GDC 2014

GDC 2014 Session Scheduler

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Export Schedule:

High Value Monetizers - Debunking Assumptions Using Personality Psychology

Nicolas Ducheneaut  |  Director of Gamer Behavior Research, Ubisoft
Nick Yee  |  Senior Research Scientist, Ubisoft

Location: Room 2010, West Hall

Format: Session
Track: Business, Marketing & Management
Vault Recording: Video

High-value monetizers in free-to-play games are often referred to in the video game industry as whales, a term that implies monetization is similar to impulsive tendencies or behavior and is psychologically exploitative. To challenge this assumption, we collected psychometric data (demographics, play motivations and player personality) from over 1,000 Ghost Recon Online players who were targeted based on their in-game behavioral profiles. In addition to presenting the findings of the study, we will also describe our research process and analytic tools, such as the Big 5 personality inventory, factor analysis for creating robust psychometric variables, and clustering for uncovering player segments.


This talk will provide a case study of how to apply robust psychometric and statistical tools to understand gamer behavior. Findings from high-value monetizers in Ghost Recon Online will be used to challenge the assumption that whales are pathologically impulsive, which will lead to practical recommendations for the design of free-to-play games.

Intended Audience

Game industry analysts and academics interested in monetization in free-to-play games, gameplay motivations and personality assessment in games.