The journal Computers in Human Behavior published a new research article by Benedikt Morschheuser, Marc Riar, Prof. Alexander Mädche and our colleague from Tampere University of Technology Prof. Juho Hamari. In this article, we investigate how games and their game features induce and cultivate cooperation. Drawing on cooperation theory and particularly the concept of we-intentions, we empirically study how cooperative games induce we-intentions of working as a group.
Seamless cooperation between individuals is essentially a crucial aspect of any successful endeavor. A host of literature has been published both in the academic realm as well in more popular venues about how cooperation could be cultivated. However, true cooperation often forms organically without external enforcement.
Recently, there has been one special example of a context where cooperation seems to effortlessly sprung up between people who might not even have had previous connections, not just between individuals, but across wide spectrum of people. The context is video/online games; games such as Ingress, Pokémon Go, and World of Warcraft bind people all over the world together to work against insurmountable odds and to overcome jointly held challenges. Thus, organizations of many types have recently begun to gamify their structures and services in order to cultivate such seamless cooperation.
However, before this potential of games can be successfully wielded outside video games, we need to understand better how games are able to cultivate such cooperation. Therefore, in this study we investigate how games can induce and cultivate we-intention of working as a group. Specifically, we investigate how cooperative game features affect different forms of group dynamics and how they further translate into we-intentions. We employ data from users of the augmented reality game Ingress (N = 206). The results show that cooperative game features induce we-intentions via positively increasing group norms, social identity, joint commitment, attitudes toward cooperation, and anticipated positive emotions. The findings imply that practitioners who are looking to increase cooperation should find that gamification inspired by cooperative game design is beneficial and preferable over individual-based gamification efforts.
Please see the paper for full details.
Morschheuser, B., Riar, M., Hamari, J., & Maedche, A. (2017). How games induce cooperation? A study on the relationship between game features and we-intentions in an augmented reality game. Computers in human behavior, 77, 169-183. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.026