The Gamer Motivation Profile allows gamers to take a 5-minute survey to get a personalized report of their gaming motivations. Currently, we have data from over 140,000 gamers worldwide. In the survey, we also ask gamers to list their favorite game titles. This allows us to pivot between gamers and games–we can use the aggregated game audience profiles to compare games.

For example, is Civilization more strategically complex than SimCity? Well, we can compare their audience Strategy scores to find out. In this sense, the Gamer Motivation Profile isn’t just a benchmarking tool for gamers, it’s also a benchmarking tool for game titles.

The Gamer Motivation Profile isn’t just a benchmarking tool for gamers, it’s also a benchmarking tool for game titles.

Mapping Out the Strategy Genre

These audience scores allow us to explore game titles within a genre with incredible precision. Let’s take a closer look at the Strategy genre. First, we’ll pick 2 game franchises—Civilization and StarCraft. We can then use our data set to find the games most closely related to these two exemplars. This gives us a good mix of turn-based strategy, real-time strategy, management sims, and grand strategy games.

Game audience scores allow us to explore game titles within a genre with incredible precision.

Now, let’s plot all these games using just their Strategy and Excitement scores. In our Gamer Motivation Model, Strategy is the appeal of thinking, planning ahead, and making decisions; Excitement is the appeal of fast-paced action and gameplay that rewards rapid reactions. In the plot below, the games in the lower-right corner have high Strategy and low Excitement, while the games in the upper-left corner have low Strategy and high Excitement. And just to be clear, by “low”, I mean low relative to other games in the Strategy genre.

Strategy Games - Map

[Updated Explanation of Strategy & Excitement 01/24/2016]: Strategic complexity can come from different mechanics: having to decide which other players/AI to treat as allies or enemies and when to do so (vs. being assigned static allies and enemies), the variety of victory conditions and deciding which to pursue (vs. the same goal for all players), the variety of resources/factions that have to balanced and m