Situational Autonomy Support in Video Game Play: An Exploratory Study


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Situational Autonomy Support in Video Game Play: An Exploratory Study

  1. 1. situational autonomy supportin video game playan exploratory studySebastian Deterding (@dingstweets)Hans Bredow Institute for Media ResearchICA 2013 Preconference »The Power of Play: Motivational Uses and Applications«London, June 16, 2013c b
  2. 2. 1Outset3Method2Theory4Results5Outlook
  3. 3. 3Method2Theory4Results5Outlook1Outset
  4. 4. serious games in school contexts
  5. 5. gamification in work contexts
  6. 6. Johan Huizinga»First and foremost,all play is a voluntaryactivity.«homo ludens (1938/1950: 7)Cf. Caillois 2001, Suits 2005, Pellegrini 2009, Burghardt 2005
  7. 7. Lopez 2011
  8. 8. Heeter et al. 2011, Mollick & Rothbard 2013
  9. 9. 1 3Method4Results5OutlookTheory2Outset
  10. 10. Edward Deci,Richard Ryan»To be autonomous means to behavewith a sense of volition, willingness, andcongruence; it means to fully endorseand concur with the behavior one isengaged in.«motivation, personality, and development (2012: 85)
  11. 11. autonomy in SDT• Action is energised and directed by three basicpsychological needs: autonomy, competence,relatedness• All motivations range from controlled toautonomous, external to internal locus of causality• Individuals potentially energised by multiplemotivations at the same time; sum determinesoverall experienced level of autonomy• Motivational »significance« of social-contextualinput results from subjective construal processRyan & Deci 2002, Deci & Ryan 2012
  12. 12. spectrum of motivationsPerceivedexternallocusofcausalityPerceivedinternallocusofcausalityExternalextrinsicintrojectedextrinsicinternalisedextrinsicintegratedextrinsicintrinsic{{overall controlledoverall autonomousDeci & Ryan 2012
  13. 13. autonomy in SDT• Action is energised and directed by three basicpsychological needs: autonomy, competence,relatedness• All motivations range from controlled toautonomous, external to internal locus of causality• Individuals potentially energised by multiplemotivations at the same time; sum determinesoverall experienced level of autonomy• Motivational »significance« of social-contextualinput results from subjective construal processRyan & Deci 2002, Deci & Ryan 2012
  14. 14. existing research• Video gaming can satisfy intrinsic needs, which canexplain part of video game play enjoyment (1)• Some studies on in-game autonomy supportspecifically through »meaningful choice« (2)• Studies on video gaming context mainly exploredrelatedness support (3)• Many studies on social contexts supporting orthwarting autonomy in other activities (4) – but noneon video gaming yet(1) Ryan, Rigby & Przybylski 2006; Tamborini et al. 2010, 2011; Przybylski, Rigby & Ryan 2010; Peng et al. 2012; Przybylski et al.,2012, Reinecke et al. 2012; (2) Rigby & Ryan 2011; (3) Kaye & Bryce, 2012; (4) Deci, Koestner & Ryan 1999, Deci & Ryan 2012
  15. 15. How do social contexts affectautonomy experience in videogame play?research question
  16. 16. 12Theory4Results5Outlook3MethodOutset
  17. 17. Method• 19 interviewees gaming in leisurely and presumed-low autonomy contexts: game journalism, design,research, e-sport, gamified application• Semi-structured interviews, 90-120 min. length• Interviewees invited to openly compare contexts,then narrate high/low autonomy experiences• Transcription of all interviews• Coding and analysis w/ MAXQDA following directedqualitative content analysis (1)Hsieh & Shannon 2005, Gläser & Laudel 2011
  18. 18. 1 3Method2Theory5Outlook4ResultsOutset
  19. 19. in-game autonomy support• Salient autonomy with meaningful choice (impactsgame world, no faux choice) & open spaces (1)• Salient controlled motivation related to expectationsand values• expected action is thwarted (invisible walls,‘logical’ move impossible)• expected choice not provided (‘railroad’ levels)• cut scenes, QTE take away expected agency• progress requires action against player’s values(1) Cf. Ryan, Rigby & Przybylski 2006; Rigby & Ryan 2011
