No one likes to lose: The effect of game difficulty on competency, flow, and enjoyment

Michael Grant Schmierbach, Mun Young Chung, Mu Wu, Keunyeong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although scholars of video game enjoyment propose that games are meant to present a reasonable and appropriate challenge to players, not enough research has tested the effects of difficulty on enjoyment or the psychological mechanisms driving this relationship. In an experimental study involving college students (N = 121) playing a casual online tower defense game, we tested the relationship between difficulty and enjoyment and the possible mediating roles played by competency, as specified by self-determination theory, and challenge-skill balance, as specified by flow theory. Path analysis suggested that feelings of competency contribute to enjoyment by helping players obtain a balance between challenge and skill, and that competency is enhanced when players are assigned an easier game mode. This paper then addresses implications for theory, game design, and laboratory studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-110
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Fingerprint

Game Theory
Video Games
Personal Autonomy
Game theory
Towers
Emotions
Students
Psychology
game theory
path analysis
computer game
self-determination
Research
student

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

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No one likes to lose : The effect of game difficulty on competency, flow, and enjoyment. / Schmierbach, Michael Grant; Chung, Mun Young; Wu, Mu; Kim, Keunyeong.

In: Journal of Media Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 3, 01.01.2014, p. 105-110.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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