Four serious game research presentations by Dr. Wei Peng

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.

Empirical studies have validated that basic needs satisfaction supported by video game play predicts motivation and engagement outcomes. However, few studies specifically manipulated game features for each of the three basic needs specified in the self-determination theory (SDT) to examine how the game features impact players’ need satisfaction and game experience. The current study employed an in-house developed exergame and manipulated the game features in a 2 (autonomy supportive game features: on vs. off) x 2 (competence supportive game features: on vs. off) experiment to predict need satisfaction, game enjoyment, motivation for future play, effort for gameplay, self-efficacy for exercise using the game, likelihood of game recommendation, and game rating. The manipulated game features led to the corresponding need satisfaction. Manipulated autonomy supportive and competence supportive game features had main effects on most motivation and engagement outcomes. Need satisfaction of autonomy and need satisfaction of competence were both found to be mediators for the relationships between the game features and the motivation and engagement outcomes. The findings add evidence to support the underlying mechanism postulated by SDT for media enjoyment and motivation as well as the emerging entertainment research conceptualizing enjoyment as need satisfaction. The findings also have practical implications for intervention effort that intends to capitalize the motivational pull of video games.

3. Peng, W., & Hsieh, G. (2012, May). The influence of competition, cooperation, and player relationship on performance, motivation, and goal commitment in game play. Paper to be presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Phoenix, AZ.

We conducted an experiment to study the effects of goal structure in multiplayer gaming (competition vs. cooperation) and relationship type between players (positive pre-existing relationship [friends] vs. no pre-existing relationship [strangers]) on player motivation (as indicated by perceived effort put into the task), goal commitment, and performance in playing a balloon popping game. The cooperative goal structure was found to lead to greater effort put into the game than the competitive goal structure. In addition, playing with friends resulted in a stronger commitment to the in-game goals than playing with strangers in the cooperative goal structure context, yet no difference was found between playing with friends and playing with strangers with regard to goal commitment in the competitive goal structure context. A moderated mediation relationship was found among the variables. Theoretical contributions to the current literature on goal structure and motivation, practical implications for exergame design, and directions for future research are discussed.

4. Crouse, J., & Peng, W. (2012, May). The effects of competition and relationships on hostility and prosocial behaviors in video game play. Paper to be presented at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Phoenix, AZ.

Cooperation and competition have started to emerge as potential variables that may supersede violence as the main cause for aggression in post-video game play. However, few studies have examined how the relationship between video game players affects aggression and prosocial behaviors. In this study, we considered how game mode – competitive or cooperative – and relationship between players – friend or stranger – affects aggression and prosocial behaviors. Using experimental data, we found that cooperative play not only increased prosocial behaviors, but also that the relationship between game players affected hostility post game play. These findings indicated that cooperative game play attenuated aggression. Additionally, the relationship between players significantly interacted with the game play mode such that collaborating friends produced increased hostility and decreased prosocial behaviors, as moderated by who won the game.

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