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The purpose of this study is to map out and see the relationship between MMORPG game player personalities and style based on player type theory and game players’ thinking preferences in order to increase sales, opportunity to improve in game development and apply thinking preference to offer personalize in-game product or promotion by using framework of Player type theory and Whole brain thinking preference model relationship. This chapter provides a review of overall concept and theory among different researches from different authors which are discussed with different topics as follow:
- Online game
- MMORPG game
- Player type theory
- Whole Brain thinking preference model
Brief history of PC/online games play important roles.
Computer games’ influence is growing continuingly as research shows that the age of children playing games continue to be younger and internet usage among children becomes more popular. Moreover, the internet access has become widespread since 1990s, which impacted people’s working, socializing and behaviors (Dindar & Akbulut, 2014). The Internet become an important media role in information age especially for children and youth who are a group that influences by internet use (Makesrithongkum, 2009). The internet also has a great impact on marketing concepts especially in the game sectors in terms of alerting relationship marketing activities with customers (Maklan & Klaus, 2011).
Online games become interactive because they allow game players around the world to interact with each other in one single platform. Eventually, online games began to becoming the important factor of our social culture (Nuangjumnonga & Mitomo, 2012) and (Williams et al., 2008). Online games also bring people together to form society which players interact with each other in virtual world that are always on. These worlds, called “massively multiplayer online games” or MMOs (Steinkuehler & Williams, 2006).
As the computers and online games market grew rapidly many people especially teenager spend great amounts of time playing online games (Boyle, Connolly, & Hainey, 2011; González-González, Toledo-Delgado, Collazos-Ordoñez, & González-Sánchez, 2014). Challenges for marketing industry in measurement of online game players’ interaction with a game become critical since it is an important key for company sustainability (Tony, Richard, & Paul, 2009). Moreover, there is a few knowledge about how customer experiences on online game that would be from their consumption which might be interpreted into customer value perception (Iyanna, Bosangit, & Mohd-Any, 2012).
Brief history of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) play important roles.
The history of MMORPG was born in 1970s and was started as a “Multi User Dungeons (MUDs)” on the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) back in the mid-1970s and currently this industry is continue to grow rapidly (Daniel & Daniel, 2012, chap. 41; Hou et al., 2011; Lo & Wen, 2010; Rezaei & Ghodsi, 2014). MMORPGs are form of MUD games that offer a persistent 3D virtual world to support thousands of players to playing together on the Internet or PCs (Lo & Wen, 2010). “In an MMORPG, the world exists before the user logs on, and continues to exist when the user logs off” (Yee, 2006).
In the year of 2003, “Ragnarok Online”, on of MMORPG licensed from Gravity Corporation, South Korea. It was localized into Thai language to serve Thai gamers. “This game was an immense success, with the highest peak Concurrent Users of over 110,600” (ASIASOFT CORPORATION PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED, 2013).
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) provide game players many game-play options. It allow players to connect and interact with other players in open-world virtual landscapes filled with a variety of possible activities. It able players to be able to create and control their own avatars to play with others either as allies or competitors in 3D graphical video environments (Steinkuehler & Williams, 2006). These games attract lots amount of players of all ages, nationalities, and occupations, and average playing time for these games is usually in excess of 20 h per week (Griffiths, Davies, & Chappell, 2004; Williams et al., 2008; Yee, 2006a). The popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) makes it very important to investigate how they impact on gamers’ lives (Zhong, 2011). Furthermore, it is even more important to understand how to design a successful MMORPG that can satisfy the target game players (Ang, Zaphiris, & Mahmood, 2007; Lo & Wen, 2010; Zhong, 2011) and retain them (Hou, Chern, Chen, & Chen, 2011).
In terms of game business, one of the leading game company in Thailand with the offering of 17 MMORPGs game (only count the ones offer in Thailand), Asiasoft Corporation Public Company Limited (the “Company” or “AS”) has generate their revenue by offering (1) Air Time sale in which players have to pay base on their hours of playing MMORPG games (2) Item sale in which players able to play MMORPG games free of charge but company will sell in-game items such as equipment, accessories or some other items that make that player become better in somehow than other player who does not purchase in-game items. In-game items sometime come with marketing campaign by offering on sales price in order to attract player to purchase them. Currently, revenue model of online game has shift from Air Time sale to Item sale. The reason behind is that there are more chance for game player to be attracted because they can play MMORPG game for free which also increase the chance to sell in-game items later on (ASIASOFT CORPORATION PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED, 2013).
