Categories: GamingStartups

Can an Election Game Predict The American Election?

Campaign Story is a casual, election game from new studio 519 Games. In this campaign sim for Facebook, players decide to run as a Liberal, Conservative, or Moderate, and start hiring a staff and running a political campaign. Starting out by running for mayor, players win elections and earn money to be spent on staff, upgrades, strategy, and finally winning the whole country. As the game progresses, player-candidates are presented with choices along the campaign trail, deciding whether to run a clean campaign or pursue victory at all costs.

With election night rushing towards us, and endless news and editorials predicting the outcome, there are interesting real-world applications to Campaign Story’s player analytics. Seeing how casual gamers interact with this Facebook game revealings interesting stats about how players are running their campaigns. 519 Games created and shared this infographic.

While it’s not hard to look at election news coverage and find pundits pointing to tiny blips in the statistics to prove pet theories, some interesting stats are revealed.

First, in Campaign Story, Conservative player-candidates are outspending their Liberal counterparts by near three times as much. Really interesting observation, although it’s hard to know whether this means that these players are offline conservatives as well, or that players indulging in escapist, game-playing fantasy, tend towards the narrative of a well-funded, high-rolling conservative campaign. After all, a scrappy, always-broke, grassroots campaign isn’t necessarily the escapist narrative players are looking for in a workday break.

Campaign Story also notes that more of it’s players choice Liberal, over Conservative or Moderate. This is a pretty clear divide, but it’s still hard to say if that’s because more American voters support a liberal candidate, or more players do. Facebook gamers, as a rule, skew towards women, especially women with at least some college, and, as we see on the news every day, educated women tend toward liberal candidates.

519 Games is a new studio, focusing on games and sims with real-world applications, and we’ll see on November 6th if Campaign Story has given us any insight into the real-world election.

Meg Stivison

Meg Stivison is a game designer and tech journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. She blogs on videogames and life at Simpson's Paradox

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