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New Studies Illustrate How Gamers Get Good

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An online gamer.

New research using data from online video games finds that practice in moderation might help people improve their skills more efficiently.

Credit: News from Brown

A new study led by researchers at Brown University followed players of the computer games "Halo: Reach" and "StarCraft 2" to learn how they acquired and maintained their skill level.

The researchers examined data generated by seven months of Halo team matches and tracked how players' habits influence the pace of their skill acquisition.

An analysis of the data found that over the first 200 games, those who played four to eight matches every week gained the most skill with each match, followed by those who played eight to 16 matches. Overall, however, people who played the most matches per week (more than 64) had the greatest increase in skill over time.

With "StarCraft 2," the researchers studied hundreds of matches to see what elite players did differently from less-skilled players; they learned elite players used hotkeys, or custom key shortcuts, to save time. Skilled gamers also warmed up their reflexes before gameplay by scrolling rapidly through their hotkeys.

The results of both studies indicate skill acquisition derives from frequent but not excessive practice and unique, consistent rituals.

From News from Brown
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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