
In other words, the study highlighted the vast range of personality traits present in all gamers. It shows that interest in things like teamwork, morality, and decision-making greatly affect which titles a gamer will gravitate towards.
According to Gamer Data
One final study comes from Quantic Foundry. Quantic Foundry is a large-scale research company that crunches huge portions of data to draw conclusions. One of their specialties is visual clustering, which is a way to understand data.
One study based on gaming motivation and personality traits studied the habits of over 140,000 gamers. What did the study find? The three main motivations pulled from this study conclude that gamers are interested in social action, mastery of their game, and creative immersion.
More specifically, the study breaks down how curiosity and discovery drive gamers to want to immerse themselves in a gaming world and then master it. Meanwhile, many gamers are also concerned with power (or prowess) in their favourite game, which combines their social interests with their interest in mastery.