Although research extols the positive effects of social gaming, the dynamic processes underlying these effects remain unclear. In a hitherto unused approach in this field, we utilised a Smartphone App to model the effect of in-vivo flow and gaming context on positive mood. We also explored individual-level factors including demographic gaming variables (average hours per week playing, gamer-type, preferred type of play) and Big-5 personality traits. Data was obtained from 41 gamers producing a total of 2796 data-points. Multi-level modelling revealed positive mood was associated with in-vivo reports of flow in gameplay, current context and individual-level variance in the number of hours typically spent engaged in playing per week. Specifically, in-vivo positive mood was higher for players when playing online with friends (relative to those playing solo). Higher reports of flow were, nonetheless, associated with decreases in positive mood. Finally, players who indicated playing less frequently experienced higher positive mood, relative to those who played more. These findings support and extend previous work which explores the emotional affordances of gaming and highlight the importance of obtaining situated measures of experiences. They demonstrate that positive mood in gaming is not static, but changeable depending on one’s current gaming environment and flow.
- Digital gaming