Understanding the role of competition in video gameplay satisfaction
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Considerable amount of time is spent playing video games in today’s society. There are various elements in video games that make them entertaining and satisfying, which can be leveraged to provide engaging and satisfying experiences in educational and workplace contexts. One of the key elements in many video games is competition. Based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and the Theory of Flow, this dissertation explores the process through which competition makes a video game satisfying. A structural model is proposed that examines the impacts of Situational Competitiveness (manipulated via different modes of competition) and Dispositional Competitiveness (as a personality trait) on gameplay experience. The proposed model is validated through an experimental design study with 104 university students. The results show that the perception of video game competitiveness has a strong direct and indirect (mediated through Challenge and Arousal) effect on Flow experience and Satisfaction. While an individual’s personality impacts the perception of a game’s competitiveness, this perception can also be influenced by the mode of competition (playing against a computer, stranger or friend). Additionally, Social Presence is found to play a role by mediating the relationship between the mode of competition and Situational Competitiveness.
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