Gender Differences in Perception of Gamification Elements on Social Live Streaming Services

Gender Differences in Perception of Gamification Elements on Social Live Streaming Services

Katrin Scheibe (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany) and Franziska Zimmer (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICST.2019070101
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Gamification is seen as an important factor for people to use different services, this also applies to social live streaming services (SLSSs). In China, there are around 200 SLSSs available, and the most successful of them apply a wide range of gamification elements. The general SLSS YouNow, which is mostly used by the younger generation, is a SLSS with the most applied gamification elements outside of China. However, it remains unclear if and to what extend gamification elements motivate female and male streamers differently. We empirically investigate this question by applying a survey with 94 streamers (female N = 48; male N = 46). The results indicate that YouNow is seen favorable by the streamers, but female streamers have a more positive view of it. Furthermore, male and female streamers are inclined to spend real money to further their motives. Overall, female streamers are more motivated by gamification elements than male streamers. Female streamers prefer Levels, the Progress Bar, Badges; male streamers favor Coins, Gifts, and Levels.
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More and more Social Live Streaming Services (SLSSs) are appearing on the world wide web. Only in China they already have a number of over 200 live streaming platforms (Lu, Xia, Heo, & Wigor, 2018). Even Instagram and Facebook added the function of streaming live to their systems. SLSSs are a synchronous type of social media where users are able to stream their own live program and share information in their stream. Other users are able to communicate with the streamer via chat messages or reward the broadcaster by sending virtual gifts (Zimmer, Scheibe, & Stock, 2018). It is a combination of live-tv and social networking service (SNS), where everything happens in real-time. It can be differentiated between general SLSSs, like Periscope, Nico Video, or YouNow, which do not have a thematic limitation, and topic-specific SLSSs, like the well-known e-sports and gaming-based service Twitch, respectively Picarto for art-related content (Scheibe, Fietkiewicz, & Stock, 2016).

Many SLSSs offer a variety of gamification elements on their system (Scheibe & Zimmer, 2019). Gamification is used on different kinds of online systems and mobile applications. It is known and defined as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts” (Deterding, Nacke, & Dixon, 2011, p. 1), like badges or leaderboards, and should also accomplish behavioral and engaging results (Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014). Another definition, that also addresses the motivational outcomes for users by applying gamification to a system from Seaborn and Fels (2015, p. 14) says that gamification “is used to describe those features of an interactive system that aim to motivate and engage end-users through the use of game design elements and mechanics.” Concluding, gamification is used to design systems to motivate its users and to achieve repetitive (information) system usage (Deterding, 2012).

One of the most important points in studying human needs and (user) motivation is the Self-Determination Theory by Ryan and Deci (2000a). They describe motivation as “what ‘moves’ people to action” (Ryan & Deci, 2017, p. 13) by internal and external factors. Therefore, one can distinguish between internal and external motivation, as well (Ryan & Deci, 2000b). The so-called intrinsic motivation “involves people freely engaging in activities that they find interesting, that provide novelty and optimal challenge” (Deci & Ryan, 2000, p. 235). And the extrinsic motivation “refers to doing something because it leads to separable outcome” (Ryan & Deci, 2000b, p. 54). Game design elements are intrinsically motivating users of a service (Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014). Users will rather recommend a social networking service, like Facebook or LinkedIn, to others if it is gamified, also, their intention to use the service increases (Hamari & Koivisto, 2013).

Gender studies have always been an important field in research, due to gender roles, distinct expectations by society, defined stereotypes for genders, and related behavioral differences (Diamond, 2002). Even in early stages of development children learn to play with gender related toys (Cherney et al., 2003). Furthermore, gender-dependent differences have been observed in internet and social media usage. Men use it for games and entertainment purpose, while women use it for communication and connecting purpose (Joiner et al., 2005). Research on general gender differences in gamification show that women are likely to perceive gamification more positive than men (Koivisto & Hamari, 2014).

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