This article proposes a validated 15-item scale that merges theoretically divergent perspectives on player–avatar relations in extant literature (parasociality as psychological merging and sociality as psychological divergence) to measure player–avatar interaction (PAX). PAX is defined as the perceived social and functional association between an MMO player and game avatar, inclusive of four factors: emotional investment, anthropomorphic autonomy, suspension of disbelief, and sense of player control. These four factors were stable across two large multi-game (N = 494) and game-specific player samples (N = 458), in both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Construct validity tests show scale dimensions have expected significant relationships with a sense of human-like relatedness and player–avatar relationship features, and predictive validity tests indicate theoretically likely and relevant factor associations with gameplay motivations and MMO genres.
- Massively multiplayer online games
- Parasocial interaction
- Social interaction