Understanding player types

Understanding player types

The Bartle taxonomy of player types is a classification of video game players based on the research of Richard Bartle.

This classification also works for ‘gamers’ in the workplace.

Just like Myers-Briggs helps employers understand personality types, the Bartle Test of Psychology can help employers understand player types.

It’s worth noting that these categories aren’t rigid. Most people display traits in more than one category. But most people have a dominant trait which determines their overall preference.

When designing incentives, awards, and ‘games’, knowing the player mix can have massive impacts on your outcome.

The Achiever
Achievers are all about points and status. They want to show their friends how they are progressing. They like to collect badges and put them on display. Chances are you can already think of people in this group; someone who boasts they used a quicker route to get to a destination than his friend did is an Achiever type. 

The Explorer
Explorers want to see new things and discover new secrets. They’re not as bothered about points or prizes. For them, discovery is the prize. Explorers are fine with repetitive tasks until they eventually “unlock” a new area of the game, or they deliver some kind of “Easter Egg”. Explorers really enjoy the surprise that’s possible in a game. These are the players who will feel at walls in a game in order to access a secret passage; their satisfaction on doing so is what makes them tick, not bragging to their friends about their discovery.

The Socializer
Most players are Socializers. That’s almost 80% of people who play games. Socializers experience fun in their games through their interaction with other players. Socializers are happy to collaborate to achieve bigger and better things than they could on their own. The point with Socializers is that joining forces makes sense to them. Note—this is the last place you’ll find fierce competition, but it doesn’t mean Socializers are passive slugs who lack ambition.

The Killer
The Killer is ominous-sounding and valid. Killers are like Achievers as they get a thrill from gaining points and winning. What sets them apart is that Killers want to see other people lose. They’re highly competitive and winning is what motivates them. They want to be the best at the game—and beat everyone else.

A gamification environment may consist of all or any combination of these types. Careful player research will help you to understand which player types dominate the environment and thus help define how you will cater to their needs. It’s important to do the research and not just stereotype players. Understand what makes them tick and you’ll be able to incorporate features in your designs that will really latch with their inherent natures as players.

Analyzing Bartle’s taxonomy, you can draw the conclusion that each gamer type will answer enthusiastically to different aspects of the game. Like we’ve said before, this really is a science.

When building an incentive, should you use badges, points, ranking tables, progress bars and challenges? Or will your recipe depend on storytelling and the socialization aspect of the game?

From sales teams hitting their targets to project managers conquering deadlines, every achievement has a corresponding ‘carrot’ to maximize its effect.
At POSER, we specialize in crafting customized gamification strategies that align with your brand identity and company culture to ensure a seamless integration that turns your office into a thriving ecosystem of high-performing STUDS.