A friend of mine is planning to create an educational video dealing with Game theory.

His teaching strategy is to introduce the subject via video games.

For example, he told me that the game "Fortnite" has, as drawback, to lead to some sort of " Nash Equilibrium" (in which gamers are induced to protect themselves around walls, and to adopt a " wait and see" attitude, any initiative having costs greater than possible gains).

I do not want to claim that my friend's claim is correct ( for I have absolutely no understanding , either of game theory or of video games).

My question is simply :

(1) could video games provide a good illustration of game theoretical concepts

(2) are there references on this possible link between the two fields?

  • $\begingroup$ I will say that IME mathematical game theory is not used in video games very much. I have both a math degree and a 5-year career in video games, and it never came up once in any of my workplaces, ever. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 7:01

1 Answer 1


The table of games detailed in the Wikipedia article List of games in game theory could be useful. One column shows the number of pure-strategy Nash equilibria for each game.

For example, The Battle of the Sexes has two such Nash equilibria, as well as a mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium. But, as the article says, "This presents an interesting case for game theory since each of the Nash equilibria is deficient in some way."

Another example, The diner's dilemma, has a single pure-strategy Nash equilibrium. It constitutes an $n$-player prisoner's dilemma: "the expensive meal is strictly dominant and thus the unique Nash equilibrium." Theory for this game has been compared to experiment.

So, the answer to

(1) could video games provide a good illustration of game theoretical concepts

is Yes, as long as you interpret "video game" as just a game with a graphics interface.

I can't respond knowledgeably your question (2) concerning references. I will just mention that game theory is definitely used in game design: Game Theory in Video Game Design.


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