This technological evolution is growing exponentially to enormous levels is no secret. Likewise, the video game industry does, being more and more technical characteristics of these and the money they generate. Therefore, we are at the height of the video game industry and with that, facing a process of expansion that is unfolding at breakneck speed.
The generational technical leap is one of the most amazing factors in this sector, as today’s video games reach ever higher levels of graphic realism, which allows us to have a much more immersive and vivid experience. . Perhaps the most important milestone in video game history, however, is the timing of the consolidation of e-Sports, which has given the entire industry a big boost and allowed its growth to a point hard to imagine before.
One of the new avenues that have opened up in this industry is the entry of psychologists as active agents in the development of video games. We will try to shed light on this new area, Still in its infancy but looking to change the current paradigm.
Psychology and video games: a possible pair?
Psychology is concerned with the study of human behavior, its mental processes, sensations and perceptions. Since the main goal of video games is to bring enjoyable and fun experience to the audience, Why not apply psychology to them to improve their mission? And even more: since playing video games involves explicit mental activity, do they have consequences on our levels of cognitive functioning? To make this article more understandable, we’ll start by answering the second question and giving rise to the first.
Play, a way to improve certain cognitive skills
One of the main characteristics of video games is their visual nature to which is added a driving component of interaction with the video game, and various secondary elements such as music or dialogue. Due to its primary visual nature, spending time playing video games can improve the spatio-visual skills of players (Alloza, Costal & Jiménez, 2016), to the point of greatly improving this skill in those who engage in this activity. for many hours.
Thus, authors like Green and Bavelier have spent many years studying these phenomena and trying to analyze all the visual processes that are enhanced, as well as processes like attention (Alloza, Costal & Jiménez, 2016). At the level of care processes, we also see that there are substantial improvements in their basic performance and that this same improvement is reflected or generalized to other activities (Wilms et al., 2013). All of these implications for human functions could be broken down and analyzed in a much more specific and comprehensive manner, in addition to analyzing many others that also have implications; but that would lead us to write a much more complete and more scientific article.
From the previous paragraph it is concluded that video games produce major (mostly beneficial) changes in people’s cognitive functioning. In addition, they also improve motor skills and are increasingly used in the rehabilitation of patients who have suffered a stroke (a type of syndrome that involves a sudden suspension of brain activity, accompanied by a varying degree of paralysis. muscle) or for cognitive function in the elderly, even for the treatment of phobias. For these reasons, video games can prove to be excellent tools for the work of a psychologist, but this character’s involvement in the industry is not limited to these functions alone.
8 aspects of a video game where a psychologist has something to say
Psychology in video games can be used in many ways and the truth is that a psychologist can be of great help at any stage of their development or in any area within a video game business.
Some of the things a psychologist can provide are:
1. Emotions, sensations and experience related to the game
A psychologist could perform immersion quality analysis functions produced by a video game. Knowing the human mind and its behavior makes it possible to decipher what the context of the game should look like, as well as all the elements that compose it, to generate the desired emotions or sensations.
2. Context (music, design …)
Continuing with the previous point, a psychologist can conceive in addition to diagnosing whether an item is well designed or not. So, issues like lighting or music, for example, would be key factors in certain video games that a psychologist could design appropriately.
3. Mechanics and reward systems
He could also take the role of analyzing the mechanics of the game, providing his expert insight into the human psyche, to feed them with features that facilitate and bring more fun. Again, you can also take a more active role and design the mechanics that limit the game to be able to generate certain sensations in the players. Some examples are the basic positive reinforcement mechanisms (rewards) to keep the player playing and thus increase user retention. Or the social part of the video game, designing a competition or social interactions to increase player engagement and motivation, and that’s not the only way to do it.
4. Personality profile of the characters
In addition, also could easily design the personality profiles of the various characters that appear in video gamess. In some games there are pathological characters and who better than a psychologist to specifically design the patterns of behavior they should show.
5. Level design and progress
The psychologist also plays an important role in the creation and design of video game levels., Or how they should teach the progress that the player brings to it. Whether it’s Candy Crush levels, side missions in a classic RPG, or different circuits in a racing game, the figure of the psychologist can make his contribution, thus increasing the quality of the product and providing added value.
6. Economics: monetization
Even economically, an expert psychologist could play a very important role in the monetization of video games to be a great connoisseur of consumer profiles, and because of the innovations that are currently taking place in the way of monetizing them.
7. Psychologists in video game multinationals
Excluding product, the psychologist could also integrate quite well in a company dedicated to the development of video games. In fact, there are already professional psychologists actively working in many business departments today, and video game departments are no exception. Some of the examples are figures of the Community Manager, the Customer Experience Designer and even the human resources department.
8. Sports coaching
To finish, psychology could also be applied with professional competition teams participating in e-Sports in the form of sports coaching, In the same way that it is used with professional athletes to prepare their mental and mental state for certain competitions or vital events.
Much to discover, much to advance
However, the role of psychology in video games is still in its infancy, although large companies like Valve, Ubisoft O EA Games they already have psychologists on staff as designers. However, there is a lot of reluctance that our profession can contribute to the development of video games, which is certainly a lot.