Four categories for meaningful discussion of immersion in video games.

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Abstract

The term ‘immersion’ is used frequently by professional video game developers (in both the entertainment and serious/applied industries), academics, journalists, and players. However, this word can refer to a range of different modes of engagement for players and standardisation would improve discussion of the topic. This paper suggests and explains four categories:
1. 'Systems immersion' can be used to describe when players are deeply engaged with the mechanics, challenges, and rules of a game, and is similar to a state of ‘flow’.
2. 'Spatial immersion' is the sense of a player being present in, or transported to, the virtual world, and is linked to the concept of embodiment.
3. 'Empathic/social immersion' describes the connection that a player may develop towards the characters (AI or human) and the social context of a game.
4. 'Narrative/sequential immersion' can be used to describe a player’s compulsion to see how a sequence of events continues, typically in a narrative, but this is related to any progression, such as exploring new spaces or evolving gameplay mechanics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalPublished on Researchgate
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2020

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