MSU M.I.S. PhD students Yu-Hao Lee and Donghee Yvette Wohn presented two meaningful-play-related talks at the recent ICA (International Communication Association) annual conference in Phoenix.
Does Culture Affect How We Play? Examining the Effect of Culture Orientations on Expected Outcomes and Usage Patterns of Social Network Games
Yu-Hao Lee, Donghee Yvette Wohn
Social network game (SNG) embedded in social network sites are one of the driving forces behind the expansion of digital gamer populations. Previous studies have observed difference in usage patterns between people in different ethnic groups and countries, suggesting that culture orientations may affect how people play and interact through social network games. This study included measures of vertical and horizontal individualism-collectivism to examine how people’s culture orientations affect usage patterns. The findings indicate that culture does not directly affect usage. Instead, culture orientations affect people’s motivations (expected outcomes) of playing social network games, which then result in different usage patterns.
Social Contributors and Consequences of Compulsive Game Play
Donghee yvette Wohn, Yu-Hao Lee
This study examines the relationship between social motivations, pro-social outcomes, and two different types of online game use—habitual and compulsive—in the context of simulation games on Facebook. Results showed that social motivations can be a double-edged sword: social motivations predicted compulsive use, but not habitual use, and also increased the likelihood of increased positive interpersonal relationships. Frequency of play, not time, was associated with compulsive use. The number of Facebook friends showed a U-shaped curvilinear relationship to compulsive use. Compulsive use was a positive predictor of pro-social outcomes, but this was mainly due to social motivations driving compulsive use.
GEL Lab researcher Dr. Robby Ratan and colleagues presented three game-related talks at the ICA conference last weekend!
Razing the Virtual Glass Ceiling: Gendered Economic Disparity in Two Massive Online Games
Rabindra A. Ratan Vili Lehdonvirta Tracy L. M. Kennedy Dmitri Williams
Research has consistently shown a gap between male and female income earners. Explanations have been found in social expectations and mechanisms relating to gender roles. In this paper, we investigate what happens to gendered economic disparity when those mechanisms are removed. We examine wealth creation within the virtual economies of two massively-multiplayer online games (MMOs)—environments where gender cues are malleable and meritocracy trumps identity—in the first study on economic disparity within multiple MMOs. Observed measures of player behavior indicate that player sex and character gender have a statistically significant relationship with virtual wealth, but in practice the effect is very small. While further research is needed on observed gender differences in play styles and motivations in virtual environments, the present results support an optimistic argument: as workplaces turn increasingly virtual, obfuscating physical gender cues and traditional allocation mechanisms, gendered economic disparity in society is likely reduced.
The Avatar Shadow Passenger: Physiological Effects of Self-Presence After Disconnection From the Avatar
Rabindra A. Ratan Christelle Williams Michael Dawson
GEL Lab researcher Dr. Wei Peng and colleagues are presenting four meaningful play-related talks at the ICA conference this weekend!
1. Peng, W., Lin, J-H., & Kim, G. (2012, May). The contribution of graphic and enactive realism to video game enjoyment and effort. Paper to be presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Phoenix, AZ.
Realism is an important factor contributing to game experiences. However, conceptualization and operationalization of realism in previous video game studies vary greatly, mostly centering on the dimensions of graphic realism and external realism. We argue that it is important to examine enactive realism, particularly for interactive and participatory media such as video games. Additionally, previous studies investigating the effect of realism in video games predominantly focus on the outcome of player aggression, overlooking positive outcomes such as enjoyment. To fill the gap in the existing literature, this study examines the contribution of two types of realism—graphic realism and enactive realism—to enjoyment and effort in an active video game playing context. It was found that enactive realism was a significant predictor for enjoyment and effort in playing Wii games. However, graphic realism was not found to be a significant predictor for enjoyment, perceived effort or actual effort. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
2. Peng, W., Lin, J-H., Pfeiffer, K. A., & Winn, B. (2012, May). Need satisfaction supportive game features as motivational determinants: An experimental study of a self-determination theory guided exergame. Paper to be presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Phoenix, AZ.
Note: Top Papers Award in the Game Studies SIG.
Serious games are games with purpose beyond just providing entertainment. Examples include, but are not limited to, games for learning, games for health, and games for policy and social change. Designing effective, engaging serious games requires theoretical understanding of learning, cognition, emotion, and play. Along with great game design, serious games need content and pedagogy expertise, design research, and impact research.
The Telecommunication, Information Studies, & Media department at Michigan State University offers an undergraduate specialization in game design and development, an MA degree with concentration in HCI and emphasis on games and meaningful play, and a 3 course graduate certificate in serious games that can be completed on campus or fully online.
The GEL Lab includes many faculty members expert in designing and researching meaningful play and serious games. Faculty and students in meaningful play and serious games share the thrill of feeling like we are helping to invent the future of games, and in the process making the world a better place.
Our motto is, CHANGE THE WORLD WITH US.
If you’re interested, we’d love to have you join us.