I do not like Uses and Grats. Actually, I feel quite emotional and sad after reading it. I really love Jeremy [my boyfriend] but I really hate World of Warcraft. When we started dating two years ago, it didn’t seem like that big of an issue, but now that we’ve moved in together, I’m really not sure our relationship will outlive his game! It’s the first thing he checks in the morning and the last thing he does at night—he’s even popped out of the shower to check on the progress. He claims it’s no different than my obsession with Facebook, but it’s totally different. After I read Uses and Grats, I started thinking Katz might be on to something. Jer and I are using the media to satisfy different needs. A media choice might fill different categories; I think that’s true. Jer’s WoW playing seems to be about passing time (#1), escape (#3), enjoyment (#4), social interaction (#5), relaxation (#6), and excitement (#8). I mainly use Facebook to keep up with my friends (#5). As I thought, it is totally different. But now, the sad byproduct of reading this theory is that it’s made me wonder what Jer gets out of our relationship if so many of his needs are being met by WoW? Why does he need that kind of need fulfillment instead of relaxing by spending time with me? What’s not exciting about normal life that must be fulfilled by playing the dumb game? Is he just escaping everything and everyone—including me? See what I mean? This is a sad theory!
My parents and my brother were often in conflict growing up because my brother spent so much time using electronics. For our parents, his gaming was merely enjoyment and an escape from his other school work. They wanted him to focus and he just wanted to play. For my brother, media usage was studying (similar to Rubin’s idea of watching TV as a means of information). He wanted to be a video game designer, so he played a lot of video games and studied the graphics, how characters moved, different art styles and animating styles. His personal trait of being artistically minded culminated as a need to learn more about how to do this particular kind of art. He discovered that video games were the best means of learning how animation should look (knowledge of media), played different types of games (use of media), and the perceived gratification is that he now knows enough that his dream school accepted him with a top-level scholarship. Guess he won this round.