Recent research found that playing video games is able to serve mood management purposes as well as contribute to gratifications such as need satisfaction. Both aspects can foster the enjoyment as entertainment experience. The current study explores the question of how in-game success as a prerequisite for satisfying the need for competence and autonomy positively influences mood repair and game enjoyment. In a laboratory setting, participants were frustrated via a highly stressing math task and then played a video game (Mario Kart). Results show that in-game success drives mood repair as reflected in the experience of anger, happiness and activation. Moreover, fulfilling the intrinsic needs for competence and autonomy mediated the effects of in-game success and predicted enjoyment of the video game. Results are discussed in context of recent conceptualizations of media entertainment and the hierarchical order of emotional gratifications.

Mood repair, Self-determination theory, Success, Video games,
Computers in Human Behavior
Department of Media and Communication

Rieger, D, Wulf, T, Kneer, J, Frischlich, L, & Bente, G. (2014). The winner takes it all: The effect of in-game success and need satisfaction on mood repair and enjoyment. Computers in Human Behavior, 39, 281–286. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.07.037