What Motivates a Gamer?

Scholarly Critique #5

Motiv 6After learning about ethics and motivation in this week’s readings, I wanted to dig a bit deeper into gamer motivation.  From an outsiders perspective, it appears there are countless reasons why a person would want to participate in game play online.  The article I chose to write about is titled Motivations for Play in Online Games, by Nick Yee.

In this article, Yee began by referencing an individual named Richard Bartle.  Bartle is a game researcher who came up with the “Bartle Taxonomy of Player Types.”  Essentially (as pictured below), Bartle constructed a way to categorize gamers based on their preferred actions in playing a game.  This is a structured model that allows no overlap in types of motivation.  While I do not necessarily feel everyone can be painted in a box, I can see how this could be used as a general guideline for starting to determine people’s motivations (for perhaps their gaming decisions).

Motiv 7

Motiv 1Yee, came to the conclusion the work Bartle came up with, “…provides the foundation to explore whether different sections of the player demographic are motivated differently, and whether certain motivations are more highly correlated with usage patterns or other in-game behaviors” (p. 772, 2007).  Bartle may have decided his player attributes did not cross over each other, but Yee wanted to see the bigger picture.  His goal was to find more of an all encompassing way to look at motivation across all types of gamers (instead of Bartle’s limited perceptions).  Yee thought there was evidence that Bartle left out or was not considering.

Motiv 2Yee had heavy focus on looking at participants who are part of the massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG).  This was the key demographic of where he found his results.  These social dimensions contribute to game play by obviously providing the social aspect, but I think there is a lot of value in extending his study to a wider audience.

He found that people’s various motivations overlapped in a more fuzzy not clear cut way as Bartle has concluded.  Yee had made the determination, “While this facilitates making sweeping generalizations …this strategy inevitably ignores the important fact that different people choose to play games for very different reasons, and thus, the same video game may have very different meanings or consequences for different players.” (p.774)  I would have to agree with Yee, motivation can be viewed differently among all people.  Not everything can be as controlled and clean cut as Bartle depicted.  

Motiv 3If I were to redesign this experiment, I would attempt to put the survey in a broad range of locates.  According to the author,  the survey was placed in online portals where MMORPG’s were located.  By opening up this data to a wider audience, I suspect there may be different results.  Although Yee was able to broaden the motivation spectrum, I would like to see a bit more of the fine details.

There are still unanswered questions of intrinsic verse extrinsic motivation differences across individuals.  Although the scholarly article I chose to review addressed motivation in general, it did not take the time really dive deeper.  I wonder if learning or playing games has an affect on both types of motivation.  Next time I may have to be the one who looks more extensively for more concrete answers in these articles.

Works Cited

Yee, N. (2007). Motivations of Play in Online Games. Journal of CyberPsychology and Behavior, 9, 772-775.

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