By Andrew Przybylski, C. Scott Rigby, & Richard Ryan
Published in Review of General Psychology, 14, 154-166. doi: 10.1037/a0019440
ABSTRACT: More Americans now play video games than go to the movies (NPD Group, 2009). The meteoric rise inpopularity of video games highlights the need for research approaches that can deepen our scientificunderstanding of video game engagement. This article advances a theory-based motivational model forexamining and evaluating the ways by which video game engagement shapes psychological processesand influences well-being. Rooted in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000a), our approach suggests that both the appeal and well-being effects of video games are based intheir potential to satisfy basic psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Wereview recent empirical evidence applying this perspective to a number of topics including needsatisfaction in games and short-term well-being, the motivational appeal of violent game content,motivational sources of postplay aggression, the antecedents and consequences of disordered patterns ofgame engagement, and the determinants and effects of immersion. Implications of this model for the future study of game motivation and the use of video games in interventions are discussed.