Difficulty

Difficulty refers to the in-game features involving the ease of gameplay. This can include inflicting more damage to kill enemies, using in-game resources more efficiently (e.g., healing packs, ammunition, etc.), or suffering less damage. Thus, difficulty is different from outcome. An exhaustive literature review returned only one study in which difficulty was a manipulated variable. Hilgard et al. found no significant effects of game difficulty on aggressive behavior. However, one suggestive study by McCarthy et al., in which difficulty happened to differ between the violent and nonviolent game, found a significant relationship between game difficulty and self-reported likelihood to aggress, in the expected direction.

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