Abstract

To effectively design digital games and gamified systems, it is important to better understand the psychological and behavioral processes players use to reach goals. Although numerous prior studies have examined individuals’ adoption, use, and continued use of digital games, few attempts have been made to understand how people desire and strive to achieve goals. The objective in this study was to develop and test a model of individuals’ achievement of goals in digital gaming. Drawing upon theories of goal-directed behavior, we proposed a conceptual model describing goal setting, goal striving, goal attainment, and feedback evaluations in the context of mobile gaming. To empirically test the proposed model, we collected two sets of (cross-sectional and longitudinal) data from 407 users of Pokémon GO. The results generally indicated that goal-directed effort plays an important role in translating goal desire into goal attainment. In addition, we found prior game points and goal desire have interaction effects on goal-directed effort and subsequent acquisition of game points. Finally, this study shows that action strategies such as in-game payment and deliberate planning have differential effects on goal-directed effort and satisfying experiences. Overall, our findings provide empirical support for the efficacy of our goal-oriented model as a theoretical tool for explaining the process of goal striving to obtain game points. Our findings not only have important implications for digital gaming but also contribute to emerging research on gamified systems.

DOI

10.17705/1jais.00733

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