Psychology Controls You, The Way You Play Games, And The Console You Like
Ever wondered why your choice is always the best choice? Well, it’s psychological, of course. And it’s easily manipulated, too. Videogame developers, and even console makers, know this and they abuse it.
When you’re playing a game and you decide to choose a specific weapon, you find that your choice is the ‘best’ choice. When you buy a console, you find that your console is the ‘best’ console, and that’s because you chose it and you own it.
Gearbox boss, Randy Pitchford, explained that Borderlands 2 offers so much choice, and with that it’s a game which suits gamers really well. Pitchford used help from Harvard psychology professor, Dan Gilbert, to prove his point.
Using the Gilbert test, Pitchford decided to use items from his D.I.C.E. Summit gift bag to demonstrate how all of this works. Pitchford laid items out on stage and asked the audience to rank it, from most to least desirable. He would then take the items away, and about 20 minutes later, he would bring them back and say that some of the items are now available to participants, as their own. He would then ask them to pick between their third and fourth most desirable items, where they would pick the third from their memory of the earlier ranking.
Once again, time lapses and the memory of what ranked where fades a bit. Then, they’re told that the original ranking of the items has been lost, and they need to re-rank the items. And here’s where it gets interesting: the participants then seem to rank the third item on the list — the one they own — higher than the others. The previously higher items are then pushed down in appeal.
And with that, choice has changed their thinking. They’ve just chosen their third best to be their best purely because they own it. That’s what happens in games, too. When a player is given a choice which between two things which are somewhat equal, the player’s initial choice becomes the ‘best’ despite its ranking.
In turn, the one not chosen is the ‘bad’ choice.
Now, applying that to consoles you’ll be able to see exactly the same thing. Although, it’s not always that simple. I owned an Xbox 360 before I owned a PlayStation 3. I feel loyal to my Xbox 360 however I never use it. In fact, I only plugged it in last night for the first time in months. I still feel something towards it though, and if I should defend either, I will probably defend the Xbox 360 more than the PlayStation 3.
That’s weird isn’t it? Can you think of anything else where psychology manipulates your thoughts?
I’d say for me, I’m somewhat biased to multiplayer games as my ‘best’ choice. I’ve always played these and chosen this to be my own, and because of that I come across really bias when there’s a decision. I only enjoy playing singleplayer games which do not have any multiplayer component because I know that no multiplayer component will ever live up to the games I’m used to playing, which are strictly multiplayer based. What I’m trying to say is, I’m a fanboy of what I’m used to, and everything else will always be second because it’s not my initial choice. The only way to overcome that mindset is to get a game which doesn’t include anything which allows for comparison, therefore, no multiplayer component.