Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Influence of Facebook Game Players' Behavior on Flow and Purchase Intention

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Influence of Facebook Game Players' Behavior on Flow and Purchase Intention

Article excerpt

Use of the social media website Facebook has become increasingly prevalent worldwide, with over 1.1 billion users as of January 2013, of whom 13,303,940 reside in Taiwan (Checkfacebook, 2013; Quan, 2013). Many previous researchers have focused on users' purchase intention toward online games, including factors such as game design and demographics (Kim, Park, Kim, Moon, & Chun, 2002). According to Kim et al., differences in game design and demographics may reflect differences in purchase intention, and an understanding of player purchase intention can benefit the developer's revenue. But how do game developers make users like a game sufficiently well to increase their purchase intention? Previous researchers demonstrate that the flow experience significantly impacts players, because flow sways human behavior (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, 1990); in fact, players are often willing to pay a high price to maintain the optimal flow experience.

Hence, we also investigated how flow influences purchase intention. Bichler, Field, and Werthner (2001) claim that charging different consumers varying prices for similar transactions is accomplished by exploiting differences in consumer estimates or price perception. Following the above-mentioned researchers' results, in our study we explored the way in which players' flow relates to four factors: sociality, interactivity, challenge, and novelty. In addition, we examined how flow and price perception influence purchase intention. Thus, we formed the following research questions:

1. Do sociality, interactivity, challenge, and novelty influence flow?

2. Does flow influence purchase intention?

3. Does price perception influence purchase intention in Facebook game stores?

Theoretical Background and Hypotheses

Sociality

According to Schutz (1966), human social interaction is founded on purposeful, mutual exchanges between two or more people. Moreover, interpersonal activities can result in either psychological closeness or distancing (Shi, 1996). In a gaming scenario, players garner a sense of individuality in relation to the other players, and also gain a sense of achievement by playing well and receiving compliments from the other players. Thus, according to the research cited above, sociality is operationally defined as players' recognition of their social position through interpersonal interactions while they are playing Facebook games.

Interactivity

Interactivity is affected by the degree of players' involvement in changing form and content within mediated environments (Steuer, 1992). Communicative strategizing is then based on past interactions (Garrison, 1993). Both communicators and audiences provide responses or fulfill each other's communication needs. Thus, according to the research cited above, interactivity is operationally defined as the degree of social cohesion provided by interactions on Facebook and in online games.

Challenge

Online game players are faced with the challenge of competition from other players during a game (Fabricatore, Nussbaum, & Rosas, 2002), including situations in which players must seek information online (Skadberg & Kimmel, 2004). Thus, according to the research cited above, challenge is operationally defined as the overcoming of perceived difficulties, including competition from other players, in Facebook games, which provides a sense of accomplishment.

Novelty

Trevino and Webster (1992) included cognitive curiosity when defining the concept of novelty during computer use. In this study, novelty is operationally defined as the unexpected, unusual, and rare events that one experiences when playing Facebook games.

Flow Theory

After observing numerous individuals, including athletes and chess players, Csikszentmihalyi (1975) advanced the concept of flow, which is used to describe the experience of a person so completely immersed in an activity that material changes in the environment go unnoticed. …

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