Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

An Exploration of Motives in Sport Video Gaming

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

An Exploration of Motives in Sport Video Gaming

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined motivational dimensions underlying sport video game playing, from a uses and gratification perspective, with the use of focus groups and confirmatory factor analysis. Through a rigorous scale development procedure, seven motivation dimensions were identified--knowledge application, identification with sport, fantasy, competition, entertainment, social interaction and diversion. The results also suggest that the pattern of sport video game use is more purposeful and active than uses of more traditional media. Future research opportunities and managerial implications for using video games in developing a more creative and interactive communication tool are also discussed.

Keywords

virtual sports

sport video game (SVG)

uses and gratification

motivation

Executive summary

With the growing popularity of sport around the world, many types of video games have been closely connected with sports content or specific athletes. Nowadays, the sport video game (SVG) that emulates real-life sport has captured the attention of both sports fans and sports marketers (Kushner, 2002; Lefton, 2005; Wingfield, 2005). More recently marketers and advertisers have considered video games as a popular component of advertising and promotional strategies by incorporating brand advertisements within interactive games. As such, SVGs are expected to have a number of benefits for sports marketers in terms of opportunities to create a fully developed interface between the sports fan and sports team, while at the same time developing more innovative and interactive promotional tools. However, despite the popularity of SVGs, little empirical research to date has been conducted on the sociological and psychological aspects of gamers who engage in SVG playing. The purpose of this study is to develop and test a comprehensive SVG playing motivation scale (SVGMS) for adult gamers, with a focus on computer and console video game play.

From the uses and gratifications paradigm, the current study implemented a two-stage procedure to develop and validate an instrument for measuring motives for playing SVGs. First, focus groups were conducted to identify the principal reasons for people using SVGs and to develop survey items for the dominant dimensions of SVG play motivations. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed in order to identify the dimensions of SVG play motivations with a convenience sample of 207 undergraduate students at a large midwestern university in the United States. In addition, expert review was utilised to purify the measure. Second, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was utilised to validate the scale constructed. In this stage, the refined survey questionnaire was administered to a self-selected sample of 214 video gamers. The respondents were drawn from various regions of the United States; all were active video game players who were members of four popular video game internet sites.

As a result, a seven-factor solution containing 20 items was accepted as the most appropriate. The factors identified were knowledge application, identification with sport, fantasy, competition, entertainment, social interaction and diversion. The SVG motivation scale was then verified through a CFA. The results of the CFA indicated a good fit of the data ([chi square] = 234.01 df = 149, p < 0.001; GFI = .90; TLI = .91; RMR = .04; CFI = .96; RMSEA = .05). The measurement model exhibited evidence of convergent validity and discriminant validity.

The findings of the study provide researchers and marketers with benchmark data for future research to explore the psychology of sports consumers in a virtual environment, and the potential of video games as a marketing tool for the penetration of a sport into a new market. It is suggested, however, that more research be conducted in order to examine playing motivations in different playing circumstances and with different types of sports fans. …

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