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Modeling gameplay enjoyment through feature preferences, goal orientations, usage, and gender

Description

The gameplay experience can be understood as an interaction between player and game design characteristics. A greater understanding of these characteristics can be gained through empirical means. Subsequently, an enhanced knowledge of these characteristics should enable the creation of games

The gameplay experience can be understood as an interaction between player and game design characteristics. A greater understanding of these characteristics can be gained through empirical means. Subsequently, an enhanced knowledge of these characteristics should enable the creation of games that effectively generate desirable experiences for players. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between gameplay enjoyment and the individual characteristics of gaming goal orientations, game usage, and gender. A total of 301 participants were surveyed and the data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This led to an expanded Gameplay Enjoyment Model (GEM) with 41 game features, an overarching Enjoyment factor, and 9 specific components, including Challenge, Companionship, Discovery, Fantasy, Fidelity, Identity, Multiplayer, Recognition, and Strategy. Furthermore, the 3x2 educational goal orientation framework was successfully applied to a gaming context. The resulting 3x2 Gaming Goal Orientations (GGO) model consists of 18 statements that describe players' motivations for gaming, which are distributed across the six dimensions of Task-Approach, Task-Avoidance, Self-Approach, Self-Avoidance, Other-Approach, and Other-Avoidance. Lastly, players' individual characteristics were used to predict gameplay enjoyment, which resulted in the formation of the GEM-Individual Characteristics (GEM-IC) model. In GEM-IC, the six GGO dimensions were the strongest predictors. Meanwhile, game usage variables like multiplayer, genre, and platform preference, were minimal to moderate predictors. Although commonly appearing in games research, gender and game time commitment variables failed to predict enjoyment. The results of this study enable important work to be conducted involving game experiences and player characteristics. After several empirical iterations, GEM is considered suitable to employ as a research and design tool. In addition, GGO should be useful to researchers interested in how player motivations relate to gameplay experiences. Moreover, GEM-IC points to several variables that may prove useful in future research. Accordingly, it is posited that researchers will derive more meaningful insights on games and players by investigating detailed, context-specific characteristics as compared to general, demographic ones. Ultimately, it is believed that GEM, GGO, and GEM-IC will be useful tools for researchers and designers who seek to create effective gameplay experiences that meet the needs of players.

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Date Created
2013