This paper applies a psychological theory of motivation (Self-determination theory) to gamer motivation and persistence. By comparing three different expertise groups (casual gamers, heavy gamers, hardcore gamers) we found that the more experienced gamers not surprisingly exhibit the highest levels of persistence, need satisfaction and motivation, where intrinsic motivation is more important than extrinsic motivation. A similar structure is found for the less experienced gamers, even if their general levels of need fulfillment and motivation are lower. When comparing the motivational structure of the three groups with use of structural equation modeling we found that the difference between the more and less experienced gamers becomes more apparent. While casual and heavy gamers exhibit identical structures in their motivational mechanism, hardcore gamers differ significantly regarding the importance of relatedness when trying to explain their heightened levels of persistence.

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ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Department of Media and Communication