In the Gamer Motivation Profile, we asked gamers to list their favorite genres and games in open-ended text fields (up to 3 of each). With data from over 100,000 gamers, we are able to identify the most frequently mentioned games for each gaming motivation.

Our Approach

It is difficult to do fuzzy string matching on such a large possibility space of game titles (with acronyms, abbreviations, series numbering, variations, and misspellings). We used a more simplistic approach as an initial pass and leveraged the sheer scale of the sample.

For each of the 12 game motivations, we took the gamers in the top 20th percentile and pooled the games they listed. We then extracted the top 80 games mentioned. To remove the confound of generally popular games (e.g., World of Warcraft and GTA), we normalized the local frequency by the base rate frequency. We then resorted these 80 games according to this weighted popularity.

We then started from the top of each list and looked for variations of the game title in the remainder of the list (e.g., Civ 5 = Civ V = Civilization 5). This also included specific games from a game franchise (e.g., Mass Effect 2 -> Mass Effect Series). We grouped together games and game franchises until 10 distinct sets were identified.

The Achievement Group

Power (Making Progress & Becoming Powerful)
World of Warcraft, Diablo 2/3, DoTA Series/2, Runescape, Destiny, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Counter Strike, God of War, Resident Evil

Completion (Collect, Complete, & Finish)
Final Fantasy Series/IX, Assassin’s Creed Series, Legend of Zelda Series, God of War, Animal Crossing, Elder Scrolls Series, Destiny, Pokemon, Guild Wars 2, Fire Emblem

The Action Group

Excitement (Fast-Paced & Intense)
Super Smash Bros. Melee, Battlefield Series/3/4, Counter Strike, Call of Duty, God of War, Destiny, Kingdom Hearts 2, Resident Evil, League of Legends

Destruction (Blowing Things Up)
GTA Series/V, Battlefield Series/3/4, Destiny, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Halo, Borderlands Series/2, Doom, God of War, Counter Strike

The Creativity Group

Design (Expression & Customization)
The Sims Series, City of Heroes, Animal Crossing, Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Dragon Age Series/Origins, Mass Effect Series, Monster Hunter, Pokemon, Elder Scrolls Series/Oblivion/Skyrim

Discovery (Experiment, Explore, Tinker)
Elder Scrolls Series/Oblivion/ Morrowind/Skyrim, Fallout Series/3/New Vegas, Fable, Legend of Zelda Series/Ocarina of Time, GTA Series/V, Minecraft, Earthbound, Kerbal Space Program, Metal Gear Solid 3, Metroid Prime

The Immersion Group

Story (Plot, Narrative, Characters)
Dragon Age Series/Origins, Mass Effect Series/2/3, Persona 3/4, Tales of Symphonia, Xenogeras, Final Fantasy VIII/IX/X, Knights of the Old Republic, Fire Emblem, Kingdom Hearts Series/2, Planescape Torment

Fantasy (Being Someone/Somewhere Else)
Dragon Age Series/Inquisition/Origins, Elder Scrolls Series/Morrowind, Dishonored, Mass Effect Series/2/3, Skyrim, Fable, Fallout New Vegas, Knights of the Old Republic, Journey, Legend of Zelda

The Social Group

Community (Teaming Up & Social Interaction)
Final Fantasy XIV, Battlefield Series/4, Destiny, Guild Wars Series/2, EverQuest, League of Legends, Monster Hunter, World of Warcraft, Counter Strike, DoTA Series/2

Competition (Duels, Matches, Leaderboards)
Counter Strike Series/GO, Super Smash Bros. Melee, DoTA Series/2, League of Legends, Street Fighter, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft 2, Call of Duty, Battlefield Series/3/4, FIFA

The Mastery Group

Strategy (Thinking & Planning)
Europa Universalis 4, Crusader Kings 2, Civilization Series/5, EVE Online, XCOM, Starcaft Series/2, Fire Emblem, Age of Empires, Warcraft 3, Kerbal Space Program

Challenge (Practice & Take On Challenges)
Super Smash Bros. Melee, Devil May Cry 3, World of Warcraft, Dark Souls, Counter Strike, Street Fighter, Monster Hunter, DoTA Series/2, Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3

Next Steps

We’ve added these lists of popular games as toggled information boxes in the Gamer Motivation Profile. We’re also hoping to refine this analysis over time with more precise name matching.