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How Valve Uses Gamer Psychology To Manipulate Your Behavior

Considering how popular and widespread Valve’s influence is nowadays, what with Steam, Counter Strike, and Team Fortress, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they know how gamers think. However, the company’s internal psychologist has revealed how the company manipulates gamer psychology in order to manipulate gamers as they play.

For instance, when it comes to load times. When Counter Strike: Global Offensive came out, Valve told players to expect fairly long load times. So, when the loading games started ahead of schedule, gamers actually felt rewarded. Sort of like a car ride that you think will take longer than it actually does.

Other games, like DOTA 2, actually lock certain heroes during the game’s tutorial, so that players won’t feel overwhelmed with specific MOBA mechanics before they get a hold of the basics.

Another thing that Valve uses is something that every player can sympathize with: terrible gamers that like to screech, scream, and insult other players during games. Gamer psychology is also a factor in “rehabilitating” them, by placing them in low priority matches with other people like them. Of course, it wouldn’t be so pleasant when you’re on the receiving end.

Another related area to low-priority gamers is actually that players will be more mindful of their own behavior as they hit the report button, especially when it comes to reports of a player’s poor sportsmanship getting rewards in exchange.

Something else that the psychologist brought up is the Dunning-Kruger effect. According to that effect, players will be suffering from “illusory superiority” if they’re terrible at a game, making them scream that they’re better at a game than they actually claim. This is likely what players that call you a hacker just because you’re good at the game are experiencing when they yell at you.

Some of the slides of this presentation are available to look at on Imgur, but in the meantime, you players should be mindful of your behavior; after all, you don’t want to be trapped in games with the kind of screaming idiots you mock online, do you?