Rules of Engagement: Influence of Co-Player Presence on Player Involvement in Digital Games

Rules of Engagement: Influence of Co-Player Presence on Player Involvement in Digital Games

B. J. Gajadhar (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands), Y. A.W. de Kort (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands) and W. A. IJsselsteijn (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2009070102
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This article presents an empirical study of social setting as a determinant of player involvement in competitive play. We conceptualize player experience as comprising of components of involvement and enjoyment. Involvement relates to the attentional pull of games encompassing feelings of immersion, engagement and flow. Enjoyment taps into the fun and frustration of playing. A few recent studies indicate that co-players boost player enjoyment, yet the effect on involvement is still largely unknown. In line with enjoyment, involvement could increase with the sociality of settings. On the other hand, the presence of others provides a potential distracter and threat to involvement in games. Results of an experiment where social setting was manipulated within groups indicated that players’ involvement remains constant or even increases when mediated or co-located co-play is compared to solitary play. Hence, co-players do not break the spell of a game, but become part of the magic circle.

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