Gaming Motivations and its Relationship with Problematic Video Game Use
Video gaming is fast becoming a staple in our youths’ media diet. While playing video games has been known to facilitate learning, such as literacy skills and planning abilities, concerns about its excessive usage abound. Such unrestrained consumption has resulted in damage to familial relationships, academic performance, social and psychological functioning – analogous to effects of gaming addiction. In this study, we term this problematic video game use. Intervention strategies employed to help youths with problematic video game use have typically adopted gamer typologies (largely used by game designers in designing more appealing video games) to ascertain the youths’ motivation for playing video games. In this study, we have also employed such typologies and framed it as gaming motivations.
As such, this study explores the relationship between gaming motivations and problematic video game use. Through a literature review, this study hypothesised that (H1) all three motivational factors (i.e., Achievement, Social, and Immersion) are positively associated with pathological video gaming, and (H2) the Achievement factor will be the strongest predictor.
Persons aged 18 and above were invited to participate in an online survey which collected anonymous data. A survey link was sent publicly to participants in an online webinar that was conducted by the first author, and the participants were invited to pass the survey link along – snowball sampling. A total of 361 usable data was collected. Problematic Video Game Use (= .78) and Gaming Motivation (Social = .77; Immersion = .75; Achievement = .74) measures satisfied the reliability criteria. A hierarchical multivariate regression analysis was performed on the data collected.
Our findings showed partial support for H1 and no support for H2. The Social and Immersion factors significantly predicted pathological video gaming. This study explains that players high on Social motivation may feel strong social obligation to play video games with their close friends, especially if they are part of a team who has been playing for a long time. In turn, this will lead to increasing video gaming, and its associated gaming-related distress, thereby escalating the probability of developing pathological video game behaviour. Moreover, players high on Immersion motivation use video games to escape from real-life difficulties, a form of maladaptive coping mechanism, increasing the likelihood of developing pathological video game behaviour. Players high on Achievement motivation was not a predictor of pathological video gaming. This may be due to the sense of achievement being satisfied in other aspects of one’s lives or seeking out achievement in other areas if they are unable to attain a sense of achievement in gaming. Therefore, Achievement motivation was not one of (or the most) significant predictor of pathological video gaming. Interestingly, the Immersion factor was the most significant predictor of pathological video gaming, and may be attributed to cultural factors.
This study was able to identify factors that influence pathological video game use and provided a nuanced understanding of Uses and Gratifications theory. The authors hope that such findings will inform the rehabilitative work among pathological video gamers.
Journal/Conference/Book titleInternational Association for Media and Communication Research – IAMCR Lyon 2023