During the recent Steam Dev Days showcase in Seattle, Valve’s internal PhD psychologist took to the stage and gave the audience some insight into how Valve use human behaviour data to improve their games.
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How do they manipulate you, you’re probably wondering. Well, in a variety of ways, actually, some of which they’ve tested briefly and some of which are ongoing.
For example, for a little while in CS:GO, Valve told players to expect longer estimated loading times, so when they joined a game well before that time it felt like a bonus. This one was only trailed, however.
Speaking about Dota 2, Valve explained how they lock certain heroes during the tutorial to allow for players to have a smooth learning experience, not to overwhelm them.
Players placed in low priority because of bad behaviour – which is around 8% of the playerbase – are generally “rehabilitated” after being lumped in with other toxic players, too.
The reporting of these players, with the new, rewards-based system, has also seen the community behave much better, with people thinking of their own behaviour before hitting the report button.
The psychologist also spoke at length of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is wherelow-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher, which basically sums up most online players in any videogame ever.