Motivations, experiences and outcomes of playing videogames

Kaye, Linda K (2012) Motivations, experiences and outcomes of playing videogames. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The current research examined gaming within a leisure context to examine the motivational and experiential value of the activity, to better understand the range of outcomes of playing videogames. Flow theory was used as a theoretical framework for examining positive gaming experiences, and how these were associated with gaming motivations, and potential positive psychological and affective outcomes. The research utilised a mixed-methodological approach with samples of gamers. These included focus groups, an experiment and online questionnaires. The findings showed that immersion and achievement-orientated gaming motivations predicted flow in gaming, and could also predict some dimensions of psychological well-being. Flow in gameplay interacted with increases in positive mood and activation. This suggests that the processes involved in gaming are influential to positive gaming outcomes. Specific game aspects were influential to the nature of gaming experiences, although these were largely dependent on game-type. The findings also showed that social gaming contexts were influential towards gaming experiences, and the associated affective outcomes. This suggests the dynamic nature of gaming experiences, and the importance of acknowledging the wider social contexts in which gaming occurs. Aspects of personality (i.e. trait aggression and competitiveness) influenced negative mood after gameplay, suggesting the importance of considering internal factors when examining gaming outcomes. Further, because gaming motivations, experiences and the associated effects were largely individual and game-specific, this highlights the need for future research to adopt more idiographic approaches. Based on the findings, the research presents a Process Model of Gameplay to examine the dynamic nature of gameplay processes for a range of outcomes. The current research highlights the effectiveness of considering gaming within the wider context of leisure, to identify gaming processes as a way of examining the influence of gaming motivations and experiences on positive outcomes of the activity.

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