By Wei Peng, Jih-Hsuan Lin, Karin A. Pfeiffer, & Brian Winn
Published in Media Psychology, 15, 175–196. DOI: 10.1080/15213269.2012.673850
ABSTRACT: Empirical studies have validated that basic needs satisfaction supported by video game play predicts motivation and engagement outcomes. However, few studies specifically manipulated game features for each of the three basic needs specified in the self-determination theory (SDT) to examine how the game features impact players’ need satisfaction and game experience. The current study employed an in-house developed exergame and manipulated the game features in a 2 (autonomy-supportive game features: on vs. off ) 2 (competence-supportive game features: on vs. off ) experiment to predict need satisfaction, game enjoyment, motivation for future play, effort for gameplay, self-efficacy for exercise using the game, likelihood of game recommendation, and game rating. The manipulated game features led to the corresponding need satisfaction. Manipulated autonomy-supportive and competence-supportive game features had main effects on most motivation and engagement outcomes. Need satisfaction of autonomy and need satisfaction of competence were both found to be mediators for the relationships between the game features and the motivation and engagement outcomes. The findings add evidence to support the underlying mechanism postulated by SDT for media enjoyment and motivation as well as the emerging entertainment research conceptualizing enjoyment as need satisfaction. The findings also have practical implications for intervention effort that intends to capitalize the motivational pull of video games.