Entertainment motivations and gaming-specific gratifications as antecedents of digital game enjoyment and appreciation

Media psychological research has identified a broad range of gratifications that can result from playing digital games and fuel players’ entertainment experiences. Most of these studies focused on pleasurable, hedonic entertainment experiences (i.e., enjoyment). However, scholarship increasingly acknowledges that digital games can also offer more profound (eudaimonic) entertainment experiences, characterized by the feeling of being moved and the experience of meaningfulness (i.e., appreciation). Knowledge about the antecedents of this form of digital game entertainment experiences is still sparse; thus, the present study investigates the role of well-established gaming gratifications for the emergence of both enjoyment and appreciation. Additionally, trait-like preferences for eudaimonic and hedonic entertainment (i.e., entertainment motivations) are investigated as possible antecedents of players’ entertainment experiences. Empirically, the study builds on a two-wave online survey of US players of the action-role-playing game Mass Effect: Andromeda (n = 1,074). The findings show that obtained gaming-specific gratifications are closely related to players’ enjoyment but also to their appreciation of the game. In contrast, trait-like entertainment motivations only exert a small influence on both entertainment experiences. Implications for theorizing and investigating gaming entertainment experiences are discussed.


Possler, D., Kümpel, A. S., & Unkel, J. (2019). Entertainment motivations and gaming-specific gratifications as antecedents of digital game enjoyment and appreciation. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000248