Gamers’ Motivations and Problematic Gaming: An Exploratory Study of Gamers in World of Warcraft

Gamers’ Motivations and Problematic Gaming: An Exploratory Study of Gamers in World of Warcraft

Nikole Wing Ka Kwok (Institute of Mental Health, Singapore) and Angeline Khoo (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1858-9.ch005
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This study explores the factors that contribute to problematic gaming among players of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMOs for short), in particular, the game World of Warcraft. It examines motivations based on the Self Determination Theory (SDT) and motivations based on Yee’s player orientations. A total of 128 gamers participated in the online survey. Results showed that achievement and immersion player orientations are correlated with extrinsic motivation in terms of external, introjected and identified regulations, as well as intrinsic motivation. Social orientation is only correlated with identified regulation and intrinsic motivation. Problematic gaming is also correlated with all types of extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation, as well as with achievement and immersion player orientations but not with social player orientation. Achievement orientation and introjected regulation both positively predicted problematic gaming, while identified regulation negatively predicted it.
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Video games have surpassed movies as the fastest growing form of human recreation (Yi, 2004) and are the world’s largest entertainment medium. With the availability of personal computers and the introduction of the internet in our homes, computer games have become easily accessible. This new form of entertainment is quickly growing into an important form of youth culture, one that is readily available at an affordable price to the general public. As computer technology advances, games have evolved from pixilated 2D to that of realistic 3D human-like figures in landscapes that simulate the real world. With higher quality graphics, increased gaming speed, complexity and opportunities for peer to peer interaction, computer games are now much more lifelike, entertaining and as well as captivating, thus encouraging more gamers to spend a lot of time on this activity.

In January 2009, Singapore’s household broadband penetration rate reached 102%, as reported by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (Infocomm Development Authority, 2009). Correspondingly, concerns about excessive and problematic gaming are also increasing. There are empirical studies that children and adolescents who play video games excessively, especially Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing games (MMOs) can suffer from dysfunctional symptoms related to problematic gaming (Griffiths, 2000; Tejeiro Salguero, & Bersabé Morán, 2002). These problematic symptoms include preoccupation with playing the game for extensive hours each day, low tolerance of anything that obstructs their gaming time, loss of control, withdrawal symptoms when not able to play the game, and disruptions in schooling, family, and other social relationships (Griffiths & Dancaster, 1995; Griffiths & Hunt, 1998; Johansson & Gotestam, 2004). While there are many media reports and anecdotal records on the negative effects related to excessive online gaming in Singapore, the motivation of gamers and how this relates to problematic symptoms have not been fully explored.

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