a woman playing a virtual reality game

Ever wondered what really motivates gamers to keep playing? Is it the satisfaction of finally completing a level they have been stuck on for hours? The social aspect of playing with friends? Or is there something deeper at work?

As it turns out, there is a science to gamer motivation – and understanding it can not only help you design better games but also keep you coming back for more. Naturally, there are a number of elements to consider, with a number of drivers possible to explore. Some gamers continue to play because of the rewards they can get such as bonuses available at https://www.gambleonline.co/casino/bonus/ when playing their favorite casino games, to a sense of achievement and accomplishment when they master a traditional video game and conquer all of its levels/stages.

In this blog post, we will take a look at what motivates gamers and how game developers can use that knowledge to create more engaging experiences.

Human behavior and gaming

The first step to understanding gamer motivation is to understand what drives human behavior in general. And when it comes to human behavior, there are a number of different drivers that ought to be considered. By understanding these drivers, we can start to see how they play into why people keep coming back to games.

Pain avoidance

Pain avoidance is one of the most basic motivators for human beings. We are hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure, and this drives a lot of our behavior, both on an individual level and as a species. When it comes to games, pain avoidance can manifest itself in a few different ways. For example, many people play games to escape from their day-to-day lives or from negative emotions like boredom or stress. 

For some people, gaming provides an escape from the stresses of everyday life. In a study conducted by the University of Rochester, it was found that people who played video games experienced less stress and anxiety than those who did not play games. Games can also provide a sense of achievement and accomplishment, which can be especially helpful for people who struggle with confidence in their everyday lives.

Games can provide a welcome respite from reality, and this is one of the reasons why people keep coming back to them.

Another way that pain avoidance manifests itself in gaming is in the pursuit of mastery. When we feel like we are good at something, it gives us a sense of satisfaction and pride. And when we are not good at something, it can be frustrating—but that frustration can also be motivating. The challenge of trying to overcome a difficult game mechanic or enemy encounter can be its own form of motivation, pushing us to keep playing in order to achieve victory. 

Pleasure-seeking is another fundamental human motivator. We are constantly striving for experiences that make us feel happy, joyful, and fulfilled—and video games are no exception. Games provide us with a sense of accomplishment when we complete them. They can also provide moments of pure joy, whether it is the feeling of finally completing a challenging puzzle or simply exploring an imaginative world. 

Social Interaction

One of the most popular theories about gamer motivation is that people play games for social interaction. This theory is supported by the fact that many of the most popular games are ones that allow players to interact with each other, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty. Researchers have found that the social interaction that takes place during gaming can provide a sense of satisfaction and even lead to real-life friendships.


Another motivating factor for gamers is competition. Many people enjoy playing games because they provide an opportunity to test their skills against others. In some cases, gamers may even compete for prizes or trophies. Studies have shown that competition can lead to increased levels of enjoyment and satisfaction with gaming.

All of these things contribute to why people keep coming back to games—we want to experience those positive emotions over and over again.

Fear can actually drive gamers to play

Fear is a major driver of human behavior—and it is one that does not get talked about as often when it comes to games. But fear can actually be a very powerful motivator, especially when it comes to long-term player motivation. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a very real phenomenon, and it is one that game developers have capitalized on for years.

By creating worlds and characters that players become attached to, developers can motivate players to keep coming back in order not to miss out on the latest adventure their favorite characters are embarking on. FOMO can also manifest itself in more direct ways, such as the fear of losing progress or losing access to certain content (as is often the case with free-to-play mobile games). Whatever form it takes, fear is a powerful tool that game developers can use to keep players engaged over the long term.

Final Thoughts

As we can see, there are a number of different aspects and elements that need to be considered when it comes down to the science behind gamer motivation, with each one playing a significant role!

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Avatar for Annabel Johnson

Annabel Johnson

Part time gamer, reviewer and blogger. Full time geek and tech expert!

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