How Does Environmental Perception Affect Players' In-game Behaviors?

Led by our Project Asocciate Partner, Prof. Ahmed Tlili and Prof. Ronghuai Huang (and additional co-authors), a journal article relating to a study on how environmental perception affects players’ in-game behaviours, was published in Entertainment Computing at Elsevier.

The objective of the paper was to find out how to design games that can emphasize environmental-friendly behaviors and to contribute in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Abstract of the paper is as follows:

Several research studies have pointed out that players’ in-game behaviors might be affected by different individual differences, such as player type, personality, etc. However, limited information is found about whether players’ environmental perceptions might impact their in-game behaviors towards the environment while playing.

To address this research gap, this study analyzes the in-game behaviors data of 640 players within Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH), as well as their environmental perceptions based on the revised New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scale, using open data sourced and adapted from Vuong et al. (2021) from the Science Data Bank repository.

The obtained results revealed that players’ environmental perceptions might impact their in-game behaviors, however this is not always true; the obtained results also revealed that players might behave within the game against their beliefs and perceptions just to level-up in the game. For instance, anti-anthropocentrism players, who are environment-caring, are found to harm the nature within the game.

The findings of this study can help to understand how people with different environmental perceptions might behave, hence promoting ecological behaviors. Additionally, they can also help to reveal how to design games that can emphasize environment-friendly behaviors, hence helping to achieve the sustainable development goals of the United Nations (UN).