A new measure of individual habits and preferences in video game use is developed in order to better study the risk factors of pathological game use (i.e., excessively frequent or prolonged use, sometimes called “game addiction”). This measure was distributed to internet message boards for game enthusiasts and to college undergraduates. An exploratory factor analysis identified 9 factors: Story, Violent Catharsis, Violent Reward, Social Interaction, Escapism, Loss-Sensitivity, Customization, Grinding, and Autonomy. These factors demonstrated excellent fit in a subsequent confirmatory factor analysis, and, importantly, were found to reliably discriminate between inter-individual game preferences (e.g., Super Mario Brothers as compared to Call of Duty). Moreover, three factors were significantly related to pathological game use: the use of games to escape daily life, the use of games as a social outlet, and positive attitudes toward the steady accumulation of in-game rewards. The current research identifies individual preferences and motives relevant to understanding video game players' evaluations of different games and risk factors for pathological video game use.
Keywords: video games, game pathology, game addiction, motives for game play, player personality
Citation: Hilgard J, Engelhardt CR and Bartholow BD (2013) Individual differences in motives, preferences, and pathology in video games: the gaming attitudes, motives, and experiences scales (GAMES). Front. Psychol. 4:608. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00608
Received: 01 April 2013; Accepted: 21 August 2013;
Published online: 09 September 2013.
Edited by:Mary Katsikitis, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
Reviewed by:Christian Jones, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
Copyright © 2013 Hilgard, Engelhardt and Bartholow. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Joseph Hilgard, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia, Psychology Building, Room 121, 200 s 7th Street, Columbia, MO 65201, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org