Why do people play games/gamble online?

31 Jul 2007 - 3:56am
2 years ago
19 replies
67653 reads
Staffan Schroder
2007

Hi everyone,

I am looking for any research in the field of why poeple play games or gamble online.

Any pointers in the right direction would be very welcome.

Regards
Staffan

Comments

31 Jul 2007 - 6:06am
.pauric
2006

It might be worthwhile breaking that question in to two;

Why do people gamble?
Why do people play/socialise online?

It should be easier to find answers to those questions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18822

31 Jul 2007 - 6:33am
Minkó Misi
2007

As Blaise Pascal wrote, people like to play and entertain themselves
because they are afraid of facing the real questions, and with games and
risks they try to hide these questions and focus their attention on
something else, which is more fun.
I don't know what would be the opinion of Pascal on online gaming and
gambling, but possibly the same...

m.

pauric írta:
> It might be worthwhile breaking that question in to two;
>
> Why do people gamble?
> Why do people play/socialise online?
>
> It should be easier to find answers to those questions.
>
>
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18822
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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>

31 Jul 2007 - 6:42am
Ashim
2006

Hi Staffan, dont know about papers, but I think there are psychological
aspects and social reasons for online gam(bl)ing. Some starters..

Psychological - Instant gratification, be-someone-you-cant-be,
be-someplace-you-cant-be.
Social - Depends on the demographic of people who are playing. Retired
people passing time playing casino games, school/college kids trying to make
1000 contacts on Orkut (its like a competitive game for them), professionals
playing online mobile games on their way back form office. Dr Eric Berne's
"Games People Play" is a good read on how people behave and how games
satisfy their core needs.

May I know the purpose of your asking this question..

31 Jul 2007 - 6:43am
Minkó Misi
2007

Also a nice pdf on Gadamer's concept of play:

http://www1.khib.no/khib/content/download/3812/36621/file/AK%20Vikhagen_Spiel.pdf

m.

pauric írta:
> It might be worthwhile breaking that question in to two;
>
> Why do people gamble?
> Why do people play/socialise online?
>
> It should be easier to find answers to those questions.
>
>
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18822
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
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> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>
>
>

31 Jul 2007 - 6:52am
SemanticWill
2007

Online, offline - I think that where a person plays games and is social is
irrelevant, it's simply another medium in which to do things we have been
doing for hundreds of thousands of years.

I think game playing, role playing, risk-based game playing are all
activities we seem almost hardwired to do. Some games may represent a
ritualization of various competitive endevours we originally did for a
number of reasons, including to attract a mate, establish dominance in a
social clique, or compete over resources. Now, many are so complex and
removed from their origins that they are ends in themselves - but some of
the same psychological factors which are deeply embedded in our psyche still
exist, and perhaps need to.

Asking 'Why we game online,' or offline is equivalent to asking 'why are
humans social' to some extent. We can attempt to find rationals in our
ancient history, but may ultimate return to the answer, "because we are
built that way."

On 7/31/07, Minkó Mihály <misi at nexum.hu> wrote:
>
> Also a nice pdf on Gadamer's concept of play:
>
>
> http://www1.khib.no/khib/content/download/3812/36621/file/AK%20Vikhagen_Spiel.pdf
>
> m.
>
> pauric írta:
> > It might be worthwhile breaking that question in to two;
> >
> > Why do people gamble?
> > Why do people play/socialise online?
> >
> > It should be easier to find answers to those questions.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> > Posted from the new ixda.org
> > http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18822
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
> >
> >
> >
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
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--
~ we

-------------------------------------
n: will evans
t: user experience architect
e: wkevans4 at gmail.com

-------------------------------------

31 Jul 2007 - 8:13am
Paul Smith
2007

Paul Smith. Some of these answers seem awfully negative and pessimistic. Games (and things like role playing) have a long history of use in educational settings. They often allow us to try out different behaviors and responses, view the impact and effects, and allow us to learn. Particularly in dangerous situations (physically or mentally). You may want to separate the question of why people start playing games (what motivates them to do it) from what keeps them playing (rewards, feedback, communication, etc).

31 Jul 2007 - 9:58am
Charles Zicari
2007

As already noted, this is an immensely broad topic with numerous ways
to slice your question. Depending on your intellectual orientation
(be it psychology, philosophy, economics, sociology, anthropology,
critical theory, etc.), you'll find research and theoretical work
that have taken up the subjects of games and play.

So without knowing why you are asking, I'll just point you to some
research on player types of MMORPGs:
http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001298.php?page=2

You can also find more research if you google "online gaming
research"

Charlie Zicari
Assoc. Creative Director - Information Architecture
Organic, Inc
threeminds.organic.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18822

31 Jul 2007 - 10:07am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jul 31, 2007, at 7:58 AM, Charlie Zicari wrote:

> As already noted, this is an immensely broad topic with numerous ways
> to slice your question. Depending on your intellectual orientation
> (be it psychology, philosophy, economics, sociology, anthropology,
> critical theory, etc.), you'll find research and theoretical work
> that have taken up the subjects of games and play.

A book that does a great job collecting these is The Game Design
Reader. Tons of essays about play and games and the nature (and
construction) of games.

<http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%
2Fwww.amazon.com%2FGame-Design-Reader-Rules-Anthology%2Fdp%
2F0262195364%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1185894314%26sr%
3D8-1&tag=odannyboy-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325>

The short answer to the original question is this: we play (online
and elsewhere) because we're mammals. Mammals play to learn new
things and to explore.

Dan

31 Jul 2007 - 10:08am
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Short answer to the short question is "To learn: to explore and to build up
or to morph their personal strengths within the constraints of the game".

Oleh

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is the Design of Time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

On 7/31/07, Staffan Schröder <Staffan.Schroder at bossmedia.se> wrote:
>
> Hi everyone,
>
> I am looking for any research in the field of why poeple play games or
> gamble online.
>
> Any pointers in the right direction would be very welcome.
>
> Regards
> Staffan
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

31 Jul 2007 - 10:30am
Bernie Monette
2005

> Conversation: Why do people play games/gamble online?
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Why do people play games/gamble online?
>
> Hi everyone,
>
> I am looking for any research in the field of why poeple play games or gamble
> online.
>
> Any pointers in the right direction would be very welcome.
>
> Regards
> Staffan

Staffan;
I am not sure how much of this will answer the 'why' but there is this
resource
http://www.camh.net/egambling/

This is a peer reviewed on line journal and the articles are of a high
quality. (If it sounds like a pitch-it is-I used to do some work for them).
There are also a lot of other articles and links to sources.

And this article
http://www.camh.net/egambling/issue20/07wood.htm
"Why do Internet gamblers prefer online versus land-based venues?"

Might help you out. From what I know this sort of activity, gambling and
gaming, is complex and difficult to understand. The 'why' someone does
something is not usually in the realm of what we do. Usually, we are too
busy making a system that they can use.

Cheers,

Bernie

--
Bernie Monette
InterActive Arts
Internet Presence Management
http://www.iaai.ca monette at iaai.ca 416 469 4337

31 Jul 2007 - 10:49am
Christopher Fahey
2005

> I am looking for any research in the field of why poeple
> play games or gamble online.

I am unfortunately aquainted with a stupendously compulsive online gambler whose addiction to *web slot machines* (!) cost her family $90,000 in a matter of days. I will thus say, with no evidence but personal anecdotal observation, that the desire to play computer games and the compulsion to gamble online, one of the most pathetic of all possible human endeavors, are essentially unrelated.

There may be psychological resemblances between gaming and gambling -- the thrill of winning, for example, and even certain addictive qualities to both activities. And I would guess that puzzle-games like Tetris and Bedazzled have more in common with gambling than, say, action and adventure games.

But online gambling -- which in almost every case is nothing less than willful financial suicide -- presses so many more psychological buttons than no-stakes gaming, and has a radically and qualitatively different effect on the user's entire life, that IMHO it's an entirely different animal.

I've always been fascinated by the user experience of online gambling sites -- and, by extension, the despicable but obviously highly skilled people who operate them. First of all, there is literally nothing stopping you from lying, cheating and deceiving your users -- it's all offshore and under the radar legally. You can, for example, write a phony-randomization algorithm that actually lets players win only often enough to keep them hooked on the game, but far from actually being random. You can program your blackjack deck to always deal the player a losing hand, except once in a while to keep things fun. There is literally no reason (besides having some ethics, of course) why you can't design gambling user experiences that deceive the user repeatedly, endlessly. In fact, you'd be a fool not to.

The design of a gambling site is thus the ultimate in user-unfriendly design, and yet users come back to these sites to be robbed and ravaged over and over again. That simple fact flies in the face of everything we stand for in this community: We say that honesty and clarity to the users is what works, but here's a multi-billion dollar industry whose fundamental tenets are 180 degrees opposite.

There is clearly a lot of UX insight to be gleaned from studing how gambling user experiences work.

Okay, now that I've thoroughly displayed my deep prejudice against the genre, will anyone admit to having worked on the UX for a gambling site? Have you conducted user testing on a gambling site? I'd love to hear those stories.

-Cf

Christopher Fahey
____________________________
Behavior
http://www.behaviordesign.com
me: http://www.graphpaper.com

31 Jul 2007 - 11:10am
Dan Brown
2004

You might look at the casual gaming community. Casual Gaming is a growing
area of gaming involving puzzles, logic games, word games, etc. (Any
Babblers in the crowd?)

This community has done a fair amount of research into behaviors and
motivations surrounding online play. The Casual Gaming Association [1] has a
more-or-less definitive paper on casual gamers. The International Game
Developers Association has a wiki for casual gaming [2].

At the beginning of the year, I did some user research into this community
and learned that a major motivation was escape. People play these games
because they are, in a sense, a non-committal way to exercise the mind. Like
hard-core gaming, the social aspect has two angles: competition and
cooperation. Casual gaming adds a third aspect: encouragement. One-player
games frequently have social functionality to allow people to help each
other, chat while their playing, and offer words of encouragement.

Hope this helps!
-- Dan

1. http://www.casualgamesassociation.org/
2. http://www.igda.org/wiki/Casual_Games_SIG

On 7/31/07, Staffan Schröder <Staffan.Schroder at bossmedia.se> wrote:
>
> Hi everyone,
>
> I am looking for any research in the field of why poeple play games or
> gamble online.
>
> Any pointers in the right direction would be very welcome.
>
> Regards
> Staffan
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

--
} work: eightshapes.com
} book: communicatingdesign.com
} blog: greenonions.com
} talk: +1 (301) 801-4850

31 Jul 2007 - 11:26am
Elizabeth Whitworth
2007

Hi Staffan,

There was a researcher at my graduate lab working on this:
http://www.carleton.ca/psychology/faculty/wohl.html
(see the research interest titled '*Non-Rational Thought'). *

You might want get in touch with him.
*
cheers,
- liz
*
On 7/31/07, Staffan Schröder <Staffan.Schroder at bossmedia.se> wrote:
>
> Hi everyone,
>
> I am looking for any research in the field of why poeple play games or
> gamble online.
>
> Any pointers in the right direction would be very welcome.
>
> Regards
> Staffan
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

31 Jul 2007 - 11:36am
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Interesting article and survey (incidentally contrary to author's claim the
survey of player motivations does not contradict the original classification
of player types).

Four player types defined by Bartle: Achiever, Socializer, Killer and
Explorer

Hm, where have I seen those before?

Challenger, Helper, Maintainer and Explorer - personality types in
Kingdomality (http://beta.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=9503#9598 ).

Both classifications are applied off-shoots of NLP's "meta-programs" (not
recommended reading).

Oleh

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is the Design of Time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

On 7/31/07, Charlie Zicari <czicari at organic.com> wrote:
>
> As already noted, this is an immensely broad topic with numerous ways
> to slice your question. Depending on your intellectual orientation
> (be it psychology, philosophy, economics, sociology, anthropology,
> critical theory, etc.), you'll find research and theoretical work
> that have taken up the subjects of games and play.
>
> So without knowing why you are asking, I'll just point you to some
> research on player types of MMORPGs:
> http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001298.php?page=2
>
> You can also find more research if you google "online gaming
> research"
>
>
>
>
> Charlie Zicari
> Assoc. Creative Director - Information Architecture
> Organic, Inc
> threeminds.organic.com
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18822
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

31 Jul 2007 - 11:53am
Caroline Jarrett
2007

<aside: Hello, this is my first post. I've enjoyed lurking for a
little while, but couldn't resist chipping in on this one>

From: "Christopher Fahey" <chris.fahey at behaviordesign.com>
<snip: interesting rant>

> Okay, now that I've thoroughly displayed my deep prejudice against
> the genre, will anyone admit to having worked on the UX for a
> gambling site? Have you conducted user testing on a gambling site?
> I'd love to hear those stories.

