Excited for Eudaimonia? An Emergent Thematic Analysis of Player Expectations of Upcoming Video Games

Sponsor: Game Studies Division
Thu, 11/17: 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM CST
Marriott 
Room: Preservation Hall Studio 8 - 2nd Floor 
Video games are celebrated for their capacity to elicit myriad emotional experiences, from fun and excitement (hedonia) to reflection and contemplation (eudaimonia). Less clear is the extent to which gamers have salient eudaimonic expectations of upcoming games. The current study reports on an emergent thematic analysis of responses from N = 877 fans of five game franchises known to vary in their eudaimonic capacity: Far Cry 6, Final Fantasy XVI, Forza Horizon 5, Mass Effect 5, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. We identified 15 themes across seven categories: familiarity, aesthetics, relationships, emotions, immersion, game features, and developer notes. Most themes focused on discrete game features, while the few themes aligning with eudaimonia (e.g., "emotions: personal meaning") were mentioned infrequently. Gamers seem more likely to express expectations for specific content over more abstract affective experiences, offering further evidence that eudaimonia is less anticipated and more discovered during gameplay.

Author

Nicholas David Bowman, Syracuse University  - Contact Me

Co-Author(s)

Daniel Possler, IJK Hannover  - Contact Me
Rowan Daneels, University of Antwerp  - Contact Me