How Psychology has Influenced the Horror Gaming Genre

Horror games, even outside of Halloween, are very popular. There’s little competition for brands who want to break into this genre too. When you think about popular gaming content, platform-based streaming staples come to mind. Brands that can tap into the horror market, can capitalize on a huge amount of potential, but that raises the question, why does horror work so well when it comes to gaming content?

A Valuable Part of the Gaming Ecosystem

Horror gives people the chance to experience everything from dystopian worlds to simple killer-on-the-loose scenarios, but it’s not all console-based. Now there are a huge amount of horror-themed games available on PC, including huge open-world RPGs and simpler alternatives, such as spooktacular slots on sites such as BonusFinder Canada. VR horror games are also on the rise, which provides an immersive and spine-tingling experience to whoever dares put on the headset.

Horror as a Platform for Psychological Marketing

The one edge that horror content has is with marketing. Campaigns that use “if you dare” and that entice people by saying “Are you brave enough to attempt this game” play on the psychological construction of the human psyche. People are often drawn to things that help them to explore fear, or the downright bizarre, in a safe format. Marketers are also continually looking for ways to give people a scare so that this generates an adrenaline-fuelled fear response.

The paradox of horror comes down to the fact that being scared, under the right circumstances, can be fun. This encourages people to delve deeper into the game, even if it might scare them, which from a marketing perspective, is a goldmine. People who get scared playing horror games, often recommend them to their friends, and so forth which makes it easy for companies to make sales within this niche.

Psychology and The Power of Storytelling

Horror is more than just jump scares though. A lot of it comes down to storytelling. There tend to be a few cliche stories in horror games. First of all, you have the searching story. Players will spend the majority of the game searching for a missing person. You also have slashers, where you’re on the run from a menacing threat who is trying to end your life. In every instance, horrors can be predictable. What makes them enjoyable, however, is the story behind them. The story is what makes the game engrossing. You can bet your bottom dollar that the killer is probably going to die at the end, but even though you can guess the ending, there’s still appeal in the horror genre.

By embracing the psychological rollercoaster that comes with a good story and by using marketing as a way to trigger a pull for fans of the genre, it’s safe to say that horror is unlike any other gaming niche out there. The potential for new games is huge too, as some of them are now utilizing AI and 3D spatial audio as a way to enhance the experience while still giving people the fright of a lifetime.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!