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Players Are Getting Less Interest in Deep Strategy Games, According to a Bombshell Report

It is disheartening to learn from a recent report that modern gaming audiences are losing interest in deep strategy games, such as the ones found in the Civilization or XCOM franchises. According to a study by Quantic Foundry, data gathered over the previous nine years using the researcher’s gamer motivation profile (GMP) tool reveals a significant shift in players’ preferences towards strategy games. It could be argued that our diminishing attention spans have hindered our ability to fully appreciate this once-esteemed genre.

Tracking a player’s GMP involves evaluating their preferences in different gaming categories, including destruction, competition, excitement, community, strategy, challenge, power, completion, fantasy, discovery, story, and design. These aspects play a crucial role in determining a player’s overall gaming experience. Since the study commenced in 2015, scores in each category have remained fairly consistent, except for strategy, which has experienced a significant and alarming decline.

According to Quantic Foundry’s findings, the genre of strategy games has experienced a significant decline over the past nine years. In fact, this decline is more than twice as large as any other genre’s change during the same period. It’s a disappointing reality that the study also revealed that “67% of gamers today prioritize strategic thinking and planning less than the average gamer did in June 2015.”

Gamers who excel in the Strategy category are drawn to games that demand meticulous decision-making and strategic planning. They thoroughly analyze their choices and consider the potential results. These decisions often involve carefully balancing resources and competing goals, navigating the complexities of foreign diplomacy, and strategically planning for long-term success. They have a strong appreciation for the strategic gameplay found in titles such as XCOM, Fire Emblem, Civilization, Cities: Skylines, and Europa Universalis. They derive great satisfaction from executing their well-thought-out strategies and witnessing the successful outcomes.

Quantic Foundry was unable to identify a definitive explanation for the trend, even when considering factors such as gender or location (except for China, where gamers have a distinct gaming motivation profile). One possible explanation that has been suggested is the growing influence of social media apps and platforms such as YouTube. These platforms tend to favor shorter video clips with fast-paced editing, as they are more likely to attract more views and engagement. In a rather grim fashion, the researcher proposes:

An alternative theory suggests that the rise of social media has led to a constant bombardment of negative content, divisive discussions, invasive advertisements, and manipulative emotional tactics, resulting in an overwhelming strain on our limited cognitive abilities. It seems that our constant exposure to social media has left us too fatigued to engage in profound contemplation. It’s evident that there has been a noticeable decline in gamers’ inclination towards strategic thinking in the last nine years… gamers nowadays tend to get overwhelmed more easily and tend to shy away from complex strategic elements in games.”


About Jacob Chambers

Old-school gamer with a cheeky tongue that gets me in trouble. When I'm not playing games, I'm writing about them, preferably in the vicinity of a fridge! Oh, and if you're a Justin Bieber fan, I'm afraid we can't be friends!

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