Effects of Contingent and Non-Contingent Audio on Performance and Quality of Experience in a Role-Playing Video Game
The aim of this study was to explore the influence of different levels of sound on players’ video game performance and quality of experience. Twenty-three male participants with previous Role-Playing Game experience played The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo, 2006) on the Wii console for five 45-min sessions. Employing a within-subjects design, we exposed gamers to four levels of video game audio: Full Sound (screen and Wiimote), Partial-Sound (Wiimote only), No Sound, and Non-Contingent Music (unrelated background music played on a boombox). Measures included multiple performance scores. Questionnaire ratings included enjoyment, selfappraisal of performance, telepresence, and flow. Surprisingly, no significant differences were found for the sound conditions for most performance and quality of experience measures. However, significant results were found for the number of ‘continues,’ which are a game feature players use when they run out of ‘life.’ Further, when some performance measures were recalculated to include only scores earned before the first continue was used, significant results were found for the positive effect of sound on performance. Unexpectedly, highest scores for most performance measures were yielded in the non-contingent music condition. Findings of general interest to video game research were also discussed.