The Guardian reports about a patent filing by Google that shows how the company could start to use analysis of gaming behaviour to draw up a database of psychological profiles. Google has commented that the patent is one in a number of recent patent filings and the company has no plans to actually roll out this technology.
The patent says: “[T]he system may collect information about a user’s game-play behavior. Examples of information that could be useful, particularly in massive multiplayer online RPG’ s, may be the specific dialogue entered by the users while chatting or interacting with other players/characters within the game. For example, the dialogue could indicate that the player is aggressive, profane, polite, literate, illiterate, influenced by current culture or subculture, etc. Also decisions made by the players may provide more information such as whether the player is a risk taker, risk averse, aggressive, passive, intelligent, follower, leader, etc.”
These characterisations can then be used to provide advertisments more “relevant to the user”.
I went to look for the patent, but didn’t find it yet. I did run into a patent application from another company for the ‘invention’ of the use of personality types for search engines: “What is therefore needed are methods and apparatus that enable internet searches to be performed with consideration of the personality type and/or qualities of the user who is performing the search when ordering and presenting search results for that user. Unfortunately automated search engines such as Google and Yahoo of the prior art do not currently account for the personality of the searcher.” US patent application 20070106663
Today I found the patent (I got it e-mailed by Theo RÃ¶hle ). It describes how advertisent would be targeted to certain ‘types’ of users:Â “As yet another example, in some systems, an advertiser might specify that its ad is to be served only to a certain type of user, or a user having certain attributes.”
“The game information may be different for different users. Consider, for example, a virtual racing video game used by three (3) users – A, B, and C. Suppose that user A selects an outdoor, dirt, 4×4 course, selects a yellow H2 Hummer, selects a male driver, and drives aggressively during the race. Suppose, that user B selects a city race, selects a tuned Toyota Supra in multi-color with a pink base, selects a female driver, and drives in a neutral manner during the race. Finally, suppose that user C selects a World Cup Race track in Madrid Spain, selects an Audi R8R in multi-color, selects a male driver, and drives in a strategic manner during the race.  Given the assumptions in the foregoing example, suppose that Dodge wants to place an advertisement. It may have various alternative ads with different serving constraints or targeting criteria. Suppose further that it has a variable color, with a default value. Thus, the system may show a “Dodge RAM-Tough Truck” ad creative with a yellow truck to user A, a “Dodge Neon Sport” ad creative with a pink car to user B, and a “Dodge Viper” ad creative with a Dodge Viper in a default color to user C. Suppose that a ticket broker wants to advertise tickets for various events. Three ads for three events, each having different serving constraints or targeting criteria, may be ~ tickets for an NFL football game, tickets for a Gwen Steffani concert, and tickets for the US Open Golf Tournament. Thus, the system may show the ad creative for the NFL football game tickets to user A, the ad creative for the Gwen Steffani concert tickets to user B, and the ad creative for tickets for the US Open Golf Tournament to user C.”
It sounds to profitable not to happen.