Tomorrow will be better: Gamers’ expectation and game usage

Tzu Ling Huang, Gen Yih Liao, T. C.E. Cheng, Wei Xuan Chen, Ching I. Teng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Online games generate enormous revenues for game makers, but game makers encounter the difficulty in ensuring that in-game tasks are sufficiently challenging to elicit achievement satisfaction from gamers, while not excessively challenging to elevate frustration. To address this problem, we applied expectancy-value theory (EVT) to the online gaming context. Specifically, our study aims to examine how gaming frustration, gamers' need for achievement, and the expectation of gaming advancement jointly shape in-game achievement satisfaction and, by extension, increase actual game usage. To test our model, we collected survey and behavioral data from 848 participants, thus generating a two-wave, and two-source dataset. We found that gamers’ evaluations of success probability (expectation of gaming advancement) prominently determined their expected value (in-game achievement satisfaction), thus enhancing their continued use, use frequency, and actual usage. Whereas traditional EVT assumes a single and stable probability of achievement with regard to an event, we argue that perceptions of the probability of gaming achievements in the immediate future (now) differ from perceptions of such achievements in the more distant future, with the latter being more influential. By contextualizing EVT, we offer guidance to game makers who aim to keep users engaged, suggesting that they should design challenging in-game tasks that also elicit the hope of future gaming achievements, resulting in continued use, use frequency, and sustained gameplay. We conclude by offering insights for the makers of online games.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108021
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Achievement
  • Advancement
  • Continued use
  • Expectancy-value theory
  • Expectation
  • Frustration
  • Game design
  • Online game
  • Usage behavior
  • User experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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