The majority of gamers choose to play the "good" path in games that offer moral choices.
Amanda Lange, a games critic in Pennsylvania, has put together a study of gamers and how they interact with games that offer moral choices. Among other revelations, her research has shown that when given the choice, most of us would rather ride in with the white knights of justice, than become evil-doers.
In Lange's study, over 1000 gamers were surveyed to see how the average player interacts with a game system that allows the player to choose a "good" or "evil" path through a game story. She claims that gamers are most interested in "exploring a character whose moral choices closely match to their own," and in most cases, that leads to them being the good guy.
However, her research did discover that those players who do a second playthrough are much more likely to choose "evil." She claims that players believe the "evil path" is held for a second, lower-priority playthrough after they've played the game "correctly."
As for the statistics, 39% of survey participants claimed to typically play a game only once, and of that 39%, 59% said they set out be a good guy right from the start. 39% said they played the game on a "choice-by-choice basis", and only 5% of single-playthrough gamers made a conscious decision to be evil.
For gamers who plan on two-playthroughs, 63% said that their first playthrough was the good one, 27% said they play on a choice-by-choice basis, and 9% choose evil. For the second playthrough, 49% said they would be evil, 35% said they would be neautral, and 16% said they would be good.
Furthermore, 80% of the two-playthrough gamers said they "always" or "usually" choose their "real" morality for their first playthrough.
Lange's study also asks questions about what role gender plays on morality, and how the morality systems of some games can be flawed right from the start. If you'd like to read the rest of her findings, you can check it out here.
Source: Amanda Lange