MMORPGs brought a significant role in online game player interactions within game industries. MMORPG users experience more complicate gaming behavior compared to other virtual games players so this issue leads to further research in the MMORPGs industry (Stetina, Kothgassner, Lehenbauer, and Kryspin-Exner (2011); Rezaei & Ghodsi, 2014). In software industry, software developer which provide consumers with personalized product based on individual preference have been shown to be better choices (Murray & Häubl, 2009).
There are multidimensional influences of motivational factors those were relatively neglected in previous related studies including research of (Nuangjumnonga & Mitomo, 2012) which has done the research that seek for the correlation that exists between character roles in games and leadership in everyday life. The research is about roles in the game and leadership styles are linked and how they influence each other using (Multiplayer online battle arena) MOBA game genre and three styles of leadership which develop from IBM’s research project. The researchers also conduct a survey regarding gameplay behaviors and leadership behaviors distributed in Thailand to identify the game roles which taken by the game players and also to identify their leadership styles. The result shows correlations between relationship of game and leadership style.
Some of research mention about gaming environment have tremendous impact and players are motivated to engage them (Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006). There are theories of motivations that have been applied to game and motivate player. Yee (2007) has presented studies focus on (Massively Multiplayer Online) MMO games that involve with players interact in virtual environment (in game) through online game character. In his research, he identified different factor analysis including overarching, non-exclusive, motives. These factors were derived from Bartle’s type theory.
Another theory has been address which is called Self-determination. In its early development, researcher focus on motivation based on the inherent satisfactions derived from action (Ryan & Deci, 2000a). Base on Self-determination theory, intrinsic motivation is the core type of motivation underlying play and sport (Frederick & Ryan, 1993, 1995; Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006), and it is a type of motivation related to computer game participation in which people typically play these games because they are intrinsically satisfying (Malone & Lepper, 1987; Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006) or, as Bartle (2004) state that players are seeking “fun”.
Player type theory
One of the major concern about MMORPGs study is to identify the motivations of game players to engage in gaming environments. Bartle’s (1996) player taxonomy was among the first studies to describe player motivations in virtual worlds. Bartle’s (1996) player type theory was stated that there are four main reasons why people continue playing Multi-User Dungeon (MUDs: ancestors of MMORPGs) which are to achieve in the game, imposition others, explore through the game, and socialize with other players. This theory first start off with taxonomy of game players of MUDs or Multi-User Dungeon which is the multiplayer online game that allow many players to join at the same time. According to Bartle’s player type theory, there are four things that people typically enjoyed personally about MUDs were:
- Achievement within the game context – Players set goals or mission by themselves and try to achieve them. In MMORPG game, they would be the ones that try to gain point and gaining level as their main goal. They will explore only to seek for new items or treasure. Socializing is needed when they wants to know about how to improving their points in the game and gain knowledge to apply to be better player in the game. They will be killing others only to eliminate rivals or get rid of people who get in the way or gaining some point which awarded from killing other players. Achievers are focusing on master the game. They analyze which way they would accomplish the game and achieve them base on their action. They focus on acting (role play in the game, mission and goal) and world (game environment that makes them accomplish something in the game).
- Exploration of the game – Players try to know as much as possible about the virtual world in terms of mapping. They usually go in the wild and out-of the way places. They seek for interesting places and features in the game. Scoring point is only necessary when it allows player to be able to access to other new places. They focus on interacting with the world. They are proud from knowing about the game more than other players.
- Socializing with others – Players use the role-playing game to interact with other players. They interest in people over than context of the game itself. Scoring point is only necessary when it allows player to be able to gain access to some communication which available only for the one who meet the target. Exploration is only necessary for players when they only want to know what others are talking about. Killing is only for revenge upon someone who has cause pain to a friend.
- Imposition upon others – Players use tools provided by the game to offend other players. They usually find weapons and apply it to another player in the game. Knowledge about the game does not needed but only need when it can apply to the person. They are proud of their reputation and fighting skills.
Figure 5: Player type theory graph
Whole brain thinking model
In the past, there are numbers of researches that have tried to identify thinking style of people. There are some theories and research which able to identify different thinking style which will be apply in this research. Whole brain thinking preference model was develop in the year of 1996. This instrument is based on belief that parts of the brain (left and right hemisphere, cerebral and limbic brain) form a grid that divide into quadrants resulting in different brain dominance of each person (Orcik, Vrgovic, & Tekic, 2013).
Triune Brain theory
Triune Brain theory was invented by Paul McLean in 1968. The theory itself separate human brain into three layers which works differently for each part (McLean, 1990). It consists of the reptilian brain (core brain), the limbic system (mid layer), and the cerebral system (outer layer) (McLean, 1990â€¬) which is described as follows:
The Reptilian brain functional to controls every basic function of our living. It maintains patterns and habits of human body and controls primitive behavior, sensation, and survival. Environment does minimal effects to this part of brain.
