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.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems