The Role of Structural Characteristics in Problem Video Game Playing: A Review


The structural characteristics of video games may play an important role in explaining why some people play video games to excess. This paper provides a review of the literature on structural features of video games and the psychological experience of playing video games. The dominant view of the appeal of video games is based on operant conditioning theory and the notion that video games satisfy various needs for social interaction and belonging. However, there is a lack of experimental and longitudinal data that assesses the importance of specific features in video games in excessive video game playing. Various challenges in studying the structural features of video games are discussed. Potential directions for future research are outlined, notably the need to identify what problem (as opposed to casual) players seek from the video games they play.

video games, structural characteristics, technology-based addiction
Author biographies

Daniel King

Author photoDr. Daniel King is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at the the University of Adelaide. His research considers the psychosocial impact of gaming and gambling technologies on young people.

Paul Delfabbro

Author photoAssoc. Prof. Paul Delfabbro is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide. He is author of over 120 reports and articles, another 120+ conference presentations and other publications in the areas of applied social research relating to foster care, gambling and other areas of social

Mark Griffiths

Author photoProf. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Professor of Gambling Studies at the Nottingham Trent University (UK), and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He is internationally known for his work into gambling and gaming addictions and has won ten recognition awards. He has published over 250 refereed research papers, three books, 65 book chapters, and over 1000 other articles mainly in the area of gambling, gaming and behavioural addiction.

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