The Limbic system is considered to be primary centers of emotion thinking, form and sequence which play a key role in memory transformation and retrieval (Andrew, 2001). McLean acknowledges that the senses we feel about the rationality of our thoughts has its roots in this system of emotional intelligence (McLean, 1990).
The Cerebral system (Neocortex) is a part that does all planning, analysis, synthesis, reasoning thinking, problem solving and decision-making which consider to be the most complex part. It provide logical and formal operational thinking possible and allows us to plan for the future. It is kept all gained knowledge and allows us to reuse that knowledge in the future.
Left Brain/Right Brain theory
Theory of Left Brain/Right Brain was discovered in 1970 by Roger Sperry. The experiments revealed that the left and right hemispheres of the brain were actually functioning independently from each other. Right side of the brain function as recognizing faces, expressing emotions, musical ability, intuition, creativity, humor and metaphor. However, left side of the brain is able to function as analytical, language, logic, critical thinking, numbers, time sequencing and reasoning.
Whole Brain thinking preference model
Whole Brain Thinking is the ability for individuals to act outside of their own preferred Thinking Preference (Brian, 2011). Each individual has their own dominance thinking preference therefore, tools to measure is needed. Ned Herrmann cluster human brain into four different parts by combining between the theory of Triune Brain (McLean, 1990) and Left Brain and Right Brain theory (Roger, 1985; Springer and Deutch, 1985). Ned Hermann developed the Whole brain model that can be measured each person and categorize them into one of the four quadrants by using Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument as a tool. The result shows degree of dominance of a person in four thinking structures of human brain.
The Whole Brain model divided human brain into a grid that contains four equal quadrants, and labeled by using first four letters of alphabet to indicate A as an upper left quadrant, B as a lower left quadrant, C as a lower right quadrant, and D as an upper right quadrant. The letters A and D represent the cerebral system, and the letters B and C represent the limbic system (Herrmann, 1996; Brian, 2011) as shown in the figure below and describe later on.
Figure 6: Whole Brain Model
Quadrant A refers to Analyzer who deals with logical, analytical, fact based, and quantitative. Analyzer tends to think logically, analyze facts and process numbers. Persons who rely in this quadrant will perform logic thinking to do problem solving and have realistic thinking (Rittippant, Ruyaporn, Hongpaisanvivat, Limrahaphan, & Kasemweerakul, 2013).
Quadrant B refers to Organizer who deals with organization, sequential thinking, planning and detail. Organizer tends to make everything goes smoothly and perfectly based on their plans. Persons who rely in this quadrant also like to get things done on time. They are detail oriented and does not use emotion to make a decision and tend to avoid risks and do everything conservatively (Rittippant, Ruyaporn, Hongpaisanvivat, Limrahaphan, & Kasemweerakul, 2013).
Quadrant C refers to Personalizer who deals with kinesthetic, emotional, feelings based and interpersonal skills. Personalizer tends to be people-oriented and tender. Persons who rely in this quadrant always care others’ feeling and looks to other people’s values. They will be a friendly, trusting and empathetic person (Rittippant, Ruyaporn, Hongpaisanvivat, Limrahaphan, & Kasemweerakul, 2013).
Quadrant D refers to Visualizer who deals with intuitive thinking, integration, synthesizing, and a holistic approach. Visualizer tends to be able to see the big picture and try to solve problem based on their instinct. Persons who rely in this quadrant are visionary and imaginative. They like changing, challenging and risk taking; dislikes any forms of rules and regulations (Rittippant, Ruyaporn, Hongpaisanvivat, Limrahaphan, & Kasemweerakul, 2013).
Each of human being has different brain dominance. Moreover, most people tend to have at least one dominant or preferred quadrant based on whole brain model. There are no better or worse among each of dominance quadrants. Eventually, each of the dominance quadrants will express Thinking Preference in that person. These will lead to different game playing style in MMROPG genre.
Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)
Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) is a tool to measuring the degree of preference between each of the four individual thinking structures (quadrants) and each of the four-paired structures (modes). HBDI is the only assessment based on the metaphor of how our brain actually works. It is only used to determine thinking styles and preference rather than the psychology of personality or behavior. The Whole Brain model divided human brain into four equal quadrants, and labeled by using first four letters of alphabet including A as an upper left quadrant, B as a lower left quadrant, C as a lower right quadrant, and D as an upper right quadrant. The letters A and D represent the cerebral system, and the letters B and C represent the limbic system (Herrmann, 1995; Brian, 2011).
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