How Biased Are Gamers?

How Biased Are Gamers?


From having a favorite console to playing competitive multiplayer, we take a quick look at how bias effects you as a gamer - you may find the results surprising!

You do not need to be a qualified psychologist to notice the patterns people tend to fall into when discussing, buying, and playing video games. All of the bias and various effects mentioned in this article have been empirically proven in experiments. However, that is not to say we are prone to all of them, but they do stand as tendencies that people have. It should be pointed out that this is meant as a humorous and hopefully entertaining look at the way we interact with games, rather than a more serious, scientific approach. Every gamer will be able to identify with at least one of the listed effects.

Buying Games

Experiential limitations – This is the unwillingness or inability to look beyond our past experiences and the rejection of the unfamiliar. If we've had a bad experience with a game, we're less inclined to go and buy the sequel.

-“I didn't think that Modern Warfare 2 improved enough on the first one, so I don't think I'm going to buy MW3.”

Recency – We pay more attention to recent information and either ignore or forget more distant information. Obviously when a new game comes out, you're going to go and look at the review rather than the preview, as it will contain the most up to date information. Recency is less of a 'bias' when it comes to video games as unlike most other forms of media, we get to see the game evolving throughout its development process, so it is never really relevant to look at old information about a game.

-”It's a shame that Amy received such bad review scores, it looked quite interesting in the previews.”

Anchoring – This is where we let initial information influence our view of later information. This may seem like a contradiction of recency, but often we hear about a game, and immediately make the decision not to play it.

-“Did you hear that they're making an FPS set in the XCOM universe?”
-“Not for me they're not.”

How Biased Are Gamers?

Repetition bias – The sheer amount of reviews you can find all over the internet for a game when it is released means that it is pretty easy to get an idea of the quality of the game. However, rather than trawl through every single one, we will usually go to a few of our most trusted sites, and if they say roughly the same thing, we will know if the game is worth playing or not. Of course, just round the corner there may be a scathing review, but if the majority sing the game's praises, then we feel safe in buying it.

-”It seems like Hooked Gamers gave Rayman Origins a really good score and so did all these other sites, maybe I should go and buy it!”

Group thinking – Peer pressure isn't just confined to the pub or the playground, it creeps into our decisions about buying games as well! If enough of your friends buy a game and tell you to do the same, quite often we will cave and buy it. This is also known as the 'Bandwagon Effect'.

-“Come on, buy Battlefield 3 and come play with us, it's fun!”
-”Ah, go on, you know you want to.”
-”Okay, fine...”