Spotify, a digital music service, now has a hub from where gamers can listen to their favorite game music. Sources say the Hub has music tracks of both classic and newly-released titles. It’s called Spotify Gamers and is basically a curated list of soundtracks.
Slashgear reports that the soundtracks on the list “mostly include regular songs from existing artists, but are still well-chosen to match the mood gamers are looking for.”
And, this gives us an opportunity to look at why music is an integral part of a video game.
Zehnder S.M., Lipscomb S.D. (2006) contend that music in video games “can serve to “enhance a sense of immersion, cue narrative or plot changes, act as an emotional signifier, enhance the sense of aesthetic continuity, and cultivate the thematic unity of a video game”.
It greatly increases the immersive experience of the user. Immersion as understood here is the sense of being “in a game” where a person’s thoughts, attention and goals are all focused in and around the game.
Understanding the study
This study, titled, The Influence of Background Music of Video Games on Immersion, argued that music in games “contributes to a sense of presence or even immersion in a game by creating an illusion of the game world as an actual space.”
The game The King of Fighters (1997) was used for the experiment. It’s a simple game where two characters stand separately on the two sides and begin to fight with each other after a start command. Few players were asked to put on an earphone while others played the game without any music.
Each game lasts for minutes. Soon after they finished playing, the players were asked to make an evaluation of the game and then finish the color stroop task. Participants were instructed to distinguish the color of words as quickly as possible while maintaining a high level of accuracy.
Results of the study
The results basically supported the hypothesis at the beginning. The background music did increase players’ immersion.
The improvement of immersion caused by background music seemed to just exist with gamers will less experience that that of more experience.
Gamers with music were more easily absorbed into the gameplay and forgot the time passing, which lead to a more serious time distortion.
Spotify’s move is clearly a masterstroke. It, again, buttresses the importance of music in video games and how they stay with us for a long time.
Zhang J, Fu X (2015) The Influence of Background Music of Video Games on Immersion. J Psychol Psychother 5: 191. doi: 10.4172/2161- 0487.1000191