Empires of Fortune: A Virtual Laboratory for Investigation of Collective Behavior and Inter-Group Conflict

Period of Performance: 09/25/2012 - 03/23/2013


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Intelligent Automation, Inc.
15400 Calhoun Dr, Suite 190
Rockville, MD 20855
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Cornell University
426 Phillips Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Institution POC


Developing advanced technologies for an online experimental laboratory has attracted widespread interest across the behavioral sciences for over a half-century, progress has been limited by the difficulty investigating the behavior of large groups and large numbers of groups, due to the practical limits on the number of participants that can be brought into a physical laboratory. We propose to develop a novel multiplayer online social game which involves political, economic, and military cooperation and competition among players at both the individual and group level. EOF is designed as a platform for multi-level research on inter-group conflict using controlled experiments. EOF addresses both theoretical and empirical limitations. On the theoretical side, we have designed the game to include key manipulations for both incentive-theoretic and identity-theoretic models. On the empirical side, the game is designed to be playable and scalable for any number of players, from two to two million.