The Impact of Game Mechanic Preference, Gaming Motivation and Personality on Video Game Engagement

This project investigates which game mechanics are best suited to increasing engagement, using several participants from gaming backgrounds.

A person wearing headphones while playing video games


Research background

Gamification refers to the application of game mechanics to a non-game context, usually for the purpose of increasing behavioural engagement toward a non-game activity. Existing findings suggest that gamification often be successful, but equally unsuccessful.

Researchers have suggested that the success of gamification can be strongly determined by the game mechanics applied to the non-game context, meaning that different game mechanics are likely to have different impacts on behavioural engagement toward the non-game activity. With this in mind, there is no study to date that has explored which game mechanics are best suited to increasing engagement. Inferences however can be made when approaching this topic from a gaming motivation perspective.

This project has been funded by the BLSS Doctoral College.

Research aims

Several studies have identified how the fostering of some gaming motivations can lead to gamers directing a significantly higher degree of behavioural engagement toward playing. The fostering of these motivations, however, are not a general feature of all video games. Instead, it is argued that the opportunity to foster and fulfil these Gaming Motivations are made available in a given genre or title because of the game mechanics present in the games’ design. The aim of the study was to identify which game mechanics are most likely to increase behavioural engagement, by also identifying which game mechanics are suited and necessary in facilitating fostering of Gaming Motivations that are associated with increased behavioural engagement. The intended impact was to have an empirical starting point from which more tailored forms of gamification can be further explored.

How was the research carried out?

Online survey methodologies. Participants were recruited from several gaming-oriented Reddits (n=900). They were required to complete motivation measures as well as a game mechanic rating task.


Identification of which game mechanics are associated with increased behavioural engagement, and which game mechanics are best suited in facilitating the fostering of gaming motivations that are associated with increased behavioural engagement.