Me vs. Super(wo)man: Effects of Customization and Identification in a VR Exergame (CHI 2020)

Customised avatars are a powerful tool to increase identification, engagement and intrinsic motivation in digital games. We investigated the effects of customisation in a self-competitive VR exergame by modelling players and their previous performance in the game with customised avatars. In a first study we found that, similar to non-exertion games, customisation significantly increased identification and intrinsic motivation, as well as physical performance in the exergame. In a second study we identified a more complex relationship with the customisation style: idealised avatars increased wishful identification but decreased exergame performance compared to realistic avatars. In a third study, we found that 'enhancing' realistic avatars with idealised characteristics increased wishful identification, but did not have any adverse effects. We discuss the findings based on feedforward and self-determination theory, proposing notions of intrinsic identification (fostering a sense of self) and extrinsic identification (drawing away from the self) to explain the results.

Koulouris, J, Jeffery, Z, Best, J, O'Neill, E & Lutteroth, C 2020, Me vs. Super(wo)man: Effects of Customization and Identification in a VR Exergame. in Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. vol. 2020-April, CHI Conference on Human Factors and Computing Systems, Association for Computing Machinery, New York, USA, pp. 1-17.

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