Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

Investigating the Continuance Intention to Play Massively Multi-Player Online Games

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

Investigating the Continuance Intention to Play Massively Multi-Player Online Games

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Massively multi-player online games (MMOGs) have been one of the fastest growing online entertainments and have attracted a great sum of venture investment. Yet, little empirical research has been conducted to examine the interrelationships between gamers' motivations and their post-adoption behaviors. This study aims to explain gamers' continuance intention to play MMOGs by integrating motivations for playing MMOGs into the information systems (IS) continuance model. The authors conducted an online survey of 392 World of Warcraftgamers and validated the model with structural equation modeling. With the majority of hypotheses being substantiated, the results revealed that the extended IS continuance model demonstrates the satisfactory explanatory power of gamers' continuance intention to play MMOGs. It was shown that achievement and immersion motivations positively associate with enjoyment and that enjoyment and satisfaction jointly predict the continuance intention to play MMOGs. The study also discusses theoretical and practical implications.

Keywords: Massively multi-player online games, IS continuance, enjoyment, satisfaction, World of Warcraft

1. INTRODUCTION

The proliferation of personal computers and broadband networks has provided a fertile ground for massively multi-player online games (MMOGs) to flourish. MMOGs have emerged as a novel online entertainment in which thousands of gamers log into a server, customize their avatars, and start the journey in the virtual world. MMOGs have been recognized as one of the fastest growing online entertainments and have attracted a great sum of venture investment. Recent marketing research forecasted that the revenue of MMOGs business worldwide would reach $35 billion by 2018, up from $21 billion in 2012 [PRWeb, 2013]. On average, gamers spend three hours per day and $17 per month on MMOGs [PwC, 2012].

What drives gamers to play MMOGs continuously? This question is the fundamental and prominent research issue for game developers and researchers. The success of MMOGs hinges not only on attracting the initial trial, but also on retaining the gamers. Gamers' stickiness directly affects the revenue of MMOGs (e.g., monthly subscription fee or sales of virtual items), which eventually determines the extent of future game research and development. Since the sustainability of MMOGs is critical, understanding the continuance intention to play MMOGs is of prime importance to both game developers and researchers.

Today, studies examining the post-adoption behaviors of hedonic information systems remain scarce [e.g., Venkatesh et al. 2011; Zhou et al. 2012]. Although MNOGS are one of the most popular forms of hedonic IS, the continuance behaviors have not received commensurate academic focus. The majority of studies on MMOGs focuses on understanding gamers' pre-adoption, purchase, and use intention [e.g., Guo and Bames, 2012; Hsu and Lu, 2007; Lee, 2009; Wu and Liu, 2007]. There is a lack of in-depth analysis of post-adoption behaviors among MMOG gamers in the mainstream IS literature.

With respect to these issues, the current study aims to examine the continuance intention to play MMOGs by extending the IS continuance model. This study also addresses the call from Benbasat and Zmud [2003] to incorporate context-specific variables into IS research. Specifically, three over-arching motivations to play MMOGs, as proposed by Yee [2006], were integrated into the IS continuance model in this study; and usefulness in the continuance model was replaced by enjoyment to fit into the context of hedonic IS. The findings provide researchers and practitioners with substantial insights into MMOG research and development. Further, the validated integrative framework provides a foundation for future research of post-adoption behaviors of hedonic IS.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 discusses the theoretical background through a comprehensive review of literature on related concepts. …

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