Maxime Fraser Franco

Université du Québec à Montréal
Application of selection analysis to the behavior of videogame players

Maxime Fraser Franco, Pierre-Olivier Montiglio et Clint Kelly

Individual animals vary in their ability to acquire resources partly as a consequence of ecological factors such as resource availability, competition, and habitat structure. These ecological factors act as causal agents to select for particular fitness-maximizing behavioural traits. Similarly, in online multiplayer video games, game players exhibit variation in their behaviour to “acquire resources” in the form of points. A challenge currently facing the videogame industry is identifying the causal agents generating behavioural variation among players. We are tackling this issue by borrowing a powerful statistical tool from evolutionary biology – selection analysis. Our objective is to quantify the strength and direction of selection acting on the behaviour of video game players, and measure how player experience, engagement, and competence define their behavior. We will then examine how these three components and virtual environment variables affect the relationship between behavioral traits and points accrued. Prior to the selection analysis, we evaluated which behavioral traits represented our player population. Results suggest that players can be categorized as being either “active resource-trackers” or “resource-protectors”. Our study should improve our knowledge on how selection operates, and provide a framework for game designers to predict how game environment modifications will affect their player’s behavior.