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International Journal of Computer Games Technology
Volume 2012, Article ID 724917, 9 pages
Research Article

More Than Flow: Revisiting the Theory of Four Channels of Flow

Graduate Institute of Business and Management, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan

Received 27 December 2011; Revised 16 April 2012; Accepted 17 April 2012

Academic Editor: Daniel Thalmann

Copyright © 2012 Ching-I Teng and Han-Chung Huang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Flow (FCF) theory has received considerable attention in recent decades. In addition to flow, FCF theory proposed three influential factors, that is, boredom, frustration, and apathy. While these factors have received relatively less attention than flow, Internet applications have grown exponentially, warranting a closer reexamination of the applicability of the FCF theory. Thus, this study tested the theory that high/low levels of skill and challenge lead to four channels of flow. The study sample included 253 online gamers who provided valid responses to an online survey. Analytical results support the FCF theory, although a few exceptions were noted. First, skill was insignificantly related to apathy, possibly because low-skill users can realize significant achievements to compensate for their apathy. Moreover, in contrast with the FCF theory, challenge was positively related to boredom, revealing that gamers become bored with difficult yet repetitive challenges. Two important findings suggest new directions for FCF theory.