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The effect of expectations on perceived enjoyment as a patientgamer

As a sort of meta-observation about this subreddit, I've noticed that a lot of posts/reviews contain a segment regarding expectations of a game, particularly if it has been an overwhelmingly positive game but also controversial games.

In my own personal experience, I have had a tendency to not enjoy games that I went into having a negative expectation about. One quick example: Watch_Dogs 2, while I knew that it had generally been well received by the media, I had also heard about the Ubisoft formula and how this was a game that fit into that category from this subreddit. As such, I told myself to try to enjoy it, but also was quite hesitant to spend time on a game with "filler content". The result was that I found myself getting impatient quite quickly and frustrated with the mechanics, which in retrospective I feel like I should have given more of a chance.

This sort of idea has been supported by some research1, too. They demonstrated that negative expectations lead to lower ratings than positive ones even though negative expectations are more easily exceeded. However, there seems to be contradictory evidence, too, and this sort of research doesn't seem to have been done on media such as film, television, or games. Also, I think that something to remember would be that other people's ratings can affect us in different ways: cynics might tend to doubt media reception and have opposite expectations, for example. Also, personal experiences from those close to us might have a bigger effect.

Read more:  BioShock Infinite offers a ton of resting points for the player to take a break and enjoy the nice scenery the game has provided

I'd like to know what your experiences have been with the effect of expectations of enjoyment on a game. Furthermore, do you think that it would be possible to exploit these phenomena to increase one's enjoyment? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

<1> Hartmann, Jan, Antonella De Angeli, and Alistair Sutcliffe. "Framing the user experience: information biases on website quality judgement." Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. 2008.


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