The question of why players of video games persist gaming in the face of what seems to be insufficient reward has not yet been properly answered. This paper approaches the issue by combining two general psychological theories: Self-determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) and Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). A large scale survey (N = 7252) enabled a comparison of three groups which differed in terms of their Gamer Identity Strength (GIS), namely the degree to which players define gaming as part of their social identity. GIS is highest in Hardcore gamers and lower for Heavy and Casual gamers. GIS was positively, and uniformly, related with needs for Competence, Autonomy and Relatedness. Meanwhile, regulation was greater and more internal in the higher GIS groups. Finally, persistence was found to increase with GIS. The structure of needs and regulation modes underlying persistence was comparatively analyzed for the three groups; similarities between GIS groups were more frequent than differences. Most importantly, results indicated that Casual and Heavy gamers were motivated to continue to play as a result of both the feelings of enjoyment and a sense of connectedness. Hardcore gamers were more intrinsically motivated through enjoyment enhancing their levels of persistence accordingly.

Enjoyment, Motivation, Persistence, Self-determination theory, Social Identity Theory, Video games,
Creative Industries , ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Computers in Human Behavior
Department of Media and Communication

Neys, J.L.D, Jansz, J, & Tan, E. (2014). Exploring persistence in gaming: The role of self-determination and social identity. Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 196–209. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.04.047