Investigators at the University of Rochester and Immersyve Inc., a player-experience research firm, found that for many people, gore actually detracts from a game's "fun factor," decreasing players' interest and desire to purchase a game.
When designing the next generation of video games, developers should remember: blood does not help the bottom line, the study said.
"Violent content was only preferred by a small subgroup of people that generally report being more aggressive," lead author Andrew Przybylski, a graduate student at the University of Rochester said in a statement.
However, even these aggressive players did not report increased pleasure when playing more gruesome games, Przybylski added.
Through two online surveys and four experimental studies, the researchers showed that people stayed glued to games mainly for the feelings of challenge and autonomy they experience while playing. Both seasoned video gamers and novices preferred games in which they could conquer obstacles, feel effective, and have lots of choices about their strategies and actions.
The findings are published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.