Exploring the eudaimonic game experience through purchasing functional and non-functional items in MMORPGs

Weisha Wang, Haiming Hang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The consumption of virtual items and other forms of in-game content is rapidly increasing in the Massively Multiple Player Online Role-Playing Games market. While psychological need satisfaction obtained through purchasing virtual items to achieve hedonic game experience remains at the center of the debate, most of these studies neglect the eudaimonic game experience and do not differentiate between the psychological experiences from functional items and non-functional items. Our research employs the eudaimonic game experience perspective to explore the psychological need satisfaction individuals achieve through purchasing functional and non-functional items. From interviews with 25 players, a novel finding is that, while competence, autonomy, relatedness, and purpose in life contribute to one’s eudaimonic game experience, each psychological need has its own unique dimensions for different virtual product types. Competence and purpose in life are needs driven by two factors: inner-directed consumption intention, emphasizing aspiration for authenticity and personal growth; and other-directed consumption intention, focusing on motivations that elicit, for example, positive responses from others and receiving social awards. Such results are only apparent for functional items but not for non-functional items. In contrast, autonomy and relatedness are needs explained by one’s inner-directed consumption intention, across both product types.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Early online date2 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • eudaimonic game experience
  • functional items
  • MMORPGs
  • nonfunctional items
  • psychological needs
  • virtual items

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

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