Research suggests: play with friends, win more Halo: Reach

You might remember Aaron and Winter's study of Halo: Reach players - they asked us and some other cool sites out there to help lure in some Halo players to assist with his research. Well they've done the work and have some findings to share and I think they are pretty cool!

The paper focuses on the "questions of whether playing with friends has an impact on your or your team's performance. It turns out that it does, even after we control for the overall skill level of the team, which is cool."

Here's a bit from the conclusion which proves beyond all doubt I am an awesome Halo player because I'm 34:

"Although the typical age of our respondents was close to 20 years old, the distribution shows a long tail, with a large number of players over 30. Age correlated with several aspects of game play: older players (24 or older; 29.7%) tend to exhibit somewhat less within group con´Čéict, exhibit greater pro-social tendencies (e.g., fewer betrayals), and are slightly more skilled (more kills per game). This latter point is counterintuitive given that younger players often have greater free time in which to invest in the game."

This touches a cord with me - I hate the douches, dickheads, and teenagers that ruin the gaming experience - and that's probably a sign of maturity. Haha!

I think the key take away from the research is the suggestion that teams can win matches if team mates actually know each other at some friendship based level - it seems obvious but now it's been concluded as being so:

"Both team and individual performance in Halo: Reach are improved by friendship variables and teams composed of friends, on average, win more games than teams composed of strangers. However, if overall skill correlates across friendship ties, then highly skilled groups of friends could tend to win often than groups of strangers because the skilled friends are more skilled than an average stranger"

It's probably because they don't run round betraying each other with blue stickies to the face....

This research could do with what I'm calling some 'stress testing' so Aaron is looking for more volunteers so if you're still playing Halo: Reach, check out this link and see if you can help  (I gotta admit I've dropped off multiplayer myself due to lots of campaign runs for CE, Gears and now ME3).

Here's the full findings of Friends FTW: Friendship and competition in Halo: Reach. Also check out Aaron's blog, Structure and Strangeness.

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