Paper: Motivations for Play in Online Games – Nick Yee

[research mainly on MMORPG games]

An empirical model of player motivations in online games provides the foundation to under- stand and assess how players differ from one another and how motivations of play relate to age, gender, usage patterns, and in-game behaviors. In the current study, a factor analytic ap- proach was used to create an empirical model of player motivations.

Achievement component

  • Advancement—The desire to gain power, progress rapidly, and accumulate in-game symbols of wealth or status
  • Mechanics—Having an interest in analyzing the underlying rules and system in order to optimize character performance
  • Competition—The desire to challenge and compete with others

Social component

  • Socializing—Having an interest in helping and chatting with other players
  • Relationship—The desire to form long-term meaningful relationships with others
  • Teamwork—Deriving satisfaction from being part of a group effort.

Immersion component

  • Discovery—Finding and knowing things that most other players don’t know about
  • Role-Playing—Creating a persona with a back- ground story and interacting with other players to create an improvised story
  • Customization—Having an interest in cus- tomizing the appearance of their character
  • Escapism—Using the online environment to avoid thinking about real life problems


Oftentimes, both the media and researchers into media effects collapse all video gamers into a simplistic archetype. While this facilitates making sweeping generalizations of potentially deviant behaviors or consequences (i.e., addiction and ag- gression), this strategy inevitably ignores the im- portant fact that different people choose to play games for very different reasons, and thus, the same video game may have very different mean- ings or consequences for different players.

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