Gendered Experiences of Mobile Gaming and Augmented Reality: Engagement with Pokémon Go among University Students

Gendered Experiences of Mobile Gaming and Augmented Reality: Engagement with Pokémon Go among University Students

William Goette, Julie A. Delello, Rochell R. McWhorter
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJVAR.2019070105
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Gender differences in video gaming have been observed in gaming motivations, behaviors, and perceptions. Unlike traditional video games, Pokémon Go is a mobile, augmented reality game accessible on a smartphone, so it remains unclear whether previous findings about gender differences apply to this game. This study used a mixed-methods approach to explore the playing habits and experiences of 452 college students. Differences in social media usage, domains and frequency in which the game interfered with, and activities during which the game was played were observed between genders. While students perceived similar risks associated with Pokémon Go, men were less likely to report bonding with others as a personal benefit of the game. Further study of mobile gaming experiences between genders is needed, particularly in relation to social and immersive motivations to play the game.
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A number of studies have explicated empirically derived factors affecting individuals’ motivation to play video games. Yee (2006), for example, factor analyzed data from players of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and found five user motivations: Achievement (desire to reach certain levels or goals in the game), relationship (desire to interact with other players), immersion (enjoyment derived from being “someone else” in the game), escapism (the degree to which the game is used to avoid actual stressors or problems), and manipulation (enjoyment derived from deceiving or dominating other players). Some of these factors appear unique to players of MMORPGs. For example, Dalisay, Kushin, Yamamoto, Liu, and Skalski (2015) utilized a principal components analysis of responses from players who reported playing any video game, not just MMORPGs, and found evidence of only four components: Social, achievement, immersion: discovery/role-play/customization, and immersion: escapism. More recently, Kaczmarek, Misiak, Behnke, Dziekah, and Guzik (2017) identified just three empirically defined motivational factors: Social, achievement, and immersion.

Westwood and Griffiths (2010) approached these questions differently by identifying types of gamers rather than types of motivations. Using a Q-methodology to analyze the game characteristics that appeal to video game players, Westwood and Griffiths (2010) identified six types of gamers, and more notably, these gamer types were not all motivated by socialization, immersion, or achievement. For example, “story-driven solo gamers” were driven by story, graphics, and sound in a game (immersion components) but not social comparison or competition (social and achievement components) in contrast to “hardcore online gamers” who were found to be motivated by social interaction and competition (Westwood & Griffiths, 2010).

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