University Students’ Video Gaming - Reasons, Preferences, and Behavioural Effects
Keywords:video gaming motivation, video gaming effects, video gaming preference
Research on players’ reasons for video gaming, their video game preferences, and the behavioural effects of video gaming on the players tends to study those issues separately. This study attempts to explore all those issues collectively with the aim of facilitating game designers to develop appealing educational games for university students without inflicting negative behavioural impacts on the students. Relevant data from 100 undergraduates were collected from an online survey. Cluster analysis of the eight major reasons for playing video games resulted in grouping the respondents into five clusters. The cluster that rated peer effect as the major reason for playing is male-dominated whereas the cluster that rated family influence as the major reason is female-dominated. A similar analysis of the respondents’ video game genre preferences reveals that the cluster favouring fighting and battle games is male-dominated, whereas the cluster favouring family entertainment games is female-dominated. Both genders enjoy playing challenging adventure-strategy games. Most respondents perceived that their cognitive functioning had improved through video gaming, but no conclusion can be drawn as to whether video gaming can improve their social and psychological functioning. Except for poor sleeping habits, most respondents had not experienced any significant negative effects from playing video games. No statistical evidence supports that playing violent video games would induce aggressive behaviours. As games that involve a high demand for players’ motor skills may not be a good choice for educational games and violent games may induce poor sleep quality, it is concluded that challenging adventure games and strategy games are suitable educational game genres for undergraduate students.