Eight important psychological aspects in videogames
That technological evolution is growing exponentially to enormous levels, is no secret. In the same way, the videogame industry is doing so, with the technical characteristics of these and the money generated by them increasing. So that, we are in a stage of full apogee of the videogame industry and with it, before a process of expansion that is happening at a dizzying speed.
The generational technical leap is one of the most surprising factors in this industry since the current videogames are achieving increasing levels of graphic realism, which allows us to have a much more immersive and vivid experience. However, the most important milestone in the history of videogames may be the moment of consolidation of the e-Sports, which has given a big push to the whole industry and has allowed its growth to a point difficult to imagine previously.
One of the new paths that has been opened in this industry is the entry of psychologists as active agents in the development of video games. We will try to shed some light on this new field , even in its earliest phases but which aims to change the current paradigm.
Psychology and video games: a possible binomial?
Psychology is responsible for the study of human behavior, their mental processes and their sensations and perceptions. Since the main objective of videogames is to provide the audience with a pleasant and fun experience, Why not apply psychology in them to improve their role? And even more: Since playing video games involves explicit mental activity, do they have consequences on our levels of cognitive functioning? To make this article more understandable, we will begin by answering the second question to give rise to the first.
Gaming, a way to enhance certain cognitive skills
One of the primary characteristics of videogames is its visual nature, to which is added a motor component of interaction with the videogame, and several secondary elements such as music or dialogues. Due to its primary visual nature, spending time playing video games can enhance the visual-spatial abilities of players (Alloza, Costal & Jiménez, 2016), to the point of greatly improving this ability in those who perform this activity during many hours.
Therefore, authors like Green and Bavelier have been studying these phenomena for many years and trying to analyze all the visual processes that are enhanced, as well as including processes such as attention (Alloza, Costal & Jiménez, 2016). At the level of attention processes, we also see that there are substantial improvements in their basic performance and that this same improvement is translated or generalized to other activities (Wilms et al., 2013). All these implications in the functions of the human being could be broken down and analyzed in a much more specific and complete way, besides analyzing many others that also have implication; but this would lead us to make a much more extensive and more scientific article.
From the previous paragraph it is concluded that Video games produce great changes (mostly beneficial) in the cognitive functioning of people . In addition, they also produce improvements in motor skills and, increasingly, are being used in the rehabilitation of patients who have suffered a stroke (a type of syndrome that involves a sudden suspension of brain activity, accompanied by a variable degree of muscular paralysis) or to improve cognitive function in the elderly, even for the treatment of phobias. For these reasons, video games can turn out to be great tools for the work of a psychologist, but the involvement of this figure within the industry is not limited only to these functions.
8 aspects of a video game in which a psychologist has something to say
The psychology within videogames can be used in many ways and the truth is that, really, a psychologist can be very helpful at any stage of their development or in any field within a company dedicated to video games.
Some of the elements that a psychologist can contribute are:
1. Emotions, sensations and experience linked to gaming
A psychologist could perform functions of analysis of the quality of the immersion produced by a video game . The knowledge of the human mind and its behavior helps to decipher what the context of the game should be, together with all the elements that compose it, to generate the emotions or sensations that are desired.
two.Context (music, design ...)
Continuing with the previous point, a psychologist can design in addition to diagnosing whether an item is well designed or not . In this way topics such as lighting or music, for example, would be key factors in certain games that a psychologist could design properly.
3. Mechanics and reward systems
He could also adopt the role responsible for analyzing the game mechanics, contributing his expert vision of the human psyche, to feed them with characteristics that facilitate and provide more fun. Again you can also take a more active role and design the mechanics that limit the game to be able to generate certain sensations in the players. A couple of examples are the basic mechanics of positive reinforcement (rewards) for the player to continue playing and thus increase the retention of users. Or the social part of the videogame, designing a competition or social interactions to increase the engagement and motivation of the players, not being the only way to do it.
4. Personality profile of the characters
Also, also could easily design the personality profiles of the different characters that appear in the videogames s . In certain games there are pathological characters and who better than a psychologist to design specifically the behavioral patterns that these must show.
5. Design of levels and progress
The psychologist plays an important role also in the creation and design of videogame levels , or the way they have to teach the progress that the player has in him. Be it levels of the Candy Crush, secondary missions in a classic RPG, or different circuits in a racing game, the figure of the psychologist can contribute its bit, thus increasing the quality of the product and providing added value.
6. Economic aspect: monetization
Even at the economic level, an expert psychologist could play a very important role on the monetization of video games for being a great connoisseur of consumer profiles, and because of the innovations that are currently being made in the way of monetizing them.
7. Psychologists in video game multinationals
Out of the product, the psychologist could also fit quite well in a company dedicated to the development of video games . In fact there are already professional psychologists working actively in many departments of companies today, and videogames are no exception. Some of the examples are figures of Community Manager, Customer Experience Designer and even in the Human Resources department.
8. Sports coaching
By last, Psychology could also be applied to the professional competitive teams that participate in the e-Sports as a sports coaching , in the same way that it is used with professional athletes to prepare their mental and mental state before certain competitions or vital events.
Much to discover, much to advance
However, the role of psychology in video games is still at an early stage, although large companies like Valve , Ubisoft or EA Games They already have psychologists on staff as designers. However, there is a lot of reluctance to what our profession can contribute to the development of video games, which is undoubtedly a lot.