New Media Society-2015-Dalisay-1399-417 (1)

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and politics.
Yung-I Liu
Communication at California State University, East Bay. Her research interests include communi
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communication patterns in an MMOG.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

use and game preference. In: Vorderer P and Bryant J (eds)
Playing Video Games: Motives,
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Coleman J (1988) Social capital in the creation of human capital.
94: S95–S120.

Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) (2013) How much do you know about video

al. (2008) Teens, video games and civics. Available at:

suggestions for the next generation of communication research investigating video games’
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2013; Steinkuehler and Williams, 2006), although there is also the likelihood that video
games inhibit particular types of interactions (Williams, 2006). This study provides evi
social-capital and civic vibrancy. On the other hand, being too motivated to play games
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civic engagement and political participation.

Also, it should be noted that attention to political news was the strongest predictor of the
dependent variables. This is also consistent with past research that has shown news use

should go beyond the college campus to include a wider diversity of participants to
pants being drawn from other countries where video games have been very popular (e.g.
ponents for each of the three components of motivations for game play. With the excep
tion of Escapism, we could not examine the independent effects that each of the other
subcomponents (Socializing, Relationship, Teamwork, Advancement, Mechanics,
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ernment action (Putnam, 2000). Political participation and civic engagement may differ

al., 2012). These
factors, however, may have no bearing on civic engagement. At any rate, it may be that
civically engaged, and thus, playing games to achieve does not reduce political participa
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.01), suggesting that being immersed in video games facilitates these forms of
engagement when the games are used in order to discover and explore new things, and
live through and customize characters. On the other hand, Immersion factor 2 (Escapism)

al., 2010; Steinkuehler and Williams, 2006). Our
study extended this literature by focusing on player motivation types (Yee, 2006) and

al., 2010), while
not affecting more general types of trust, such as the type examined in this study.
Therefore, further studies could examine possible differences on Social’s impact on
On the other hand, our results show that the Social motivation is associated with
higher levels of neighborliness, the other social capital indicator we examined. Because
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SocialAchievementImmersion 1:
The results for RQ1 show that Achievement and trust were not associated (Table 3).
.05). Also, there was a mar
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SocialAchievementImmersion 1:
How often do you find
yourself having meaningful
conversations with other
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We combined these five items into a single
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al. (2009) (1 =
): generally speaking, people can be trusted; in
general, people try to be fair; in general, people try to be helpful. These items were
= .89)

and your neighbors helped one another with small tasks, such as repair work (1 =
). We combined these items to form a single measure (
Civic engagement.

by asking respondents how often
money for charity or ran/walked/biked for charity. We combined these three items to
Political participation.

often they did the following in the last 12 months (1 =
unteered for political groups or candidates; voted in a local, state, or national election;
Attention to Political News3.4141.3651
Immersion 2: Escapism2.2021.0361
Political participation2.9111.5031
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Achievement is positively related to Social, suggesting Achievement
may also be positively associated with participation in civic and political activities,
much like the relationships we expect that Social will have with these forms of
engagement. Similarly, Williams (2006) has implied that playing immersive online
video games facilitates social engagement, finding that all players of an immersive
total explained 66.34% of the variance. The results of this analysis are reported in our
results section and in Table 2.
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Political participation is “activity that has the intent or effect of influencing government
action—either directly by affecting the making or implementation of public policy or indi

al., 1995:
38). Political participation includes various activities such as voting, contacting elected

We propose that the Social motivation for video game play will have positive
effects on civic engagement and political participation. As explained above, playing
video games may facilitate social interactions, a bedrock of engagement in civic and

2008) cited above found that teenagers who play games socially were more likely to
be engaged in civics and politics than those who played games primarily alone. Thus,
it is expected that being motivated to play a game for its social aspect would be posi
tively associated with civic engagement and political participation. We propose the
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institutions and communication processes, which then increase a sense of trust. In the
game world, as more interaction takes place, this increases
opportunities for self-disclo

higher in closer social circles, with players’ trust in teammates being the highest, fol
We propose that the Social motivation of video game play will be associated with

Previous research by Beaudoin (2011) suggests that use of civic media increases neigh
borliness. In particular, Beaudoin (2011) has found that exposure to socially oriented
campaign messages calling for people to help each other had positive effects on neigh
boring behavior.
We propose that the Social motivation for video play will lead to increases in neigh
sociable increases the likelihood of being neighborly, and facilitates interaction that can

their most “favorite feature” of playing the game was its social aspect. Similarly,
Steinkuehler and Williams (2006) examined the social functions of MMOGs in terms of
social engagement. They concluded that MMOGs provided spaces, or “third places,” for
social interaction and relationships beyond one’s home and workplace. We thus propose
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Kobayashi, 2010). The common consensus among scholars is that the concept is mani

Trust is defined as “the belief that people generally treat others fairly rather than try
to maximize their own gain at others’ expense” (Flanagan and Stout, 2010: 748). Trust is
an important lubricant underlying various forms of human relationships. The basic

al. (2010) suggests that video games foster strong social
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1) and foster a strong civil

2009), there is a need to examine how media such as video

are more trait-like rather than driven by user states. Bartle’s motivations include
upon, or help others). Extending and systematically examining Bartle’s conceptualiza
tion of these four player types, Yee (2006) used a factor analytical approach and showed
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al., 2010; Steinkuehler and Williams, 2006). For instance,
a recent study by Skoric and Kwan (2011) showed that civic gaming is associated with
increases in online social capital. Similarly, according to the Pew Gaming and Civic

al., 2008), teenagers’ game play experiences were
strongly associated with their engagement in civic and political activities. The same Pew
other players and organizing or managing game groups or guilds, reported higher levels
One common explanation for the pro-social benefits of video games is that their use

and Williams, 2006), which is a prerequisite for the promotion of social capital and a
bedrock for public engagement (Putnam, 2000). Conversely, there is the potential that
video games inhibit particular types of interactions. Williams (2006), for instance, sug
acting with others diminishes, and consequently, so too do levels of certain types of their

play motivations as a psychological explanation for the social capital and civic-promot
ing potential of video games. Specifically, this study analyzes three general motivations
for video game play identified by Yee (2006) as predictors of social capital (measured
with social trust and neighborliness), civic engagement, and political participation. The
motivations examined in this study include Social, Achievement, and Immersion.
This study’s focus on motivations for video game play is a departure from previous
research that has concentrated on the effects that playing specific types of games or hours
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and the social capital and civic
Francis Dalisay, School of Communications, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Crawford Hall 320, Honolulu, HI
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