The current study implements the drive theory of social facilitation to explain the influence of audience presence in video game play. This integration is an important one for research aiming to understand the experience of video game play, as the social aspect of video game play is a relevant dimension of the technology often ignored in research on gaming experiences. The study finds a significant positive association between non-gaming cognitive abilities (such as hand–eye coordination and mental rotation ability) and performance at a first-person shooter. Data also support the social facilitation hypothesis: Game play in the presence of a physical audience significantly predicts increased game performance. Social facilitation effects are only found for low-challenge games where the drive-inducing capacity of task challenge is minimized. Resultant influences on game enjoyment are less clear.