A Model of Player Motivations
Bartle's Player Types are a well-known model of player motivations. In that paper, Bartle provides important insight into how players may differ from one another and he suggests a categorization of 4 Types (Socializer, Achievers, Killers and Explorers) based on two underlying axes. Recently, Bartle further developed this model into a model of 8 Player Types (see Designing Virtual Worlds by Bartle, 2004).
Bartle's theoretical model, while providing important insight, suffers from several limitations.
1) Proposed components of each Type may not be related. For example, Bartle proposes that role-playing and socialization both fall under the same Type, but they may not be highly-correlated.
In essence, it would be hard to use Bartle's model on a practical basis unless it was validated with and grounded in empirical data. For example, Bartle suggested that different Player Types influenced each other in certain ways. But unless we have a way of assessing and identifying players of different Types, theories built on top of Bartle's model are inherently unfalsifiable. While a "Bartle Test" (not made by Bartle) does exist, the dichotomous, forced-choice nature of that assessment tool merely perpetuates the assumptions of Bartle's Types rather than validating them. In this article, I present a methodology used to validate Bartle's model and how the results are similar and different from Bartle's proposed model.
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