  20. 20. Situational autonomy support• Autonomy in play is taken for granted: Intervieweesrecalled mainly moments of controlled motivationsas noteworthy, labelling them »work«, »not play«• Playing in low-autonomy contexts is less enjoyable& emotional, more effortful, pressured, detached• Both leisurely and low-autonomy contexts holdexperiences of controlled motivation• They become salient when spontaneous interestsand provided choices mismatch and controlledmotivations keep players to given choices
  21. 21. P3: And as a reviewer you have to look: How does an, an adventurelike Heavy Rain, which plays a lot with the freedom to act, andsuggests it, there you have to- as a normal, contemplative player youjust play it through, and afterwards you think: ‘Maybe I’ll do it again.’And here you indeed have to play the same scenes immediately againand look, how, what is different, so. [That is]Interviewer: [That is,] you have to actually exhaust the possibilityspace?P3: Exactly, yes. Yes, yes. You are forced to do it, it’s no longer anoptional possibility. Whenever you’re forced to do something, then inbecomes more work. (P3-2/669-672)game features and context interact
  22. 22. In::: 95 percent of the cases no. Its still a hobby. You- its still apassion. You enjoy playing it, also because something like:: aprofessional level comes in, money and you get around and youget to know new people. Thats nice, no question. And thoseremaining five percent, those are the percentages where yousay: <<Hm, not training again from seven to ten pm? Now Icould have gone to the movies with my girlfriend.>> Forexample. Where you would say: <<I so would have wanted togo with her to the movies. Damn, damn, damn. Why do I haveto train now?>> (P16/97-99)…with current goals & interests
  23. 23. controlling lack of choice• Whether and when to start playing• What game to play• How to play (goal-focused vs. explorative)• Whether and when to achieve game states• When to stop gaming• Whether and how to self-regulate emotion display
  24. 24. P9: When I in principle have no time limit, that is, when I cansay, I can play until I say: <<I dont want to anymore.>> Noappointments and no obligations, both inside the game andoutside of the game, then I find, thats an experience offreedom. (P9/308)freedom of choice
  25. 25. Then also simply games you actually, somehow, don’t want toplay. So that’s something that you have to bring yourself to do,to play games you would not voluntarily play. Yes perhaps alsoto ruin the game with walkthroughs, save games or cheatcodes. So that’s something one does intentionally. And well, Iwould never do that otherwise. Yes, in the end, everything to,to, what, what’s helpful to reach the goal you set before.(P10/380-382)game choice
  26. 26. • Low-autonomy contexts• Professional reputation• Material consequence (prize money, workload)• Verbal sanctions from superiors and peers• Leisurely contexts• Social norms of reciprocity, harmony, politeness• Reputation (if gaming is tied to identity)• Loss or attainment of in-game resourcescontrolling motivations
  27. 27. So with other games it was never like that, that I would go evenif I didnt feel like it. With WoW you had, especially with WoWthere somehow was a social, yes, somehow, a social coercionbehind it. Because of, as I said, this reputation and then alsothe social contexts that you maintained through it. Or foundthere. That they moved you to go there. Because I think, thatsthe thing with sport. That you dont feel like training in theevening, or something, and you still go there. Because you feelsocially obliged somehow. (P19-2/68-78)social norms
  28. 28. Because then ((when money is involved)) theres the pressurethat you have to win. Of course, everybody who plays wants towin somehow. Or have some successes, at least. Otherwiseyou wouldnt play, presumably. Bu::t when its about money,thats a real thing, and that you have to work hard for. Thatwouldnt have a playful character for me then. (P8/297-303)material consequence
