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Motivation, Play, and Skill: Towards a Player-centric Perspective on the Videogame Medium

Luo, Yinyi (2018) Motivation, Play, and Skill: Towards a Player-centric Perspective on the Videogame Medium. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This study investigates player-videogame relationships, with a greater ambition of developing a player-centric perspective for the studies of the videogame medium, players, and gaming culture. Taking inspiration from Audience Studies and the grounded theory approach, the project employs gaming-interviews (playing games followed by a semi-structured interview) with 30 Western (20 male and 10 female) and 20 Chinese (10 male and 10 female) participants. To facilitate the analysis, I introduced three concepts: motivation, play and skills. Each of the three notions addresses a key element of the player-videogame relationship: motivation refers to why players engage with the medium; play refers to how players engage with the medium; and skills refers to the challenges posed by and experienced through the medium. Drawing on these concepts, I examine participants’ remarks on their engagement with the videogame medium. Analyses of participants’ remarks on motivation, play, and skills indicate that they understand their relationship with the videogame medium through their everyday gaming experiences, and they understand it to be highly personal and individualised. I argue that to develop a player-centric perspective on videogames is to centre players’ accounts about their experiences with the videogames, but not to draw conclusions that are only based on these experiences. Players’ accounts about their experiences do not just reveal what they notice about media content or what they do with the videogame medium. Rather, a player-centric perspective investigates the sophisticated and multi-layered meaning-making process, where a range of different socio-cultural and economic factors play important roles. A player-centric perspective is not only about recording these accounts, but also untangles and reveals the struggle and harmony behind these meaning-making processes. Borrowing from Roy Bhaskar, players’ accounts are ‘statements of being’ and should not be reduced to ‘statements of knowledge’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Videogame Players; audience studies; digital media; critical realism
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Yinyi Luo
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 09:53
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21694

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