Development of Habitual Behaviour in Online Social Gaming: Understanding the Moderating Role of Network Externality

Development of Habitual Behaviour in Online Social Gaming: Understanding the Moderating Role of Network Externality

Nan Jiang (Taylor's University, Malaysia), Manmeet Kaur (Taylor's University, Malaysia), Mohd Muttaqin Bin Mohd Adnan (Taylor's University, Malaysia), Jason James Turner (Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation, Malaysia) and See Kwong Goh (Taylor's University, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2021010102
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Abstract

Game habit and game addiction are distinguished in terms of psychological motivation, meaning, and a player's experience of gaming. The majority of contemporary studies address either the challenges or difficulties of particular habit formation often in the context of disciplined force or negative consequences of game addiction. Game habit does not necessarily imply game addiction. The objective of this study is to investigate the key antecedents of game habit formation using a quantitative study with 341 respondents collected in West Malaysia and analysed via structural equation modeling. The results demonstrate that game habit formation is formed more naturally with automatic control mechanisms, influenced by play intensity, flow experience, and self-efficacy, and the effect of play intensity towards game habit is interacted by network externality.
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Literature Review

Habit is a goal-directed behaviour formed when conducting the same behaviour frequently and consistently in a similar context for the same purposes (Ouellette & Wood, 1998; Carden & Wood, 2018). Consequently, the conscious efforts to plan and initiate goal-directed behavior become redundant (Danner et al; 2008). A significant contribution in the field of habits and attitude-behavior models was made by Bentley & Speckart (1979) who investigated the students’ consumption of alcohol and marijuana and concluded that habitual behavior can be instigated without the mediation of intentions, such as deliberation or thought. This work has been replicated across a range of areas, including mass communication (Chiu & Huang, 2015), psychology (Gardner & Rebar, 2019), online gambling (Salonen et al; 2018), physical fitness (Kaushal et al; 2017), media consumption (LaRose, 2017), impulsive buying (Iram & Chacharkar, 2017), and junk food consumption (Hemmingsson, 2018). Similarly, this concept could be applied to social gaming where gamer’s continuous interest and enjoyable interaction may encourage excessive playing, then could develop habitual behaviour or even become addictive (Lee et al; 2019). Although game habit and addiction are used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two concepts: ‘…healthy excessive enthusiasms add to a person’s life whereas addiction takes away from it…’ (Griffiths 2018, p.19). The majority of previous studies on game addiction adopt existing measurement scales from other fields: gambling addiction or exercise addiction (Ng & Wiemer-Hastings, 2005; Smahel et al; 2008; Hussain & Griffiths, 2009) and claim the addictive behaviour based on self-report accounts of excessive use of the internet, such as up to 80 hours per week (Chappell et al; 2006). Although most addictive behaviour shares certain similar characteristics, such as salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict and relapse, the way of determining a non-chemical addiction (i.e. social game addiction) is debated in much of the literature. Arguably, the only way to confirm or to disconfirm addictive behaviour is to compare the observed or scaled behaviour against clinical criteria. However, most previous research has failed to do so, perpetuating the skepticism around whether a gamer is really addicted or just an excessive player (Griffiths, 2018). The reality of game addition remains ambiguous in most studies.

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