University of Oulu

The motivational landscape of first-person shooter games

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Author: Finnerman, Tomi1; Kuoppala, Antti1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Pages: 122
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Finnerman; A. Kuoppala, 2014
Publish Date: 2014-03-13
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Saraniemi, Saila
Koivumäki, Timo
Pohjosenperä, Timo
Reviewer: Saraniemi, Saila
Koivumäki, Timo
Pohjosenperä, Timo


The purpose of this research was to gain better understanding of the motivations to play video games, particularly first-person shooter games. The aim was therefore to produce a motivational landscape that describes and categorizes the main motivations to play first-person shooter games (FPS).

The study tries to expand the understanding of motivations to play. Therefore, qualitative research method was chosen for gaining a better understanding. The chosen research strategy is case study and the cases used in this study are Battlefield 3 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These two cases represent popular games in FPS-genre. The empirical material was collected by using semi-structured interviews. Total of seven (7) persons were interviewed for this study. All interviewees were Finnish males (ages 22–28) that are experienced gamers.

This study expands the motivation research of gaming. From the academic standpoint, the study offers an empirically grounded categorization for analyzing the motivations to play FPS-games: achievement, learning, social interaction, entertainment and escapism. The study gives structure to a complex and elusive subject of motivation, deepens the understanding of the content of the categories and reveals the underlying processes behind it. In addition, the study makes a division between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

From managerial standpoint, the study offers comprehensive and balanced structure for evaluating games in terms of their motivational appeal and may therefore help in game development. Game developers should understand that the game needs to provide enough intrinsic motivation to keep players interested. Extrinsic motivation should be used as something that enhances the gameplay experience without destroying it. In-depth understanding of the player’s motivations to play is a vital part of every game company’s business decision-making practices. Video game companies should consider motivations to play when they design monetization models for their games. From a societal standpoint, the parents of gamers could benefit from this study by understanding more of what is actually happening when their children play FPS-games.

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Copyright information: © Tomi Finnerman; Antti Kuoppala, 2014. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.