Exploring sociality and engagement in play through game-control distribution (PDF)
Marco C. Rozendaal, Bram A. L. Braat, Stephan A. G. Wensveen
This study explores how distributing the controls of a video game among multiple players affects the sociality and engagement experienced in game play. A video game was developed in which the distribution of game controls among the players could be varied, thereby affecting the abilities of the individual players to control the game. An experiment was set up in which eight groups of three players were asked to play the video game while the distribution of the game controls was increased in three steps. After each playing session, the players’ experiences of sociality and engagement were assessed using questionnaires. The results showed that distributing game control among the players increased the level of experienced sociality and reduced the level of experienced control. The game in which the controls were partly distributed led to the highest levels of experienced engagement, because the game allowed social play while still giving the players a sense of autonomy. The implications for interaction design are discussed.