The 4 Gamer Profiles and Personality: The Socialite, Explorer, Achiever, Killer

Video, console, and PC gaming is a now huge multi-billion dollar industry, especially from the boom in popularity as a result from the ongoing pandemic. Reports show an overall increase in as much as 40% from March 2020 alone.

Richard Bartle, a British professor and game researcher, proposed four quadrants to which game enthusiasts fall under. This encompasses all genres—from FPS (first person shooter) to RTS (real-time strategy) games.

The four online gamer profiles (according to Bartle’s taxonomy) are:

  • Socialite (♥)
  • Explorer (♠)
  • Achiever (♦)
  • Killer (♣)

Here’s a more in-depth visualization on a 3D graph below:

Every age has its storytelling form, and video gaming is a huge part of our culture. People are enthralled with video games in the same way as other people love the cinema or theatre.

– Andy Serkis, Actor & Director

Let’s explore the 4 online gamer profiles, and how their personality traits differ, based on Bartle’s taxonomy:

Socialite

Explicit: Networker

Implicit: Friend

The more, the merrier!

The socialite wants to make friends—plenty of them. They will go great lengths to strike up a conversation and get to know each player to make the game more interesting and fulfilling. Voice and text chat? They’re all for it!

Key traits of Socialites (♥):

  • Scores high in Agreeableness (A)
  • Makes and maintains friends easily
  • Starts and holds conversations in voice chats
  • Joins guilds, clubs, and memberships
  • Talks a lot in chat rooms and discussion forums

Explorer

Explicit: Scientist

Implicit: Hacker

What’s hidden in plain sight around here?

If a game is a blank map, the Explorer wants to uncover its various components bit by bit. Each unturned rock or unopened chest poses inspiration to dig up more information. They mentally strike gold when they discover something new.

Key traits of Explorers (♠):

  • Gains inspiration from experimenting
  • Enjoys open-world, sandbox games
  • Explores games at their own pace, Type B (lax, steady)
  • Fond of finding alternative routes and “easter eggs”
  • Prides self on being the first to discover features

Achiever

Explicit: Planner

Implicit: Opportunist

How can I demonstrate my competence to others?

Medals, 100% achievement rates, and badges are more than eye candy to the Achiever—they represent their virtual lifeblood. If a battle pass or challenge of some sort exists, they’re more than happy to grind through to claim those rewards.

Key traits of Achievers (♦):

  • Scores high in Conscientiousness (C)
  • Possesses Type A traits (e.g. ambitious, go-getting)
  • Rushes to finish daily challenges and tasks
  • Goal-oriented and proactive
  • Seek praise from Socialites

Killer

Explicit: Politician

Implicit: Griefer

What does it take to win?

Quite literally out for blood and chaos, Killers see view the gaming scene as a conquest to climb to the top of leaderboards and demonstrate their expertise (read: sheer excellence). This may or may not result in resorting to cheats or hacks to secure a win.

Key traits of Killers (♣):

  • Extremely status and reputation conscious
  • Prefers live PvP over AI-controlled fights
  • Type most prone to use scripted cheats
  • Most likely to have dark personality traid traits

Summing Up: The 4 Online Gamer Profiles and Personality

We’ve taken a more in-depth look at the 4 online gamer profiles, namely the Socialite, Explorer, Achiever, and Killer. Many people share characteristics with two (or even three!) of the types. For example, the Socialite-Achiever.

The looming question remains: Is there a superior profile?

A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something [we enjoy]…gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.

– Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken:
Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

References

ERÜMİT, Semra & Şılbır, Lokman & Erümit, Ali & Karal, Hasan. (2020). Determination of Player Types according to Digital Game Playing Preferences: Scale Development and Validation Study. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. https://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2020.1861765.

Drakopoulos, Georgios & Voutos, Yorghos & Mylonas, Phivos. (2020). Annotation-Assisted Clustering of Player Profiles in Cultural Games: A Case for Tensor Analytics in Julia. Big Data and Cognitive Computing. 4. https://doi.org/10.3390/bdcc4040039.

Ferro, Lauren & Walz, Steffen & Greuter, Stefan. (2013). Towards personalised, gamified systems: An investigation into game design, personality and player typologies. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. https://doi.org10.1145/2513002.2513024.

Mora, Alberto & Riera, Daniel & González González, Carina & Arnedo-Moreno, Joan. (2017). Gamification: a systematic review of design frameworks. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. 29. 1-33. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-017-9150-4.

Tondello, Gustavo & Wehbe, Rina & Orji, Rita & Ribeiro, Giovanni & Nacke, Lennart. (2017). A Framework and Taxonomy of Videogame Playing Preferences. https://doi.org/10.1145/3116595.3116629.