Purpose – This paper aims to explore the factors affecting consumers' loyalty toward online games based on the uses and gratifications theory and the flow theory. Design/methodology/approach – The research employed two approaches to collect data: personal interview and online survey. Each data collection approach consists of two phases to overcome method bias. This study adopted structural equation modeling to analyze the data. Findings – The results focusing on popular massively multiplayer online role‐playing games reveal that players' sense of control, perceived entertainment, and challenge affect their loyalty toward an online game. Conversely, sociality and interactivity produce negligible effects on loyalty. Practical implications – First, game designers may strengthen gamers' sense of control and challenge by adding more status information, gaming options, or through the designed system of goals and achievements. Second, the entertaining nature of online gaming suggests greater demand for content design, and points to the direction of mobile gaming. Third, considering the recent growth of online social network services, consumers regard online games as lower priority when prompted by socially related motives. Additionally, people mostly reckon online relationships as virtual and not gratifying real‐world social needs. Originality/value – In view of the prevalence of computer and Internet usage, online gaming research should shift more focus toward the non‐technological aspects of gaming. This paper is one of the few studies that examine online game loyalty from the non‐technological aspects while adopting a multi‐disciplinary approach based on theoretical parsimony.
Internet Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: Online gaming; Uses and gratifications; Flow theory; Computer games; Customer loyalty
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