Gamer Motivation Profile

Quantic Foundry — the game research institute co-founded by Nick Yee, and not to be confused with Quantic Dream maker of games with sad robots — has a Gamer Motivation profile survey thinger. Your profile is free, but of course the data is then onsold in aggregate to other interested parties.

Should that not bother you it’s an interesting little insight piece. Angie of Backlog Crusader tagged me into giving this one a go. Turns out though that like Wilhelm, I’ve done this in the past. Unlike Wilhelm I apparently didn’t bother to save a profile when I did, so I can’t offer a direct comparison against my old results. Boo.

Action-Oriented, Proficient, Ambitious, and Social

So describes my Gamer Motivation Profile as it stands, September 1st 2019.

I like such a stupidly wide array of games and genres I was pretty curious how this would come out. The ratings provided as a percentile — i.e., a 70% percentile in Action means there are 30% of respondents who rate action more highly in importance than I do.

But more interestingly, and insightful is the next level down — the secondary motivators which drive the primary. Second thing of note: The 12 secondary motivators are a spectrum, or continuum and so can be read in two directions. I’ll get to this a bit later.

Still! I was surprised at just how high the ‘Destruction’ metric ranked in the secondary motivators. To such an extent I went back over the questions asked and answered to see if I could tell where it was coming from.

But as I went through… I remembered I put Just Cause 2 as one of my favourite games as all time. And that there is a question on whether or not you like being an agent of chaos to which I said, ‘Oh yes, very much.’

But like Wilhelm noted in his commentary on the survey — it’s all very contextual. In a Just Cause game of course I adore it. The open world fully destructible sandbox is essentially the full allure. It certainly isn’t the voice acting or the story.

But if the question is meant more specifically as do I enjoy being an agent of chaos in just any ol’ game? Then no! Not so much. I didn’t adjust my answer for now despite perhaps being a little unclear on the intent here, but thought it worth a call out.

Terminology of ‘Achievement’

As a top level category I object to how ‘Achievement’ seemed to be defined around hunting down all collectables or 100%ing a game. Yuck.

Who has time for that?

But I still like doing things that have some sense of meaning. Downing a raid boss, doing something in an unusual or more difficult way. If I’m also being rewarded with a dopamine inducing pop-up saying, ‘Yay you! We see you there — doing the thing!’ then even better.

But that’s not really what they are talking about.

You can see the spectrum descriptions for all categories here.

When you break down the two sub-motivation spectra that forms the Achievement category, it at least starts to make a little more sense on why my rating is where it is — even if the word choice still makes me quirk a brow.

My sub-results for ‘Achievement’.


Wrap Up

If you want to check your own Gaming Motivation profile so you can either sit in awe of its accuracy or nitpick terminology *cough*, you can do so here.

I already linked this above, but if you want to check a little more into the detail of the twelve motivation spectrum used to drive the six top level ‘primary’ motivators, you can find that here.

And finally, while a little dated being from back in 2016, Nick Yee did a talk on creation of the model, how it was started and some of the refinements and findings to that point. The clustering effect — whether I like the terminology or not — is quite real and extremely fascinating.


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

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