WHY PEOPLE JOIN VIRTUAL WORLDS OF COMPUTER GAMES? QUALITATIVE RESEARCH AMONGST POLISH USERS
Introduction: When virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life or World of Warcraft) became immensely popular, with millions of active users around the world, real life companies started to utilize them for business purposes, such as testing new products or organizing various events. However, the activities of companies can only be successful if a sufficient number of players are engaged in virtual worlds.
Objectives: The present paper is aimed to investigate individual players’ motives for joining virtual worlds of computer games.
Methods: The author carried out 22 in-depth interviews amongst polish players (20 were finally accepted) of three virtual worlds: The Sims, Second Life and Euro Track Simulator 2. Interviews were carried out from August 21, 2018 to December 5, 2018.
Results: Respondents most frequently mentioned consecutively: curiosity (caused by TV series, TV programme, newspaper or advertisement), interact with others, interest in the topic of a game, enjoyment from playing, opportunity to see or do things unattainable in real life, exploring the virtual world, spending free time. With reference to the gratification paradigm, individual motivations were divided into: experiential (16 motives), functional (6 motives), social (3 motives). From the perspective of marketing managers, understanding the motivations of players allows them to describe the target market of their promotional activities inside the game environment. For game developers, it can help attract new and maintain current users.
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