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Social networking games: Effect on teenagers

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Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1 Background

Playing computer games or video games becoming a dominant part in most people life especially teenagers. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2005 (Cheryl, 2013) found that on any given day, 65% of 8 to 10 year old and 63% of 11 to 14 years old play video or computer game in US. Nowadays, due to the development of technology, people slowly diverted to social networking game. As there is a huge increase of number of teenagers playing social network over the year and create an opportunities for multibillion business to be growth. As continuity grown in social networking site also stimulate the growth of social networking games. According to a new statistic gather by Parks Associates, revenues in the social games market will increase by 500% from 2010 to 2015 (Parks Associates, 2011).Besides, according Datamonitor (2008), the value of the global online game market has rapidly expanded from US$3.4 billion in 2005 to US$13 billion in 2012. On average, there were over 4000 thousand new games being launched in the app store and play store (Miczaika, 2013). In other word, it is a big business industry that attracts many game developers to join in and it also showing that it would be essential to understand what motivated people to play and success in getting a significant share in the industry.

A social networking game can also know as casual game as due to its distinctive feature which using social networking as a platform such as Facebook and LINE which require user to login with social networking account before proceed to the gaming. According to Fields & Cotton (2012), social games can defined as games that use an external social network of some type to facilitate the user’s interaction with other players and these social interactions can help drive adoption of the games and retain players. One of the best examples to be use is the Farmville which record 60 million users (The Guardian, 2009). This once again indicates that social games have become very popular in recent years. One of the possible reasons for being such is due these games enable user to interact with other through sending gift or chat and competition among other gamer where different with traditional games which can play alone. Other than that, according to the White Night Mobile Game Conference (2013), there were over 64% diamond dash gamer login through Facebook to have access to the popular social networking games and the COO of Wooga, Jan Miczaika also saying that on average, gamer on Wooga play average 2 game on a given day. Over the year many research done to find out what is the impact of this phenomena as study how the social networking games bring what consequences to teenager on playing it such as drop in academic study and other. Most research that is conducted is mainly interested and focuses on how games are influencing the teenager’s behaviour such as how gaming lead to aggressive and violence behaviour which closely related how people behave.

Social networking games in these day providing people with a brand new insight of gaming to gamer. As social networking games offer a wide range of games from traditional games, casual games to skill games that meet various interests of gamers. However, the social networking games now has turn over become a multibillion dollar business, it also shown that there is a need to understand what actually make it some interesting to attract people to play on it especially teenager. According to Playfish (2009), the social gaming publisher, almost 80% of their gamer is 18-34 years old and male and female fairly divided. At the same time, another popular social gaming, Diamond dash which develop by Wooga is receiving 1.9 million visitor come each month through Facebook Request (Miczaika, 2013).Thus in this research we would like to focus on what motivates teenagers to play social networking game that provide better knowledge for the future development in the industry. The rapidly growth on this social networking games industry has making it attractive enough to attract other game developer to develop social networking games. This once again shows that social gaming is today world the dominant in gaming industry to be developed in coming year times. In other word, this also shown that, this area of research is highly interested by many researchers. As to avoid and protect the platform users from spamming effect from other user especially game request, Facebook has introduced a new policy and setting of game as one of the approach to prohibit the spamming effect to be viral and this make difficult for developer to recruit new gamer and it would be more easier for them to understand what motivated people to play and help in the marketing and developing of game (Clipperton, 2013).

According to the perception of Self-Determination Theory, motivation can came from various intrinsic and extrinsic sources as it also focus on how the social and cultural factor influencing people’s motivation on engaging themselves in activities. Individual’s experience such as autonomy, competence,andrelatednessare one of the forms of motivation to engagement for activities (Self-Determination theory, n,p).Thus in the research, we would conceptualise and categories the motivation into few type so that it is measurable. For example, goal or reward, excitement, interesting graphic, peer effect, leader board. Leader boards can be one of the motivations that motivate teenager step into playing social games. As anyone who grew up in the video game generation they will never realise that leader boards are the invisible encouragement to motivate players try harder in the games (Mashable, 2011). Players will desire to do better to achieve high ranking in the leader boards as they may compete with their friends or nationwide.

