Direct link to a great bibliography.
Future of gaming | MetaFilter: “Most of the work I found relating specifically to video games (mostly MMORPGS, it seems) and player motivation is done by Dr. Nick Yee, who is at PARC. What’s really great is that he’s kind enough to provide links to nearly all his papers directly from his CV.
To start out with, most articles which discuss online player motivation begin by citing Richard Bartle’s Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs. Bartle described four basic approaches to how players tackle MUDs, based on his experience in running and building these game systems. Specifically, his interest was in how to build games that would have some manner of balance between the player types. In a nutshell, he said that there were four main motivations for play (this was within a MUD context):
Achievement within the game context
This basic typology of online gamers is expanded upon and critiqued by later work, but Bartle really set the stage.”