The Legend of the Video Game Consumers!

In my last blog I rambled about how video game companies use emotion in their advertising to persuade the potential customers to buy their games. This got me thinking. Not all customers can be influenced by these type of adverts. This also got me thinking. From all this INTENSE thinking I realised that there are different types of gamers that exist in the wild.

“A wild consumer appeared!”

There are a number of type of gamers roaming around. One type is the casual gamer. These individuals enjoy games on phones, like iphone games or android apps. The casual games include games like angry birds or fruit slice. Casual games are games that can be played anywhere and any time. Consumers do not need to heavily involve themselves into the game. It is just pick up and play. Kuittinen et al., (2007) states that casual gamers have been growing in number over the years due to the amount of digital games available.

Another type of gamers are known as hardcore gamers. In my opinion hardcore gamers are individuals who spend over 6 hours a week gaming. I, for example, fall into this category. The games hardcore gamers play are usually console games, like halo or call of duty. PC games are also a component of hardcore gamers. PC games included MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) games, such as World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2. Bosser and Nakatsu (2006) suggest that hardcore gamers are those who spend a majority of their leisure time playing video games.

The important question is, what gamer are you?

No that is not the important question. Well it’s important but not to this post. The important questions are why is there different types of consumers and what does this all mean?

The reason why there are different types of video game consumers is their motivational mental states. Statt (1997), in his book “Understanding the Consumer”,  talks about one theory of motivation. The theory of need. This theory justifies motivation as a process to gain biological or physiological needs, like food, love and social acceptance. Jansz and Martens (2005) questioned a group of hardcore gamers and investigated what motivated them to become involved with gaming. The researchers found that the gamers emphasized the need and importance of the social context of gaming. This suggests that gaming could be the motivational need, social acceptance, for hardcore gamers. This could be the distinction between hardcore and casual gamers. Hardcore gamers fill their social needs by playing games, specifically multi-player games. Whereas, casual gamers may not have to fill this need, due to filling it in other social contexts. This could explain why casual gamers are not heavily involved in video games.

Another theory that could explain this diversion of gamer types is the Self-Determination Theory (Ryan, Rigby & Przybylski, 2006). The self-determination theory (SDT) involves components that either facilitate or inhibit motivation. These components could be intrinsic or extrinsic. Ryan et al., suggests that video game players are intrinsically motivated to play as they seek enjoyment. Ryan et al., found that there is a significant variability between people and their intrinsic motivation for video games. Hardcore gamers and casual gamers could, therefore, have different intrinsic motivations for playing video games. Hardcore gamers could achieve a sense of fun and pleasure from games. While causal gamers could establish a feeling of pleasure and joy from other means.

What does this mean for the companies creating the games?
Companies will have to reconsider the techniques they use to market and produce games (Sacranie, 2010). Games need to adapt to hit the casual gamers (Bosser & Nakatsu, 2006). If the industry can understand what motivates each type of gamer the industry can develop games that target both types. Thus, the companies can satisfy the needs of all the consumers and in the end gather more of the moneys !

What do you guys think? Do you game? What would motivate you to game?


3 thoughts on “The Legend of the Video Game Consumers!

  1. Hey !!!

    A really interesting blog topic this week!

    I actually play a few games myself and whilst i definitely agree with your second point about Self-Determination Theory, I was wondering if you had considered the physical satisfaction gained from playing certain video games?

    Reiss et al., (2008) carried out a study in which they examined the brain activations (using fMRI) when participants (male and female) played video games involving territory capture. The researchers found large neural activations in reward/addiction related areas such as the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex. They concluded that this physical reward system magnifies the desire to play games.

    How can this be applied to the consumer industry? Well, i think advertising needs to emphasise the tactile experiences of playing games in order to excite reward systems. Perhaps active demonstrations should be promoted in all shops? These promotion techniques could entice casual gamers and serve as an ‘addiction agent’.

  2. Your blog is really fun!! I am a gamer and your blog inspired me to think about why do I play such games. Frankly, I just play some casual games when I am boring and computers and laptops are not available. Nevertheless, these days I am keen on a hardcore game called Leafue of Legends. For the reasons you mentioned, I do agree that it meets my demands in social aspect. I find it is really enjoyable to collaborate with my friends or even strangers. Pursuing for the victory enables me to get more touch with others and the feeling of success always enhance the relationship between people. However, I have a little objection to your demonstration for casual games. Since I find that many social websites also released some casual games which can link a person with others and enables interaction among people. Additionally, android apps also permit some of its games to be social-linked, like comparing scores, certain pet or farm games and etc.

  3. Pingback: Gaming – The psychology of microtransactions | Karenmarrissa

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