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Video Game Uses and Gratifications as Predictors of Use and Game Preference
Unformatted Document Text:  Video game U&G 3 Video Game Uses and Gratifications as Predictors of Use and Game Preference Video games continue to be a highly popular form of entertainment. In 2000, over 219 million computer and video games were sold in the United States, and the video game industry reported sales of over $6 billion (Interactive Digital Software Association, n.d.). According to an industry poll conducted by IDSA (n.d.), 60% of Americans play video games, with 42% of game console users under 18 years of age, 37% between 18 and 35 years old, and 21% over 35 years old. An Annenberg Public Policy Center survey (Woodard & Gridina, 2000) estimates that video game consoles are in 68% of American homes with at least one 2- to 17-year-old and in 75% of homes with two or more children. These figures are expected to grow as high speed broadband Internet access facilitates networked game play. Clearly, video games have emerged as one of the most popular forms of mass mediated entertainment in the United States among a range of people. Despite this popularity, few mass communication researchers have studied the effects of these games. Of nearly 30 studies in a recent meta-analysis of the effects of violent video games on aggression (Sherry, 2001a), the vast majority of the studies were done by psychologists. Mass communication researchers offer a different perspective on the relationship between media and the user than psychologists. Psychological theories such as social learning theory (Bandura, 1977), priming effects (Berkowitz & Rogers, 1986), and desensitization (Drabman & Thomas, 1974), focus on learning of information, attitudes, and behaviors. As such, the theories ignore many of the other possible effects of mass communication. Of Chaffee’s (1977) 18-cell explication of media effects, psychological theories account for only three of the 18 cells. Psychologists typically do not address important questions of why people use media, how this use obtrudes on other activities, whether the presence of media artifacts change the social

Authors: Sherry, John. and Lucas, Kristen.
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Video game U&G 3
Video Game Uses and Gratifications as Predictors of Use and Game Preference
Video games continue to be a highly popular form of entertainment. In 2000, over 219
million computer and video games were sold in the United States, and the video game industry
reported sales of over $6 billion (Interactive Digital Software Association, n.d.). According to an
industry poll conducted by IDSA (n.d.), 60% of Americans play video games, with 42% of game
console users under 18 years of age, 37% between 18 and 35 years old, and 21% over 35 years
old. An Annenberg Public Policy Center survey (Woodard & Gridina, 2000) estimates that video
game consoles are in 68% of American homes with at least one 2- to 17-year-old and in 75% of
homes with two or more children. These figures are expected to grow as high speed broadband
Internet access facilitates networked game play. Clearly, video games have emerged as one of the
most popular forms of mass mediated entertainment in the United States among a range of
people.
Despite this popularity, few mass communication researchers have studied the effects of
these games. Of nearly 30 studies in a recent meta-analysis of the effects of violent video games
on aggression (Sherry, 2001a), the vast majority of the studies were done by psychologists. Mass
communication researchers offer a different perspective on the relationship between media and
the user than psychologists. Psychological theories such as social learning theory (Bandura,
1977), priming effects (Berkowitz & Rogers, 1986), and desensitization (Drabman & Thomas,
1974), focus on learning of information, attitudes, and behaviors. As such, the theories ignore
many of the other possible effects of mass communication. Of Chaffee’s (1977) 18-cell
explication of media effects, psychological theories account for only three of the 18 cells.
Psychologists typically do not address important questions of why people use media, how this
use obtrudes on other activities, whether the presence of media artifacts change the social


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