Development of the “Hybrid Interactive Rhetorical Engagement” (H.I.R.E.) Scale: Implications for Digital Gamification Research

Development of the “Hybrid Interactive Rhetorical Engagement” (H.I.R.E.) Scale: Implications for Digital Gamification Research

Yowei Kang (Kainan University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8651-9.ch004
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Digital game is an essential part of digital creative industries around the world. This chapter aims to develop H.I.R.E. scales that can be used to explain and understand users' responses to digital creative contents. Although multiple methodologies have been used to study gameplayers' experiences and interactions with different genres of digital games that lead to their gamifications, this chapter is based on a rhetorical theoretical tradition by arguing that gameplay interactions are a rhetorical process in which players interact with game designers as well as other players in the same guild through a series of persuasive manipulations. H.I.R.E. scales are developed to explain how gameplayers have different experiences when playing a digital game that contributes to their gamifications. Because digital game is an important branch of contemporary digital creative industry, the development of the H.I.R.E. scales will help researchers and practitioners to study and develop better digital games and other digital creative contents.
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A strong economic rationale supports the growing importance of digital games in society, warranting growing intellectual interests in this emerging topic. The apparent result of such economic and scholarly attention is also due to an exponential growth in the number of digital gamers and the fast expansion of the industry in the past few years. According to industry facts published by Entertainment Software Association (henceforth, ESA) (2014), consumers spent $21.53 billion on video games, accessories, and hardware. According to the marketing research firm, the NDP Group, the computer and video game industry generated $21 billion in sales (cited in the Entertainment Software Association, 2014). A recent ESA report also estimated that the computer and video game industry in the U.S. added $6.2 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared with $4.9 billion in 2011 (Entertainment Software Association, 2011; Siwek, 2014). The computer and video game industry has continued to contribute disproportionally to the overall U.S. economy and GDP in spite of recent economic recession (Entertainment Software Association, 2011, 2014). The total sales of the industry have grown from $10.1 billion in 2009 to $15.4 billion in 2013 (Siwek, 2014).

Exponential developments of the digital game industry have generated enthusiasm among scholars from diverse disciplines to explore this phenomenon (Raessens & Goldstein, 2005; Wolf & Perron, 2003). Social science scholars have often examined unanticipated media effects of digital gameplay; topics include violent and aggressive behaviors among players (Baldaro, Tuozzi, Codispotic, & Montebarocci, 2004; Chambers & Ascione, 1987), addiction to digital games (Chuang, 2006), gendered gameplay behavior (Hussain & Griffiths, 2008), adoption of new game technologies (Chang, Lee, & Kim, 2006), and methodological implications for studying digital games (Boellstorff, Nardi, Pearce, & Taylor, 2012). In the area of digital game rhetorical research where the book chapter was situated for the discussion of scale development, research topics included interactive narratives (Crogan, 2003; Frasca, 2003; Juul, 2005; Neitzel, 2005), identity (Filiciak, 2003; Turkle, 1984, 2001) and learning (Gee, 2004; Prensky, 2005). Wolf and Perron (2003) claimed that digital games have become “the hottest and most volatile field of study within new media theory” (p.1).

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