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A Model of Player Motivations

Asking MMORPG players why they play reveals a dazzling array of varied motivations. Indeed, this wide variation illustrates why MMORPGs are so appealing - because they are able to attract people with very different motivations for playing.

After many weeks of watching I found myself interested in the interactions between people in the game, it was totally absorbing!!!! The fact that I was able to immerse myself in the game and relate to other people or just listen in to the 'chatter' was appealing. [DAoC, F, 34]

I play MMORPGs with my husband as a source of entertainment. Overall it can be a cheaper form of entertainment where you can spend quite a bit of time with a significant other. To play well you end up developing more ways of communicating. [DAoC, F, 31]

I like the whole progression, advancement thing ... gradually getting better and better as a player, being able to handle situations that previously I wouldn’t have been able to. [EQ, M, 48]

No one complains about jobs or other meaningless things. It's a great stress reducer. I like that I can be someone else for a couple hours. [SWG, M, 28]

Currently, I am trying to establish a working corporation within the economic boundaries of the virtual world. Primarily, to learn more about how real world social theories play out in a virtual economy. [EVE Online, M, 30]

Being able to articulate and build an empirical model of these underlying motivations provides an important foundation to several other avenues of research. First, it gives us a meaningful way to differentiate players from one another as well as allowing us to explore, for example, how older gamers are different from younger gamers. Second, a model of player motivations provides a tool to explore in-game preferences and behaviors. For example, which players are most likely to become guild leaders or which players are most likely to exhibit problematic usage?

keywords: video game uses and gratifications, mmo motivations, mmorpg uses and gratification, motivations taxonomy

 
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