Binary Choices: How Players Engage with Morality in Games
Today at GDC 2015 the Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, Amanda Lange talked about how players engage with moral decisions within games. In her talk entitled "Beyond Binary Choices," she discusses the results of data gathered from her own studies that look at how players make moral choices of "good" and "evil" within games. Her results provide some interesting insights for devs who are looking to include binary narratives where players can choose which type of avatar to play. Lange's first test was a survey she did with a thousand self-reporting reports from gamers about whether they tend to choose to play the "good" or "evil" path within a game that allows these choices. She went into the study with an understanding that many people play a game twice: once going with the good path and the second time experiencing the evil one. One of the questions she wanted to answer was whether people were interested in playing with their own moral codes within games that allowed it. That is, do people actively choose an "evil" path just to make choices that were opposed to the ones they make in their daily lives. Here were her results:
- 5% of players consistently choose to play game's "evil" path the first time.
- 59% of players consistently choose to play a game's "good" path the first time.
- 26% of players said they could go either way based on a case-by-case basis.
- Of the 60% who played more than once, about half made good choices in the first play through and evil in subsequent play throughs.