To be considered a game, an activity must meet several criteria. Games are rule-based, have variable outcomes with value associated with each outcome, are competitive and require player effort to influence the outcome.
In 2003, Jesper Juul proposed a modern definition of what characteristics define a game. First, a game must have a fixed set of rules. Second, games must have variable and quantifiable outcomes, such as a goal to achieve the most points. Third, there must be a valorization of the outcome, showing that certain players played better than others. Fourth, a player must put forth and invest effort in an interactive game to achieve the best possible outcome. Fifth, there is a player attachment to possible outcomes; a player is likely to feel happy by winning but unhappy if losing. Finally, there may or may not be real-life consequences as a result of playing the game, such as if money is at stake.
The Games Journal defines a game as having a goal requiring a strategy and having elements of chance. Furthermore, competition drives the game, as there are winners and losers. Games bring people together, are voluntary to play and give each individual who plays a chance to win the game.