Research: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

January 16, 2009 -

While video games are often slammed over violent content, a new study suggests that it is the challenge presented by a game rather than graphic violence which attracts players.

The research, which appears today in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, was conducted  at the University of Rochester in cooperation with Immersyve Inc., described as a "player-experience research firm."

A press release quotes University of Rochester grad student Andrew Przybylski, the study's lead author:

For the vast majority of players, even those who regularly play and enjoy violent games, violence was not a plus. Violent content was only preferred by a small subgroup of people that generally report being more aggressive.

Immersyve president Scott Rigby commented on potential ramifications for the video game industry:

Much of the debate about game violence has pitted the assumed commercial value of violence against social concern about the harm it may cause. Our study shows that the violence may not be the real value component, freeing developers to design away from violence while at the same time broadening their market.

Researchers incorporated the popular Half-Life 2 and House of the Dead III into their study, using both high and low gore scenarios.

Iowa State University Professor Craig Anderson, a frequent critic of video game violence, praised the new research in an interview with the Canadian Press:

A common belief held by many gamers and many in the video game industry - that violence is what makes a game fun - is strongly contradicted by these studies.

Furthermore, the research convincingly shows that there is no relation between amount of violence in a game and the enjoyment experienced by the players, once opportunities for satisfying competence needs and autonomy needs have been equated in violent and non-violent games.


Comments

Re: Research: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

same here. and if you enjoy horror movies like I do, you can always watch the 'behind the scenes' stuff afterward, that always lessens the shock value for me

岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: Research: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

Upon reading this, I thought, "I could have told you that."  A lot of gamers play games because of the challenges they present and not the gore.  I've never liked movies or games that just used gore or violence as its sole selling point.  It just points to sensationalism and suggests the developers or filmmakers have nothing else to say and have no point other than to shock people.  At which point, then, it becomes pornography.

However, that having been said, having at least some violence in a game does make it appealing.  I don't think, for example, Mortal Kombat would be as fun to play without the absurdly over-the-top Fatalities.  And games like BioShock and Dead Space wouldn't have been as effective in their presentation if their imagery was less disturbing.  I see violence in games or movies as the eqivalent of spice in cooking; no it doesn't need to be there, but it sure makes it taste a lot better!

Re: Research: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

"once opportunities for satisfying competence needs and autonomy needs have been equated in violent and non-violent games."

 

You don't believe in non violent games, remember Anderson?

Re: Research: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

A common belief held by many gamers and many in the video game industry - that violence is what makes a game fun

Who the heck thought that?

I've only ever thought that the level of violence should be as realistic (or as excessive) as the game style, I don't want buckets of gore in my Ratchet & Clank, and I don't want people popping into smoke in my Fallout 3.

Thanks Mr University Proffessor, thanks for telling us all that it's gameplay that makes a game fun, not the violence, Mortal Kombat may have fooled me when I was 10 but by the time I was 12 and the second one was coming out I'd worked that out myself thanks!

Re: Research: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

When I was younger I was attracted to violence in games, it may have been because I was young, it may have been because my parents wouldn't let me get the violent T or M games (although strangely I've never cared about any of the M games until I was old enough to get T games), but that's what excited me.

In fact the promise to blow things up was what led me to try the Ratchet and Clank games.

I'm still a big fan of the series because I think they're fun (and funny), although I still enjoy getting to use the big exotic guns on enemies. I don't think I've quite grown over violence = amusing, but I don't equate lots of violence with a good game.

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Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Research: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

I was about to comment on the exact same thing...

Re: Researchers: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

One more piece of research to add to the arsenal against people who slam ALL gamers as violent sociopaths...

Re: Researchers: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

And one more piece of research to add to all the other research that states the bleeding obvious.

Re: Researchers: Gamers Love the Challenge, Not the Gore

And more money down the drain because of A-holes like JT, that could be put to better use if they didn't exist.

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Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
 

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