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A Study on Rage-quitting: Hurtful Experiences or Gaming Influence?

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We?ve all had that moment when, during a particularly boring or rainy night, we find ourselves the butt of ridicule online. We?ve just lost in a battle arena game, or a particularly one-sided PvP battle, and because of that, we?re being taunted here and there for our weakness. It?s outright torture to be the butt of everyone?s jokes; suffice it to say that at one point in time, we?ve seen ourselves turning our PCs off in a very violent manner, or, for the same reason, throwing our console?s controller out of the window or right across the street.

Welcome to the world of rage-quitting.

What exactly causes a person to rage-quit? Personally, I also know of such a person, a good friend who used to frequently play StarCraft with us in the good old? days. He was a kind guy, real studious type, who was the silent guy in the group. However, when we go to the game shop, in good clean fun, he joins in the trash talk based on whichever team he is on. However, if his team loses, and badly, I might add, he transforms into a really different person. Is there a cause to this phenomenon? How about the content of the games he plays or that we play?

There is a recent study that said violence wasn?t linked to a video game?s content; rather, it is a summation of a gamer?s experience of failure or frustration when playing. This is a familiar feeling for most gamers who do experience a lot of losing at one time. One reason why this was not revealed earlier was because it was the games themselves who were the subject of a lot of study; this is one of the first times that a study looked into a player?s psyche.

This isn?t an isolated phenomenon, though. The occurrence of rage-quitting is just as prevalent in other situations, such as sports, that are competitive in nature. It?s more of a person?s loss of control in that current situation that brings the aggression out in them, says the study. This is also regardless of a game?s violence; some contact sports are not that violent to elicit such a response.

Taking the Measurements

The study was joined in by college-aged participants that numbered in the 600s. These gamers were asked to play custom-made video games across lab experiments. These games were manipulated, either becoming harder to finish or harder to control.

One such study involved players having to dip their hand in painfully cold water treatments for 25 seconds. These participants were led to believe that each previous participant determined the time for the dip of the next participant; in actuality, all the participants were given the same 10 seconds of dipping their hands. Afterwards, they were given Tetris versions to play, with some being more difficult than others.

All in all, the researchers believed that the degree of difficulty and mastery of the game?s controls were the key to making these players aggressive. If they were in the losing end, it is this frustration that leads to the rage-quitting. Even games such as Tetris and Candy Crush were enough to make the aggression come out, and these games were even more efficient in eliciting such a response vs. first- or third-person shooters.

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