1.2 Statement of Research Problem

As mentioned above, the purpose of doing this research is to investigate the reason that bring by the social networking games and their motivation towards the teenager to play the games. From our observation and searching, we found that there are a lot of researches have completed the study in this gaming scope. But we found that, most of the researches were more focus on the study of the impacts or the influences of playing games instead of what the reason behind that make them to play games. So, this is one of the reasons why we are conducting a research to figure out the actual reason that attaches the teenagers with the games. There are a few factors that motivates or connecting them with the game in their daily life. According to Scoresby and Shelton (2011), a computer game environment creates motivation through emotionally linking the player to the content. It is the interaction between sensory stimulation, environmental factors and a player’s internal tendencies that encourage involvement and enable immersion (Witmer and Singer, 1998). People are motivated by various factors such as own self-interest, care and also to satisfied their curiosity as well. According to the Self-Determination Theory, Intrinsic motivation can be characterized by free choice, interest, optimal challenge and psychological needs, such as reflectance, personal causation, competence, autonomy and social needs (Deci and Ryan, 1990). These intrinsic motivations are not necessarily internally rewarded but nonetheless they can sustain passion, creativity and efforts.

Besides, as the technology grows time by time, games on the internet especially social networking games are becoming popular as the generations nowadays tend to engage themselves on it. The social networking games such as the Facebook games, are one of the type of social networking games that loved by the teenagers. Social networking game functions by letting the players interacting with each other through various ways. The uniqueness of game study is its focus on the process rather than the results of game use (Barr et al., 2007). Games also possess interdisciplinary integration and interaction with player through multidimensional elements such as set, character, animation and music. So we can see from here, game study it involve a very complicated and extensive field that merits more attention from researcher (Kai-Shuan Shen, 2012). We found that previous researches mostly were study on the video games or other type of game but social networking game is still fresh for the researcher to investigate what is the attractive characteristic that linked the teenagers to the social networking games. The factors that engage teenager with the video games or other games type are different compared to the social networking game as this game type are new.

Different social networking game in different region has different cultural background which may have different motivations that lead those teenagers to engage to the game. Although there are few researches have done the study on this motivation’s perspective, but the research couldn’t represent the study in Malaysia. In Malaysia, there is still fresh for the research to study the reason why the social networking is interesting enough to be played by those teenagers. People in Malaysia may have different reason of motivation when they engaging with the social networking game compared to the other western country. This is because cultural background is different for those people from different country. They may have different interest towards social networking games. Sometimes a person engage with a particular online game is because he or she feels that the game is closely related to his or her cultural background, and thus, he or she will feel motivated to play the game. So, we will specifically study about why the teenagers in Malaysia are motivated to play the social networking game.

1.3 Research Objective

To investigate the motive behind playing social networking games

1.4 Research Questions

1.) What motivates college student to play social networking game?

1.5 Significance of study

In this 21st century, social media become part of life in this world and the people who get influence are increase complexly. Most of the people interact and use social media for different purpose. In this research, we want further explore the motivation behind the social networking games that motivate teenager to play and get a better understand and knowledge in this major industry.

1.6 Research Scope

The focus scope of this research is to analyse what are the motivation that motivate college student towards the social networking games. We will focus our study about what is the motive behind that makes college student o involve in social network games. As such, our primary target audience of this research would be college student who fall in between the range of age around 19-25, which is the people who born from early 1989 until 1995. Audience in these range of age are our targeted sample as they are those college students which is highly participated in playing games no matter in in the form of online or offline and they were most likely those core target audience of game developer.

From social media platform, such as Facebook, Google Plus, college student can get motivation to involve themselves to the use of information technology such as social media and social gaming with both motivation factors which including intrinsic and extrinsic reason. (Davist al., 1992). Social media and games have a powerful yet invisible power to keep all of us engaged and connected with each other in this world. In this research, we would use non probability sampling method to make a sample size that consist 200 people that age between 19 - 25 as to be accurate is all college student that play social network game.

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