Children’s Motives to Start, Continue, and Stop Playing Video Games: Confronting Popular Theories with Real-World Observations
- 248 Downloads
Purpose of Review
The current study reviews popular theoretical perspectives that cover motives for video gaming and confronts them with findings from interviews with children.
Psychological and behavioral engagements with games have been explained using a number of theoretical approaches, which can be crudely categorized into three major groups: (1) active choice, such as Uses and Gratifications Theory; (2) social cognitive learning, such as Social Cognitive Theory; and (3) basic psychological needs, such a Self-Determination Theory.
Considerable overlap was found between theories and many theoretical aspects were confirmed in the interviews. However, the interviews reveal that current models insufficiently account for the dynamic nature of gaming over time (e.g., in-game asset ownership, notification systems, or in-game timers) and the crucial role of game-external context (e.g., parental regulation, weather conditions, game accessibility). Accounting for these dynamics in future work would help us to better understand and contribute to balanced, non-problematic video gaming behavior.
KeywordsVideo games Motivation Persistence Disengagement Player retention Responsible gaming Churn
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Dr. Antonius J. Van Rooij, Rowan Daneels, Sien Liu, Sarah Anrijs, and Dr. Jan Van Looy declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
Ethical approval was obtained for the interviews via the internal Ghent University ethical board.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
- 1.Hamari J, Koivisto J, Sarsa H. Does gamification work a literature review of empirical studies on gamification. Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii, USA, 6-9 Jan. 2014: 3025–3034. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6758978/.
- 12.•• De Grove F, Cauberghe V, Van Looy J. Development and validation of an instrument for measuring individual motives for playing digital games. Media Psychol. 2016;19:101–25. A broad, well-validated, and standardized implementation a multi-theory instrument that covers both behavior and various motivations for play CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 14.• Sherry JL, Lucas K, Greenberg BS, Lachlan K. Video game uses and gratifications as predictors of use and game preferences. In: Vorderer P, Bryant J, editors. Play. video games. Motives, responses, consequences. New York, NY: Routledge; 2006. p. 213–24. A clear implementation of the Uses and Gratifications paradigm in the area of video game research.Google Scholar
- 15.• Bartle R. Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: players who suit MUDs. J MUD Res. 1996;1:19. One of the first papers that searched for motivations in relation to online video games Google Scholar
- 16.• Yee N. Motivations for play in online games. Cyberpsychology. Behav Soc Netw. 2006;9:772–5. A refinement and more modern take on motivations, in modern MMORPG video games Google Scholar
- 23.Castellar EPN, Antons J-N, Marinazzo D, Van LJ. Being in the zone: using behavioral and EEG recordings for the indirect assessment of flow. PeerJ Prepr. 2016:1–30.Google Scholar
- 24.Csikszentmihalyi M. Flow and the foundations of positive psychology. The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 2014; doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-9088-8.
- 25.Billieux J, Van Der Linden M, Achab S, Khazaal Y, Paraskevopoulos L, Zullino D, et al. Why do you play World of Warcraft? An in-depth exploration of self-reported motivations to play online and in-game behaviours in the virtual world of Azeroth. Comput Human Behav. 2013;29:103–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 29.Williams D, Yee N, Caplan SE. Who plays, how much, and why? Debunking the stereotypical gamer profile. J Comput Commun. 2008;13:993–1018.Google Scholar
- 31.•• LaRose R, Eastin MS. A social cognitive theory of internet uses and gratifications: toward a new model of media attendance. J Broadcast Electron Media. 2004;48:358–77. Central study that introduces the concept of habit and expected outcomes in relationship to media behavior CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 36.Venkatesh V, Morris MG, Davis GB, Davis FD. User acceptance of information technology: toward a unified view. MIS Q. 2004;27:425–78.Google Scholar
- 39.• Ryan RM, Rigby CS, Przybylski A. The motivational pull of video games: a self-determination theory approach. Motiv Emot. 2006;30:347–63. An important paper describing the application and argumentation for applying the Self-Determination Theory to the subject of video games Google Scholar
- 43.Birk M V., Atkins C, Bowey JT, Mandryk RL. Fostering intrinsic motivation through avatar identification in digital games. In: Proc. 2016 CHI Conf. Hum. Factors Comput. Syst.—CHI ‘16. ACM Press, New York, New York, USA, 2016 pp 2982–2995.Google Scholar
- 44.Zaman B, Vanden Abeele V. Laddering with young children in user eXperience evaluations: theoretical groundings and a practical case. Qual Res. 2010:156–65.Google Scholar
- 46.Kardefelt-Winther D, Heeren A, Schimmenti A, Van Rooij AJ, Maurage P, Colder Carras M, et al. How can we conceptualize behavioural addiction without pathologizing common behaviours? Addiction. 2017; doi: 10.1111/add.13763.
- 49.Teng C-I. Strengthening loyalty of online gamers: goal gradient perspective. Int J Electron Commer. 2016;21:132–51.Google Scholar
- 50.Smith LJ, Gradisar M, King DL, Short M. Intrinsic and extrinsic predictors of video-gaming behaviour and adolescent bedtimes: the relationship between flow states, self-perceived risk-taking, device accessibility, parental regulation of media and bedtime. Sleep Med. 2017;30:64–70.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 52.King DL, Kaptsis D, Delfabbro PH, Gradisar M. Effectiveness of brief abstinence for modifying problematic internet gaming cognitions and behaviors. J Clin Psychol. 2017;0:1–13.Google Scholar