In Competitive Video Game Play: An Investigation of Identification and Competition by Robert P. Griffiths, Matthew S. Eastin and Vincent Cicchirillo, the authors highlight how passive and active sports consumption, such as video games, allows sports fans to identify with their favorite sports teams. Sports games are the second highest selling genre of video games, next to the action games genre. Griffiths et., al. define identification as a “mechanism through which audience members experience reception and interpretation of the text from the inside, as if the events were happening to them”, meaning identification is a motivation for and an outcome from media exposure.
There were three conditions total being looked at in this study. The first condition is the saliency of the match, how much is at stake. The second condition was team identification and the third condition was competitive outcome. What was found in this research was that competition is related to hostility and the enjoyment of playing sports video games.
Understanding who the gamer is playing as or against influences affective outcomes. As a sports video gamer on occasion, it was very eye-opening to be agreeing with the study done by Griffiths, Eastin and Cicchirillo. crunn 52 makes a good point when comparing this study to politics. “It seems that competition between the Democrats and Republicans grow more and more exaggerated each and every year… Why might that be? For one there is a major issue with identification in the States. For the most part, citizens identify as Democratic or Republican and that’s it. It doesn’t matter who the leader of their party is for the presidential campaign is, whichever party one identifies with, that’s who they vote for, in part due to their views aligning more with that candidate, and in part because they don’t want the opposing party in power.”
With the rise of e-sports around the world, this paper is very relevant today. Millions of people all over the globe participate in sports video game tournaments, competing for a grand prize of thousands of dollars (while action video game tournaments reach the millions). The target audience for this research are the gamers, specifically those that prefer sports video games over action. This study provides a glimpse into the affective reactions to competitive situations that are continually built upon, stored and strengthened over time. Since video games afford general learning behaviour, reactions experienced during gaming transcend into fan behavior, and general personality traits triggered by competitive events.