According to educational gaming advocates, the engaging nature of games encourages sustained game play and enhanced attention to learning outcomes among players. Because children's and adolescents' play time varies by game genre, engagement with a game likely reflects the match between the genre and the player's preferences and needs. Youth learn which games are likely to promote satisfying psychological needs and yield positive experiences, which then informs their engagement with the games. A model is presented for research and development of educational games based on uses and gratifications theory from communication science, as well as developmental science and cognitive science findings. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.