Identification and categorization of digital game experiences : a qualitative study integrating theoretical insights and player perspectives

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Digital game experience is not a one-dimensional concept. Great variety exists in game genres and players, and game experiences will differ accordingly. To date, game experience is studied in a differentiated way, meaning that most studies focus on one specific game experience dimension. The objective of our study was twofold. First, we wanted to obtain a comprehensive picture of first-hand experiences of playing digital games. We conducted six focus group interviews including different types of gamers with the aim of eliciting a wide array of lay-conceptualizations of game experience. Second, we aimed to develop a categorization of game experience dimensions. This was established by discussing and integrating theoretical and empirical findings. Our categorization revealed nine dimensions: enjoyment, flow, imaginative immersion, sensory immersion, suspense, competence, tension, control and social presence. This categorization has relevance for both game scholars and game developers wanting to get to the heart of digital game experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-129
JournalWestminster Papers in Communication and Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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