The Role of Structural Characteristics in Problematic Video Game Play: An Empirical Study

  • Daniel L. King
  • Paul H. Delfabbro
  • Mark D. Griffiths


The research literature suggests that the structural characteristics of video games may play a considerable role in the initiation, development and maintenance of problematic video game playing. The present study investigated the role of structural characteristics in video game playing behaviour within a sample of 421 video game players aged between 14 and 57 years. Players were surveyed via an online questionnaire containing measures of video game playing behaviour, player interaction with structural characteristics of video games, and problematic involvement in video games. The results showed that the reward and punishment features, such as earning points, finding rare game items, and fast loading times, were rated among the most enjoyable and important aspects of video game playing. There was some evidence that certain structural characteristics were stronger predictors of problematic involvement in video games than factors such as gender, age, and time spent playing. This research supports the notion that some structural characteristics in video games may play a significant role in influencing problem playing behaviour. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.


Problem video game play Structural characteristics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel L. King
    • 1
  • Paul H. Delfabbro
    • 1
  • Mark D. Griffiths
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology DivisionNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

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