Putting the "Fun Factor" Into Gaming: The Influence of Social Contexts on Experiences of Playing Videogames

Kaye, Linda Katherine and Bryce, Jo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9144-2899 (2012) Putting the "Fun Factor" Into Gaming: The Influence of Social Contexts on Experiences of Playing Videogames. International Journal of Internet Science, 7 (1). pp. 23-37. ISSN 1662-5544

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The increasingly social nature of gaming suggests the importance of understanding its associated experiences and potential outcomes. This study examined the influence of social processes in gameplay and different gaming contexts on the experience of individual and group flow when engaged in the activity. It also examined the affective experiences associated with different types of social gaming. The research consisted of a series of focus groups with regular gamers. The results of the thematic analysis revealed the importance of social belonging, opportunities for social networking and the promotion of social integration for game enjoyment. However, social experiences could also facilitate feelings of frustration in gameplay as a result of poor social dynamics and competitiveness. The analysis furthermore suggested that group flow occurs in social gaming contexts, particularly in cooperative gameplay. A number of antecedents of this shared experience were identified (e.g., collective competence, collaboration, task-relevant skills). Taken together, the findings suggest social gaming contexts enhance the emotional experiences of gaming. The study demonstrates the importance of examining social gaming processes and experiences to further understand their potential influence on associated affective outcomes. Areas of further empirical research are discussed in reference to the study’s findings.

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