Motivations for Social Interaction: The Case of Pokémon Go After the Fad Ended

Jocelyn Evans, University of West Florida
Sara Z. Evans, Kennesaw State University
Daniel B. Shank, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Quinton P. Fallon, University of West Florida


Objective: We survey Pokémon Go players regarding motivations/patterns of gameplay and sociability over time to understand human interaction in augmented game settings. We disentangle effects of solo versus social and past versus current gameplay through replication of the Pokémon Go Motive Scale. Methods: We use OLS regression to determine how motivation affects hours of gameplay, to measure changes in hours spent playing Pokémon Go, and to capture perceptions of engagement with the game over time. Results: We find seven motivations: exercise, fun, escapism, nostalgia, friendship maintenance, relationship initiation, and achievement. Initiating new relationships leads to increased social playing time and increased perceptions of Pokémon Go as both interesting and challenging. Conclusion: Intrinsic rewards hold the most staying power as a distinct motivation for gameplay. Implications go beyond Pokemon Go gaming to shed light on the differential impact of human motivation for social interaction in games that utilize augmented reality.