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:
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
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
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
- Seeks praise from Socialites
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
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