Self Determination Theory posits that in order to achieve intrinsic motivation, a behaviour must fulfil three main needs.
I would like to tell you about how we can apply SDT to look at Games. My research is about how we can use SDT to create better experiences.
Most people would agree that playing is an activity that they would perform willingly. It is a paradox to be forced to have fun. If you have been, then what you were having was most certainly not fun.
Lets take Football (or any sport) for instance. (Autonomy) A person who enjoys football is usually willingly playing by their own volition. (Competence) They have the ability to perform, whether it be just adequately or professionally, and they are feel a sense of belonging (Relatedness) amongst their teammates, club, and sportsmen.
We can even use SDT to look at games on a micro level. In a game of chess, there are many moves a player can make. The feeling of being able to decide what to do fulfils the need for Autonomy. Chess is a game of great depth and skill. Any game that can differentiate between levels of mastery fulfils the need for Competence. Chess is played with another person. The feeling of playing mind games with your opponent, deceiving, triumphing and overcoming their moves creates a sense of belonging between each player.
In ChronoFold, we have tried to fulfil these needs.