Game On: Which Personality Types Enjoy Video Games?
From their beginning as a niche hobby to their current incarnation as a fixture of technology, video games have come a long way since Pong. But despite the seeming ubiquity of video games, plenty of people don’t play them. As with television, film, music, or any other entertainment medium, video games can enthrall or repel.
Could some personality types love gaming more than others do? To answer the question, we asked our community of readers whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “You enjoy playing video games.”
Most personality trait pairings showed significant differences in responses, most notably between Intuitive and Observant types (with 65% and 47% agreeing, respectively). There was also a significant difference between Judging types (51%) and Prospecting types (65%).
Which groups are the most likely to be gamers? Let’s take a closer look at the data.
Analysts and Diplomats (70% and 63% agreeing)
Analysts were the Role most likely to report that they enjoy playing video games (with 70% agreeing). One can easily see the appeal video games hold for Analyst personality types; they pride themselves on their ability to find novel solutions to problems, and video games often present a meaningfully designed set of challenges to resolve. While video games may strike the utilitarian side of an Analyst as a pointless distraction, they may see games as a form of mental exercise, akin to crosswords or Sudoku.
Logicians (INTP) are the biggest gaming aficionados, with 79% agreeing that they enjoy playing video games. It’s no wonder that they scored the highest of all personality types; Logicians’ combination of traits all but guarantees their interest in video games. As Introverts, they are more likely to enjoy solitary activities, and as Thinking types, they tend to enjoy the strategic advancement that video games provide. Their Intuitive and Prospecting traits make exploring (and building, and conquering) new worlds a natural draw for Logicians.
A majority of Diplomat personalities (63%) also agreed that they find video games enjoyable. Diplomats may find themselves drawn to social games, either online role-playing games like World of Warcraft, or more traditional games that have found new life on smartphones, like Words with Friends. Of course, even solitary games offer worlds, scenarios, and characters to inspire the imaginative, curious Intuitive side of Diplomats.
(If you are interested in learning more about what games attract different personality types, check out our extensive study of gaming preferences here.)
Explorers offered a divided response to the question, with 55% agreeing that they enjoy video games. Although it may thrill Explorers to work their way through the virtual challenges that video games provide, their practical side may struggle with the lack of tangible rewards. However, video gaming competitions that offer cash prizes or other incentives for participation may lead Explorer personalities to hone their skills in order to emerge triumphant.
Sentinels were the only Role group with a minority of respondents who admitted a fondness for video games (43%). As personality types that tend to value hard work and practical forms of cooperation, Sentinels may view video games as frivolous wastes of time. Even those Sentinels who do enjoy video games likely play in moderation; late-night gaming binges could cut into their productivity the next day.
Consuls (ESFJ) showed the least interest in video games, with only 35% agreeing. As Extraverted, Feeling personalities, Consuls may find the solitary nature of video games isolating and downright unpleasant. Their Observant nature likely leads Consuls to conclude that their time would be better spent caring for others and improving things in the real world, rather than ruling over a virtual world.
Constant Improvement and Confident Individualism (65% and 62% agreeing)
The two Introverted strategies, Constant Improvement and Confident Individualism, nearly matched each other in their preference for video games (with 65% and 62% agreeing, respectively). Although video games are not exclusively solo endeavors, even multiplayer video games tend to create distance between players. Whether they’re playing with someone on the other side of the world or the other side of the room, video games may provide a helpful buffer for Introverted personality types when engaging with others. And for some Introverts, video games are a way to recharge after school, work, or other group activities, in the same way that a good book or a favorite TV show offers a kind of solitary retreat.
People Mastery and Social Engagement (52% and 51%)
The Extraverted strategies, People Mastery and Social Engagement, were evenly split in their responses on the issue of video games (with 52% and 51% agreeing, respectively). Extraverts may prefer games with more face-to-face interaction, like billiards, basketball, or bridge. But video games have become so widespread that even socially engaged personality types may find virtual soccer as compelling as a game played in real life.
Video games can be difficult to generalize: spanning everything from athletic arcade demonstrations of Dance Dance Revolution to the predictable, portable distractions of Candy Crush Saga, video games can be intensely solitary or massively social, cerebral or mindless, methodical or twitch-based, and any combination of the above.
Some games may draw in certain personalities. If our results are any indication, an important distinction comes from a simple choice: to play, or not to play.
Do you enjoy video games? Why (or why not)? Let’s talk about it in the comments!