Not exactly worked on a gambling site, but I did conduct some
usability testing on a site for gamblers. This was actually for a
major UK bank, and they were toying with the idea of an online payment
service for gamblers that was similar to PayPal.

So, the target audience was gamblers and part of the script was
interviewing them about gambling behaviour.

Truthfully, this was where the ethical issues thread and the gambling
thread intertwine for me. These people were comfortable enough with
their gambling behaviour to talk about it: and I've never heard such a
lot of self-delusion and worrying stories. Ever. It seemed to me that
only one of my participants had their behaviour even close to being
under control (and that's what they'd admit to me).

I'd totally agree with Christopher's rant about the compulsive nature,
possibilities for deception, and other ethical issues involved in
online gambling. And these seemed to be greatly concentrated compared
to going to a casino: participants told me things like how they
gambled more often online, lost more, did it more as an individual
rather than a group behaviour.

I vowed never again to work on anything for gamblers. And the client
canned the payment service idea anyway. Phew.

That also made me think about the ethical dimension: whether or not to
accept a gig with something that's unpleasant, immoral or deceiving
and what those boundaries are. The boundaries were definitely blurred
for me on that particular occasion.

Caroline Jarrett
caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk
01525 370379

Effortmark Ltd
Usability - Forms - Content

31 Jul 2007 - 4:26pm
stauciuc
2006

Just a short note here: I would bet that it's not willful. Conscious, maybe,
but not willful. From what you describe and from my short experience with
poker machines as a kid, I would guess online gambling is just another kind
of human addiction. We have many of those, although just a few of them so
obvious, 'pathetic' or devastating. (I could imagine a few worse than
gambling, btw :) )

On 7/31/07, Christopher Fahey <chris.fahey at behaviordesign.com> wrote:
>
>
> But online gambling -- which in almost every case is nothing less than
> willful financial suicide -- presses so many more psychological buttons than
> no-stakes gaming, and has a radically and qualitatively different effect on
> the user's entire life, that IMHO it's an entirely different animal.
>
>
--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

31 Jul 2007 - 4:40pm
Mark Schraad
2006

A friend of mine (who is a behavioralist) was talking with me about a young child we both knew and one of the parent's parenting behavior. He sited the tendancy for many children to repeatedly ask their parent (or both) for whatever they wanted. The child will often keep asking if they suspect that the parent will eventually tire and give in. This parent was not strong emotionally and at some point would, very often, eventually give in after (x) times saying no.

He explained that it is the exact same pattern and behavior as a gambler standing at a slot machine. Repeated tries with a calculated risk... and a random and likely increasing chance of success with each successive try. It may be just the perception of an increased chance of winning in the case of slot machines. He noted that it was well documented and likely the most powerful pattern of addiction known. It certainly made me re-think my own consistency in parenting.

Not sure if it is of help... but certainly seamed relevant.

Mark

On Tuesday, July 31, 2007, at 05:28PM, "Sebi Tauciuc" <stauciuc at gmail.com> wrote:
>Just a short note here: I would bet that it's not willful. Conscious, maybe,
>but not willful. From what you describe and from my short experience with
>poker machines as a kid, I would guess online gambling is just another kind
>of human addiction. We have many of those, although just a few of them so
>obvious, 'pathetic' or devastating. (I could imagine a few worse than
>gambling, btw :) )
>
>
>On 7/31/07, Christopher Fahey <chris.fahey at behaviordesign.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>> But online gambling -- which in almost every case is nothing less than
>> willful financial suicide -- presses so many more psychological buttons than
>> no-stakes gaming, and has a radically and qualitatively different effect on
>> the user's entire life, that IMHO it's an entirely different animal.
>>
>>
>--
>Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
>http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

1 Aug 2007 - 5:12am
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

There is also a white paper on that topic published by AmberLight
Partners, a UK usability consultancy:

Gambling Online: a Psychological Approach to Engineering Interactive
Gaming Systems

http://www.amber-light.co.uk/resources/whitepapers/gambling_whitepaper_amberlight.pdf

Hope this helps,

Alex

23 Jun 2012 - 2:35pm
filipe34
2012

There's an interesting list here: http://www.problemgambling.vic.gov.au/main/taking-control/why-do-i-gamble

Regards,

Filipe

http://www.reviewfordev.com

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