While Griffiths et al’s paper Competitive Video Game Play: An Investigation of Identification and Competition does a great job at articulating its research and findings in terms of various components and potential variables that could contribute to player’s behavioral reactions to sports video game outcomes, it seems to lack in providing much new substantial evidence to work with.
The decision to conduct an experiment which has essentially already been conducted more than once, and on top of that with straightforward results, looks to be questionable to me. Some major results in this paper were that losing in a competitive video game leads to greater levels of hostility while winning leads to greater levels of enjoyment. Quite an obvious finding that does not seem to need replicating. They also wanted to take a look at the way players identify with game characters in relation to competitiveness and behavioral reactions, yet they decided to use a sports game for the sake of this experiment which I believe does not seem to be nearly as appropriate in this context as another type of video game. They did not find any supporting data when looking at identification in relation to hostility and enjoyment. This is not surprising given the kind to game they used for their research. It seems quite redundant and makes me wonder why, given their ability to conduct an experiment, they would not examine something that has had much less exposure. For example, they mention briefly how the identity and proximity of the opponent could play a big factor in players levels of hostility toward the game. This is something very ineteresting and relevent that could have been looked into more as they even aknowledge the lack of research done surrounding this aspect. The relevance is much greater, especially in this day and age where more and more we rely on the screen to shield us from unwanted social interactions and confrontation. It could be interesting to look at videogames in the context of technology and social behavior.
All this is not to say that there is nothing to gain from this paper. They make a good point when discussing how their research is relevent to the topic of violence in video games. Aggression in players is influenced by more than simply violence. Competition outcome plays an important role in dictating players behavioral outcomes. Their research shows that competition alone can be enough to lead players to exhibit hostile post-game behavior. This is an interesting finding that can propel new research forward!