Player identification in online games: validation of a scale for measuring identification in MMOGs

Year of publication: 2012
Author(s): Van Looy J.; Courtois C.; De Vocht M. & De Marez L.
Appeared in: Media Psychology, vol.: 15, issue: 2, 197 - 221


This article proposes a scale for measuring player identification in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). Three dimensions have been derived from the literature, avatar identification, group identification, and game identification, whereby avatar identification is a second-order factor consisting of similarity identification, wishful identification, and embodied presence. Based on the results of a cross-sectional survey of 544 World of Warcraft players, the measurement instrument’s proposed factorial structure was confirmed and the constructs were successfully tested for convergent validity. Subsequently, support for nomological validity was gathered by testing nine theoretically rooted hypotheses linking the identification constructs to motivations for playing MMOGs. The results show that avatar identification is positively associated with roleplay, customization, and escapism; group identification with socializing and relationship; and game identification with escapism, discovery, advancement, and mechanics. These findings indicate that the Player Identification Scale provides a reliable measure of identification in online games ready to be used and further validated in subsequent research.

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