What factors attract people to play romantic video games?

Mayu Koike, Steve Loughnan, Sarah C E Stanton, Midori Ban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

People in romantic relationships often benefit from improved mental and physical health and well-being. Today, these relationships can be recreated using virtual agents. For instance, some people anthropomorphize and fall in love with a virtual partner in a romantic video game. Although previous psychological research has examined anthropomorphized agents, it has neglected virtual romantic relationships. This study aims to examine the desire to play underlying playing romantic video games (RVGs). In Study 1, 43 Japanese participants completed a survey about their desire to play RVGs and their current romantic relationship status. The research revealed that a human-like voice and the use of touch were perceived as important factors in anthropomorphized relationships. In Study 2, an independent sample of 281 Japanese participants replicated the results of Study 1 regarding the importance of voice and touch in RVGs. Moreover, we found that a desire to develop social skills and alleviate negative emotions independently desire to play RVG use. As an important first step, these findings reveal several factors which might contribute to developing a romantic relationship with a virtual agent.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0231535
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Early online date16 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Love
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Psychological Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Video Games/psychology
  • Young Adult


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