Daniel Gibbons


The aim of this research was to investigate the experience of regularly playing online video games (OVG) in order to improve understanding of behaviour in OVGs. Three participants were recruited from two universities. Participants were interviewed using a semi-structured format, the recordings were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Analysis revealed eight emergent themes from the data, encapsulated in three master themes: 1) The importance of the social experience in online video games; 2) Issues within the culture of OVG’s; and 3) Versatility and importance of the OVG experience, with the latter being the most prominent theme throughout. Regular play in OVGs was interpreted as: facilitating social interaction; giving players a sense of community; developing social skills; creating a unique identity and image and providing a competitive release and immersive experience. Negative outcomes and experiences were interpreted, such as toxicity in OVG, potential negative behavioral outcomes and strained relationships as a result of regular play. In conclusion, OVGs provide an opportunity for immersion, social development, competitive release, but importantly present some issues for the individual experience. Future research should focus on the social and problematic aspects of the OVG experience.