Towards a Trait Model of Video Game Preferences

Gustavo F. Tondello, Deltcho Valtchanov, Adrian Reetz, Rina R. Wehbe, Rita Orji, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2018. Towards a Trait Model of Video Game Preferences. In International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction 34, 8: 732-748. Taylor & Francis. doi:10.1080/10447318.2018.1461765


Typologies for understanding players’ preferences toward different gameplay styles have gained popularity in research. However, attempts to model players’ preferences are based on type models instead of trait models, contrary to the latest personality research. One such model, BrainHex, was designed as an interim model to enable investigations toward a definitive player trait model. However, it lacks empirical validation in support of its psychometric properties. The present work analyzed a dataset with over 50,000 respondents to devise a player traits model based off the BrainHex scale. Results indicate three player traits: action, esthetic, and goal orientation. Furthermore, we analyzed the games listed by participants as examples of what they enjoy, to understand which factors influence player preferences. Results illustrate that the emergent player traits and participants’ genders and attitudes toward story can partially explain player preferences toward certain games. Finally, we present the implications toward a definitive player traits model.