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Microsoft Releases ‘Project Waterloo’

The Microsoft Research Games team released its first game on Facebook, Project Waterloo,’ which tests game theoretic behavior in social networking.

gametheory

In a turn-based two player game, each of the players gets troops and five battlefields to conquer. In order to win, they must strategically anticipate the moves of the other player in deciding in which battlefields to place their troops. This is, in effect, resource allocation. Whoever places more troops in a given location effectively “wins” that battlefield.

The company seeks to analyze the behavior in games within distinct social networks. The game itself explores game theory, essentially setting up five distinct “matching pennies” games simultaneously. This zero-sum game, as many direct conflict games, is an “all-or-nothing” concept. One player gets the win while the other loses, totally their combined payoff to zero. In order to not become predictable, giving your opponent the advantage, one can consider mixed strategies while playing.

More interestingly, Microsoft was particularly interested in testing human behavior in game theoretic models within social networking. They’re investigating if people deviate from the classically explainable answers in game theory, and if so, why they choose to do so and in which way. Does friendship affect the game? Do those actions change when they play with strangers? This mock laboratory can gather essential information necessary to develop game theory to conform to the deviations that will occur.

http://blog.games.com/2011/09/26/microsoft-research-facebook-game-project-waterloo/

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