  29. 29. situational autonomy supportNot need-aligned,controlled gameplayIntrinsic need satisfyinggameplayAbility to reconfigure &dis/engageLack of social/materialconsequenceSalientautonomous motivationsSalientcontrolled motivations+++––Construal of action asautonomous–++
  30. 30. 1 3Method2Theory4Results5OutlookOutset
  31. 31. Conclusion & Ramifications• Autonomy support in video gaming involves asituational meta-process of configuration & dis/engagement‣ Calls for more ecological studies on situationalprocesses of gaming enjoyment• Gamification and serious games in low-autonomycontexts face potentially serious challenge‣ Calls for more studies on effects of situationalautonomy support
  32. 32. future research• Operationalisation and experimental testing ofmodel• Testing of relation between autonomy experienceand play experience in video gaming• Testing of effect of autonomy experience onproductivity in gamification of work• Testing of effect of autonomy experience on learningoutcomes in educational games
  33. 33. ReferencesBurghardt, G. M. (2005). The Genesis of Animal Play: Testing the Limits. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Caillois, R. (2001). Man, Play, and Games. Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Motivation, Personality, and Development Within Embedded Social Contexts: An Overview of Self-Determination Theory. In R. M. Ryan (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Human Motivation (pp. 85–107). New York: Oxford University Press.Gläser, J., & Laudel, G. (2010). Experteninterviews und qualitative Inhaltsanalyse als Instrumente rekonstruierender Untersuchungen (4th Ed.).Wiesbaden: VS.Heeter, C., Lee, Y.-H., Magerko, B., & Medler, B. (2011). Impacts of Forced Serious Game Play on Vulnerable Subgroups. International Journalof Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 3(3), 34–53.Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative health research, 15(9), 1277–88.Huizinga, J. (1955). Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Boston: Beacon Press.Kaye, L. K., & Bryce, J. (2012). Putting The “Fun Factor” Into Gaming: The Influence of Social Contexts on Experiences of Playing Videogames.International Journal of Internet Science, 7(1), 23–37.Lopez, S. (2011, October 19). Disneyland workers answer to “electronic whip”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from, E. & Rothbard, N. (2013). Mandatory Fun: Gamifiction and the Impact of Games at Work. Working Paper.Pellegrini, A. D. (2009). The Role of Play in Human Development. New York: Oxford University Press.Peng, W., Lin, J.-H., Pfeiffer, K. a., & Winn, B. (2012). Need Satisfaction Supportive Game Features as Motivational Determinants: AnExperimental Study of a Self-Determination Theory Guided Exergame. Media Psychology, 15(2), 175–196.Przybylski, A. K., Rigby, C. S., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). A motivational model of video game engagement. Review of General Psychology, 14(2), 154–166.Reinecke, L., Tamborini, R., Grizzard, M., Lewis, R., Eden, A., & David Bowman, N. (2012). Characterizing Mood Management as NeedSatisfaction: The Effects of Intrinsic Needs on Selective Exposure and Mood Repair. Journal of Communication, 62(3), 437–453.Ryan, R. M., Rigby, C. S., & Przybylski, A. (2006). The Motivational Pull of Video Games: A Self-Determination Theory Approach. Motivationand Emotion, 30(4), 344–360.Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2002). An Overview of Self-Determintation Theory: An Organismic-Dialectical Perspective. In E. L. Deci & R. M.Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Determination Research (pp. 3–36). Rochester: University of Rochester Press.Tamborini, R., Bowman, N. D., Eden, A., Grizzard, M., & Organ, A. (2010). Defining Media Enjoyment as the Satisfaction of Intrinsic Needs.Journal of Communication, 60(4), 758–777.Tamborini, R., Grizzard, M., David Bowman, N., Reinecke, L., Lewis, R. J. & Eden, A. (2011). Media Enjoyment as Need Satisfaction: TheContribution of Hedonic and Nonhedonic Needs. Journal of Communication, 61(6), 1025–1042.
  34. 34. you.