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Session Name:

The 5 Domains of Play: Applying Psychology's Big 5 Motivation Domains to Games


Over the last 20 years an often unobserved modern motivational psychology has coalesced around a system called "The Big 5" or OCEAN. Why should we care? Because unlike its predecessors, this one has a titanic landslide of repeatable, scientific evidence behind it. But how does it apply to games?

The speaker has been collaborating with academics and industry colleagues to try and answer that problem - and we have found that we can, without difficulty, connect specific game elements directly to measurable Big 5 personality "facets". By doing this, we have uncovered a completely new way of looking at the motivations of play.

The potential of this connection is broad: it guides the speaker's our game design decision-making, it helps explain why particular games satisfy (or otherwise), it offers a statistical framework for playtest evaluation and shows us which audiences we have been missing out on.

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  • GDC 2012
  • Jason VandenBerghe
  • Ubisoft
  • free content
  • Game Design
  • Design